Wednesday, 11 November 2009

types and fiction

im zentrum



Neil Bartlett's "Who Was That Man? A Present for Mr Oscar Wilde" has been the most exciting book I've read this year:

"The features of the beloved can move freely from person to person. And this is not the only transposition. The man who actually paints the portrait of Dorian Gray, Basil Hallward, is deeply in love with his subject, and as he paints, the portrait of Mr. W. H. appears again. Just as Shakespeare saw his boy as one whose hair was like spun gold, and whose face was the meeting-place of the lily's white and the deep vermillion of the rose, just as Erskine saw Cyril Graham, as Gray himself is to see Sybil Vane, Basil sees Dorian as wonderfully handsome, with his finely-curved scarlet lips, his frank blue eyes, his crisp gold hair. He too sees this boy as the foundation of his art, his great friend, his point of entry into a great tradition. Dorian is his ideal, a platonic ideal in both the philosophical and sexual senses of the word. He is the model for whom he was waiting for all his life.
Wilde wrote in a letter, "Basil Hallward is what I think I am." So who was Dorian Gray?
Dorian Gray has gold hair, blue eyes, and rose-red lips. Lord Alfred Douglas, of course, was also blonde, blue-eyed, lily white, and he had rose-red lips.
The point is, Dorian Gray was imagined in 1890. Wilde first met Douglas in January or June 1891. He was the man for whom he gave years of his life, the man for whom he would have died, the greatest love of his life. He was his type.
He was a fiction, one that already existed in his books."

(I hate the idea of being someone's type, the idea of liking someone not because they're unique but because they fit into a dream of the perfect other being. It's so very predictable and boring. I've always had the sneaky feeling that people, especially boys, aren't really interested in me but in some weird fantasy of a bookish, cute girl. It always makes me feel slightly sick whenever I'm confronted with those cliche├ęs. My only type is the one who doesn't fit into the category of a certain type.)

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