Vision and Self-Consciousness in The Picture of Dorian Gray

Hao Li

Abstract


"Critics have read Dorian Gray in the context of late nineteenth-century theories of the material nature of the mind, especially the empirical and positivist approaches that dominated late Victorian thought. In this paper, I shall argue for the importance of examining Wilde’s conception of self-consciousness rather than consciousness per se.... self-consciousness...depends on both sensory feelings and reflexive evaluation as performative agents of cognition.... Wilde’s position should help us map out historically some of the challenges that European philosophy faced in late Victorian England, as metaphysical interests interacted with a distinctly material and positivist ethos, particularly concerning theories of the mind."

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