Femininity In Dorian Gray

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Introduction The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of the most discussed works in English literature, provoking, just shortly after its publishing, a whole storm of indignation. Only six years earlier, J.K. Huysmans Á Rebours had been published in France and marked the apogee of its author. Both works are considered to be the cornerstones of symbolist, decadent and aesthetic writing. However, too often these works were (due to their scandalizing content) overlooked in their hermeneutics and mistaken for purely perverse, flamboyant or simply degenerated works. For the majority of the late-Victorian reader saw the decadent or aesthete as someone who was physically ill and feeble; morally, an arrant scoundrel; intellectually, an unspeakable…show more content…
Sexuality In this section the repulsion towards natural women, especially in the works of J.K. Huysmans A Rebour and Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray will be examined. As the work of Huysmans engages into the discourse of artificial (also “technological”) femininity vs. natural femininity several times it is at hand that my analysis will center upon this theme. Nevertheless, throughout the passage references will be given to the work of Dorian Gray, showing the parallels in the perceptions of women to Des Esseintes. Afterwards, I would like to explore the portrayal of Gustave Moreau’s Salomé in Huysmans work, as I have found particular interest in her meaning to Des Esseintes. 2.1 Sexuality in A Rebour Des Esseintes’ sexuality is traversed by multiple episodes with actresses, singers and prostitutes, but is altered by his neurosis; the artificial woman being superior to the natural woman. Des Esseintes becomes repulsed by the natural woman as he depicts them as “repulsive foods” (Huysmans 33), his tedium ending in lethargy and impotence (Huysmans). His appeal towards the artificiality in technology in sexuality is, among other things, depicted in his comparison of the human body of a woman to a…show more content…
You said to me once that pathos left you unmoved, but that beauty, mere beauty, could fill your eyes with tears. Dorian, who has only become newly acquainted to his own narcissistic beauty and its possibilities falls in love with the actress as she represents the beauty of art. He only feels love towards the actress, the person behind it is not existent to him: ‘Tonight she is Imogen’, he answered, ‘and tomorrow night she will be Juliet’. ‘When is she Sybil Vane?’ ‘Never.’ (Wilde
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