Aestheticism and Sexual Parody 1840-1940

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This original and provocative 2001 study discusses the work of a number of authors in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in order to argue that mainstream society was enabled to accept the non-normative sexuality of the Aesthetic Movement chiefly through parody and self-parody. Highlighting Victorian popular culture, Aestheticism and Sexual Parody adds an important dimension to the theorisations of parody as a combative strategy by which sexually marginalized groups undermine the status quo. From W. S. Gilbert's drama and Vernon Lee and Christopher Isherwood's prose to George du Maurier's cartoons and Max Beerbohm's caricatures, Dennis Denisoff explores the parodies' interactions with the personae and texts of canonical authors such as Alfred Tennyson, Walter Pater, Algernon Swinburne, and Oscar Wilde. In doing so, he considers the impact that these interactions had on modern ideas of gender, sexuality, taste and politics.