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There are several ways in which the new aesthetic ideas of the French symbolist and Decadent movements influenced the work of Oscar Wilde. Perhaps the most important influence, due both to his readings of French literature and the work of the Oxford don Walter Pater, was "art for art's sake", a notion that the realm of art was purely aesthetic rather than moral and that the only basis on which art should be judged is beauty. This meant that no subject matter was inherently inartistic, and thus subjects previously thought morbid, grotesque or immoral were legitimate subjects for art.
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