Oscar Wilde

The Uses of Decadence: On Edward St. Aubyn’s ‘A Clue to the Exit’

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“Decadence” is one of those words whose meanings have been eroded by capitalism’s favorite destroyer of language, advertising. In 2015, you can eat a decadent dessert or rent a decadent hotel suite or find it almost unbearably decadent to nap in the middle of a weekday afternoon. Whereas decadence used to mean ostentatious overindulgence as a symptom of a culture in decline, now it just means ostentatious overindulgence — because, presumably, you deserve it!
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From Nietzsche to Lynch: A Selection of Truly Highbrow Moments From ‘Clueless’

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If you’re about 30 years old, like I am, chances are your lifelong romance with Clueless probably began with a mall multiplex, some spilled popcorn, and weeks of quoting such catchphrases as “whatever” and “as if.” But you probably didn’t quite realize — I certainly didn’t, at least — until years later that Amy Heckerling packed her movie full of cultural references of all kinds. There are even plenty of highbrow shoutouts in Clueless. Here’s a selection of favorites, from Nietzsche to Lynch. …Read More

50 of the Greatest Summer Reads of All Time

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Summer reading lists: everyone’s got ’em. But what makes an ideal summer read? It sort of depends on who you are and what you’re doing, but here are a few suggestions: something light, something funny, something sun-drenched and atmospheric, something to travel with, something that will hold your attention no matter what’s going on around you, something exciting — but still literary.
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The 50 Sexiest Literary Villains

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In The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy, open-mouthed, says “I’ve never heard of a beautiful witch before,” Glinda famously quips that only bad witches are ugly. But ’tis not so — or at least, there are plenty of very bad witches who are the opposite of ugly: beautiful, sexy, charming, devastatingly intelligent, or all of the above. So, in honor of J.K. Rowling’s outrage that we all love Draco so much, here’s 50 villains that we wouldn’t kick out of …Read More

The Torrid and Intriguing Tales of 10 Male Muses

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English occultist Aleister Crowley’s reputation as the snarling cue ball-headed “Great Beast” has been shattered. A book of Crowley’s aching, lovelorn poems, inspired by his affair with female impersonator Herbert Charles Jerome Pollitt, will be exhibited at the Olympia antiquarian book fair in London this month. “The verse is rather broken-backed, and vulgar where he is trying to be honest. But it was written at a time when he was feeling heartbroken and vulnerable and it does somehow humanize him,” rare book dealer Neil Pearson said of the poems. The dark libertine’s muse didn’t share his appreciation for esotericism, and the relationship ended abruptly — but Pollitt did inspire verses that included lines like, “My passion splashes out at last.” We also felt inspired — taking it upon ourselves to dig up the torrid and fascinating tales of ten male muses. The men whose lives helped shape the works of great painters, writers, and filmmakers often take a backseat to their female counterparts, but they are no less intriguing. Meet the inspiring friends and lovers of ten cultural luminaries.
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20 Famous Authors as Dolls

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How best to prove your adoration of a particular writer? Make a doll in their likeness, of course. Or if you’re a little less than crafty, buy one. Or, you know, just look at them on the Internet. This last bit you can accomplish right now. Yes, your favorite authors have been immortalized as everything from action figures to wooden works of art to paper dolls to LEGO figurines, and you’ll find 20 of them after the jump. As an added bonus, many of them are buyable, so if you’re still looking to fill your favorite bookish friend’s holiday stocking, look no further. But be prepared for them to think you’re slightly creepy.
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20 Photos of Famous Authors in Awesome Costumes

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Halloween is fast approaching, and if you’re the writerly (read: introverted, inside-cat) type, you may be experiencing some anxiety about dressing up in a costume and walking the streets. But take heart: some of your very favorite authors have been known to don a costume from time to time, too. So it must be cool, right? This slideshow is also appropriate for those itching to wear a literary costume this year but who have already worn out their Poe ravens and DFW bandannas: go meta and dress as one of your favorite authors in one of their costumes. Click through to see some amazing writers dressed to the …Read More

The Literary World’s Most Fascinating Dandies, Past and Present

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We’ve already called I Am Dandy the fashion book of the fall, but we can’t just leave it at that. It’s impossible to give this topic its due without paying tribute to the Oscar Wildes and the Charles Baudelaires — great writers who also knew the importance of always looking good. That’s why we enlisted I Am Dandy co-author Nathaniel Adams to tell us about his favorite literary dandies, past and present. Click through to read about Adams’ picks.
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