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Author Dowling, Linda C., 1944-
Title Hellenism and homosexuality in Victorian Oxford / Linda Dowling.
Imprint Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1994.

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Author Dowling, Linda C., 1944-
Subject English literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism.
Homosexuality and literature -- England -- Oxford -- History -- 19th century.
Greek philology -- Study and teaching -- England -- Oxford -- History -- 19th century.
Classicism -- England -- Oxford -- History -- 19th century.
Gay men -- England -- Oxford -- History -- 19th century.
Oxford (England) -- Social life and customs.
Description 1 online resource (xvi, 173 pages) : illustrations
Bibliography Note Includes bibliographical references (pages 155-168) and index.
Contents Aesthete and effeminatus -- Victorian manhood and the warrior ideal -- The Socratic eros -- The higher sodomy.
Summary In April 1895, Oscar Wilde stood in the prisoner's dock of the Old Bailey, charged with "acts of gross indecency with another male person. These filthy practices, the prosecutor declared, posed a deadly threat to English society, "a sore which cannot fail in time to corrupt and taint it all." Wilde responded with a speech of legendary eloquence, defending love between men as a love "such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare." Electrified, the spectators in the courtroom burst into applause. Although Wilde was ultimately imprisoned, the courtroom response to his speech signaled a revolutionary moment -- the emergence into the public sphere of a kind of love that had always been proscribed in English culture. In this luminous work of intellectual history, Linda Dowling offers the first detailed account of Oxford Hellenism, the Victorian philosophical and literary movement that made possible Wilde's brief triumph and anticipated the modern possibility of homosexuality as a positive social identity. A homosocial culture and a language of moral legitimacy for homosexuality emerged, Dowling argues, as unforeseen consequences of Oxford University reform. Through their search in Plato and Greek literature for a transcendental value that might substitute for a lost Christian theology, such liberal reformers as Benjamin Jowett unintentionally created a cultural context in which male love -- the "spiritual procreancy" celebrated in Plato's Symposium -- might be both experienced and justified in ideal terms. Dowling traces the institutional career of Hellenism from its roots in Oxford reform through its blossoming in an approach to Greek studies that came to operate as a code for homosexuality. Recreating the incidents, controversies, and scandals that heralded the growth of Hellenism, Dowling provides a new cultural and theoretical context within which to read writers as diverse as Wilde, Jowett, John Addington Symonds, Walter Pater, Lord Alfred Douglas, Robert Buchanan, and W.H. Mallock. -- Publisher.
ISBN 9780801468742 (electronic bk.)
0801468744 (electronic bk.)
OCLC # 798792560
Additional Format Print version: Dowling, Linda C., 1944- Hellenism and homosexuality in Victorian Oxford. Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1994 0801429609 (DLC) 93032781 (OCoLC)29258598

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