Submission Title

The Beauty and Tragedy of Self-Exploration: How Oscar Wilde and James Baldwin Create a Journey to the Authentic Self

Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Austin Reading Room

Subject Area

English: Literature

Description

Spanning time, culture, and geographic bodies, Oscar Wilde and James Baldwin reconstruct themselves by way of their own work, thereby creating a metaphysical connection. The “Other” in their respective societies, both commit to a fierce struggle in order to reach an individual understanding of the self and, therefore, a better understanding of their positions in the world. This choice requires rejecting delusional thinking and facing the most painful aspects of one’s past and oneself. In facing this pain, both authors construct symbolic literary identities which struggle within societies beset with their own delusions. Viewed together – through critical analysis of Oscar Wilde’s letter from prison, Epistola: In Carcere et Vinculis or De Profundis, and James Baldwin’s Collected Essays – these ideas develop into an evolving goal to reject delusions and choose a position of acceptance and humility with oneself, personal relationships, and the world.

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The Beauty and Tragedy of Self-Exploration: How Oscar Wilde and James Baldwin Create a Journey to the Authentic Self

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Austin Reading Room

Spanning time, culture, and geographic bodies, Oscar Wilde and James Baldwin reconstruct themselves by way of their own work, thereby creating a metaphysical connection. The “Other” in their respective societies, both commit to a fierce struggle in order to reach an individual understanding of the self and, therefore, a better understanding of their positions in the world. This choice requires rejecting delusional thinking and facing the most painful aspects of one’s past and oneself. In facing this pain, both authors construct symbolic literary identities which struggle within societies beset with their own delusions. Viewed together – through critical analysis of Oscar Wilde’s letter from prison, Epistola: In Carcere et Vinculis or De Profundis, and James Baldwin’s Collected Essays – these ideas develop into an evolving goal to reject delusions and choose a position of acceptance and humility with oneself, personal relationships, and the world.