THE OSCHOLARS: Special Teleny issue






D.C. Rose

General Editor,


We are delighted that this special issue of THE OSCHOLARS, hors séries in the useful French phrase, has been brought to fruition under the editorship of Professor John McRae of the University of Nottingham, the first editor of a scholarly edition of Teleny.  This is the first time that Teleny has been the subject of sustained scholarly attention.


There are some texts which attract an overwhelming amount of critical analysis and exegesis, and there are some, which although not lost to sight, seem only to attract curiosity.  Teleny, whether ascribed to Oscar Wilde justly or unjustly, has received little critical scrutiny beyond the introductions to the various editions, and few have access to all of these. We have begun to assemble here the materials for a serious consideration of the text in order to enable us to come to some understanding of the potential of Teleny for literary study / scholarly scrutiny, rather than simply pigeonholing it as ‘erotica’ or ‘gay interest’.  Just as we tend to collapse the difference between the pornographic and the erotic in critical discourse, so we may collapse the difference between the erotic novel and the novel tout court


Given the flexible form of internet publishing, we are not closing down the issue.  As well as keeping the bibliography up to date, we plan to seek more essays on the form of Teleny, the imagery, the linguistics, the onomastics, the problems of translation, the use of flawed or authoritative texts, its function as fantasy versus experience ...  A study of the cover illustrations alone would produce interesting insights of how Teleny is presented to different audiences across time and territory; and future editions will no doubt reflect changing ideas and emphases.  


This Special Issue of THE OSCHOLARS is therefore both a celebration of what we have, and a Call for Papers on what we have still to find.  Wilde himself paved the way in The Portrait of Mr W.H., in exploring the complexities of criticism and attribution.  We can only follow.



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