“The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.” [pdf]
Oscar Wilde may very well be the one true artist.
His prose is fluent and precise; his dialogues are overly witty, yet somehow natural. Even Wilde´s plotlines should rank among the most highly developed in literature: When it comes to suspense and to surprising storyline twists, Wilde beats most crime fiction & thriller writers one might think of.
In Oscar Wilde´s sense for an absurdity most realistic, a deeper a truth of the world is revealed, a truth – or a world – completely artificial, off course.
“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all”
The moral of all this being: Every single line of Wilde´s is most certainly written well.
However, Oscar Wilde seems to be unable to portray a single convincing character. All of Wilde´s male protagonists are Wilde and Wilde only, and all his female protagonists’ are pretty sketches on paper.
“The moral life of man [in the sense of “human”] forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything.”–
All male wildean protagonists are true artists then – might one say – and all females are art:
“My dear boy [says Lord Henry Wotton], no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.”–
Is then the true artist in consequence necessarily a chauvinist?
I, personally, would refrain from such harsh a judgement. After all, in congruence with the afore said:
“All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors”
“The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.”————————————————————————–
All quotes from: Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Wordsworth Classics: Hertfortshire 2002. Cyrano