Comment on Oscar Wilde as a starter of the Modernist writing.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that much could be made to suggest that Wilde was a large force in Modernism.  One of the elements that comes out through his work is the idea of seeking to explore the result of questioning the existing social and ethical structures that surround consciousness.  Wilde did this in his work with "The Picture of Dorian Gray."  Wilde's playing with the socially taboo subject of homosexuality in both "Dorian Gray" and other works helps to reinforce the modernist ideas that there is a certain amount of questioning that must accompany individual consciousness.  Lord Henry's embrace of the self indulgent and hedonist life that inspires Dorian Gray is also something criticized.  I think that the modernist could find Wilde indicting a social order that vaults the thinking of Henry and Gray, and point to this as suggesting that a severe reexamination of a prevailing social tendency.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

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