Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Sex, Knowledge, and Receptions of the Past$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Kate Fisher and Rebecca Langlands

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660513

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660513.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 September 2020

Wilde in the Fifties

Wilde in the Fifties

(p.265) 12 Wilde in the Fifties
Sex, Knowledge, and Receptions of the Past

Chris Waters

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the various meanings attached to the sexual life of Oscar Wilde in the 1950s. Now a queer icon, Wilde enjoys a prominent place in the pantheon of gay heroes. Such was not the case in the 1950s. In that decade, consumed with what was termed the ‘problem’ of homosexuality, Wilde’s life was rewritten in terms of contemporary understandings of that ‘problem’. He became a prism through which homosexuality was understood in the decade that marked the centenary of his birth and was dominated by psychoanalytic narratives of psychosexual development. This chapter examines how knowledge of Wilde was produced by biographers, homophile activists, doctors, and psychiatrists in the 1950s and explores the implications of the Wilde that was articulated for the emerging homophile movement; it asks what ideological investments were at work in the varied attempts to produce the truth of Wilde’s sexuality in the 1950s.

Keywords:   gay history, homosexual law reform, homosexuality, Oscar Wilde, psychiatry, sexology, sexual inversion, Wolfenden Committee

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .