Two Tombeaux to Oscar Wilde

Two Tombeaux to Oscar Wilde: Jean Cocteau’s Le Portrait Surnaturel de Dorian Gray and Raymond Laurent’s essay on Wildean Asthetics

A bilingual presentation of the texts, edited and translated by Emily Eells

It cannot be often that the first dramatic work of an author, artist and film-maker with as distinguished a career ahead of him as Jean Cocteau (1891-1963) should lie unstudied and unperformed for so long. All the more so as the play in question is none other than a creative dramatization of Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. In her introduction to this critical edition Emily Eells provides a fascinating and convincing explanation as to why Cocteau consigned Le Portrait surnaturel de Dorian Gray to oblivion. The answer is to be found in the tragically foreshortened life of Raymond Laurent (1886-1908), whose essay on Oscar Wilde is more than a period piece. This volume brings it out from its hiding place behind the uncut pages of the only copy in the French library network. Through the comparative study of Cocteau and Laurent’s works, we enter the underground reception of Wilde in France and measure the intensity of aestheticism in Anglo-French cultural exchange.

Emily Eells did her undergraduate studies at Cambridge University and her doctoral thesis on Proust at the University of Paris 3 (La Sorbonne Nouvelle). She is now Professor of nineteenth-century British literature at the University of Paris-Ouest at Nanterre, where she has recently launched a research project on the presence of the French language in English texts. She published a critical edition of Proust’s Sodome et Gomorrhe with Flammarion in 1987. Her monograph Proust’s Cup of Tea: Homoeroticism and Victorian Culture was published by Ashgate in 2002. She contributed chapters on the reception of Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde in France, in the series of volumes on The Reception of British Authors in Europe published by Continuum. The present volume brings together her interests in translation, textual genetics, fin-de-siècle aesthetics and Anglo-French cultural transaction.
Hardbound: 15.9 x 23.5 cm.,
251 pp., illustrated.

ISBN 978 1 904201 18 2
£40.00 / $65.00

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 Published 15 June 2010
Rivendale Press
P. O. Box 85, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4WZ England
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