Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How did the new aesthetic ideas from France influence Oscar Wilde? 

Expert Answers info

thanatassa eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write6,739 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

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.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Unlock This Answer Now