Dorian Gray to Poe

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OSCAR WILDE’S GOTHIC: THE PRESENCE OF EDGAR ALLAN POE IN THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
A Thesis
Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
with a
Major in English
in the
College of Graduate Studies
University of Idaho

by
Peter Stegner

August 2007

Major Professor: Gary Williams, Ph.D.

ii

AUTHORIZATION TO SUBMIT THESIS
This thesis of Peter Stegner, submitted for the degree of Master of Arts with a major in English and titled “Oscar Wilde’s Gothic: The Presence of Edgar Allan Poe in The Picture of Dorian Gray,” has been reviewed in final form. Permission, as indicated by the signatures and dates given below, is now granted to submit final copies to the College of Graduate Studies for approval.

Major Professor
Committee
Members

_____________________________________Date______________
Gary Williams
_____________________________________Date______________
Walter Hesford
_____________________________________Date_______________
Alexander Hammond

Department
Administrator
Discipline's
College Dean

____________________________________Date______________
Kurt Olsson
_____________________________________Date_______________
Katherine Aiken

Final Approval and Acceptance by the College of Graduate Studies _____________________________________Date_______________
Margrit von Braun

iii

Abstract
This thesis examines the influence of Edgar Allan Poe on Oscar Wilde and argues that Wilde used several Gothic motifs and themes in the fashion of Poe in his production of The Picture of Dorian Gray. While many scholars note the significance of Poe in Wilde’s works, there is currently no substantial assessment of Wilde using Poe in his own writings. This study aims to alleviate this gap in scholarship by closely examining the Poe stories that are reflected in The Picture of Dorian Gray, including Poe’s “Metzengerstein,” “The Assignation,” “The Oval Portrait,” “The Imp of the Perverse,” “The Black Cat,” and “William Wilson.” This study offers an extensive review of the relevant literature and locates Poe’s influence on Wilde in the enthusiasm of Charles Baudelaire, who provided a robust following for Poe in Paris. Finally, this study concludes that in using Poe’s Gothic motifs, Wilde was exploring the blurry distinctions between art and reality that were similarly important to Poe.

iv

Acknowledgments
It is difficult to overstate my gratitude to Gary Williams, my major professor on this project and my adviser as an undergraduate at the University of Idaho. With his continual enthusiasm and encouragement over the past six years, he has given me the confidence and determination to complete this thesis. I also wish to express my gratitude to Walter Hesford and Alexander Hammond for their guidance and assistance in this project. I would also like to thank the Interlibrary Loan Staff at the University of Idaho for all of their help in getting to me the necessary materials. Finally, I want to thank Jennifer Polumsky for her continual support throughout my work on this thesis.

v

Table of Contents

Title Page...................................................................................................................................................... i Authorization to Proceed with Thesis ..................................................................................................... ii Abstract....................................................................................................................................................... iii Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................................... iv Introduction ......................................................................................................................................1 Chapter I: Survey of the Relevant Literature...
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