Graduation Year

Fall 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

John C. Farrell

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Rights Information

© 2012 Anna Brill


Oscar Wilde redefined the relationship between Life and Art, and attempted to live in the style of the characters in his works: pursuing Beauty. His view of Life as imitating Art played a crucial role in his definition of Individualism. In his works, he explored how one develops one's personality and Individuality, and society's role in suppressing the Individual. He firmly believed that Life and ugliness were inextricably intertwined, and that society's moral structure was to blame. Popular in his time as an artist, he made it a point in his writing and in his work to stand apart from society. Ultimately, society cast him out; while in prison, he experienced an aspect of Life that he had been avoiding his entire life as an aesthete, and thus altered and expanded his ideal of the Individual. In falling from grace and in being forced to live in the ugliest of realities, he developed a fuller idea of what it means to live beautifully.