The Canterville Ghost Historical Context

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Aesthetic Backlash

Oscar Wilde was a follower of the Aesthetic- also known as the Decadent Movement-which had developed in France and had been introduced into England in the late 1800s. The Decadents believed that beauty should be valued above all else. Believing in "art for art's sake," the Decadents shunned the social problem novels that flourished earlier in the Victorian period. As Oscar Wilde wrote in his famous preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray, "No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style." In other words, Wilde thought that moral judgments devalued the artistry of paintings and literature. Most Decadents also deviated from the moral values of their time period, experimenting with sex and drugs. Critics have noted that in "The Canterville Ghost" Sir Simon exhibits Decadent sensibilities.

Science

In "The Canterville Ghost," Mr. Horace B. Otis declares that...

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This section contains 527 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Canterville Ghost Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Canterville Ghost from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.