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Wilde's IntentionsThe Artist in his Criticism$
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Lawrence Danson

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198186281

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198186281.001.0001

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‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’

‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’

(p.102) 5 ‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’
Wilde's Intentions

Lawrence Danson

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses Oscar Wilde's The Portrait of Mr. W.H., a fiction about the putatively real biographical basis of William Shakespeare's sonnets. It suggests that this essay is elusive in its simultaneous expression and erasure of Wilde's own sexual desire. The chapter explains that this work is Wilde's most extensive exploration into the art of forgery, and argues that the material facts of its composition, as well as its form and rhetoric, contribute to the sense that mysteries begin with their solution.

Keywords:   Mr. W.H., Oscar Wilde, fiction, William Shakespeare, sonnets, sexual desire, forgery

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