Pictures of Dorian Gray: Oscar Wilde in Weimar Germany

Thursday March 23, 2023
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Buchanan Tower 323

On March 23 at 3:30 pm PT, join us for a talk by Dr. Yvonne Ivory (Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature, University of South Carolina) entitled “Pictures of Dorian Gray: Oscar Wilde in Weimar Germany.”

This event is hosted by the Department of English Language & Literatures and sponsored by Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies, Art History, Visual Art and Theory,  Theatre and Film, the Public Humanities Hub, and the Centre for European Studies. It can be attended virtually via Zoom or in-person. Please register using the link below. We look forward to hosting you.

Talk Abstract

After his death in 1900, Irish author Oscar Wilde became a cult figure in the German-speaking world. He had his fans among anarchists, individualists, socialists, aesthetes, expressionists, and, especially, in the queer community. Some celebrated his life and mourned his martyrdom; others took up a mode of homage preferred by Wilde himself, and let his work inspire their own new creations. This talk will explore how some Germans reimagined The Picture of Dorian Gray from the end of Great War into the Golden Twenties. How might the lost 1917 film Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray relate to the first gay movie Anders als die Anderen (1919)? Does Franz Schreker’s risqué 1918 opera Die Gezeichneten—a smash hit in its day—owe a debt to Wilde’s novel? And what’s behind the name of Berlin’s lesbian nightclub, the “Café Dorian Gray”? Find out in this survey of just some of the German Pictures of Dorian Gray.

About the Presenter

Yvonne Ivory (she/her/hers) is Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina. Her work revolves around cultural interactions between German-speaking and English-speaking Europeans at the turn of the 20th century. She has published on Oscar Wilde’s Italian Renaissance, on German news reports of his 1895 scandal, and on Wilde as a German gay icon. Her current project examines how Wilde and his works were reimagined by German and Austrian composers, artists, playwrights, dancers, and directors before 1939; it contends that Wildean Decadence haunts German Modernism. She is also co-editor with Prof. Joseph Bristow and Dr. Rebecca Mitchell of Wilde’s incomplete and unpublished writings for Oxford UP’s Complete Works of Oscar Wilde.