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Source: Down the Road and Other Essays of Nature, Life, Literature, and Religion
Source type: book
Document type: essay
Document title: “Oscar Wilde: The Consummate Flower of Æstheticism”
Author(s): Kelley, William Valentine
Eaton and Mains
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication:
Pagination: 105-34 (excerpt below includes only pages 130-31)

Kelley, William Valentine. “Oscar Wilde: The Consummate Flower of Æstheticism.” Down the Road and Other Essays of Nature, Life, Literature, and Religion. New York: Eaton and Mains, 1911: pp. 105-34.
excerpt of essay
Leon Czolgosz.
Named persons
G. K. Chesterton; Leon Czolgosz; Oscar Wilde.
From title page: By William Valentine Kelley, Author of “The Ripening Experience of Life,” “Trees and Men,” “The Illumined Face,” “Glimpses of the Soul of Gilder,” etc.


Oscar Wilde: The Consummate Flower of Æstheticism [excerpt]

When Chesterton charges society with unfairness toward Oscar Wilde he errs through his failure to discriminate between a coterie and the community. But he is perfectly correct in saying that what this chief of the æsthetes did was simply to carry out in practice the doctrines of his cult. He lived his principles to the full, and so he became the consummate flower of æstheticism. Usually it is some weak-minded or unbalanced disciple of destructive theories that is rash enough to perpetrate the extreme overt act logically enjoined by the evil teaching, as when Czolgosz, fired by what he has heard at anarchist meetings or read in yellow journals, goes out to do the act which the teachings of the leaders suggest and justify. But in the case of the æsthetes, those anarchists against the moral law, it is their chief prophet, apostle, and teacher who has the nerve, the reck- [130][131] less daring to practice what he preaches and to live down to the principles they all uphold.



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