The fifth event in the Leeds Cultural Conversations series 2018/19. Presented by Professor Ruth Robbins.
Using Wilde’s social comedies as a case study in the figure’s development and influence, this talk is about both the uses and abuses of a stereotype of gay identity.
In all-consuming interest in self-image, a pose of world-weary cynicism coupled with quick wit languorously expressed – these are the hallmarks of the figure of the dandy. It is a stereotype long-associated with dissident sexualities, and its high priest is Oscar Wilde. This event traces a long history of the dandy, both backwards and forwards from Wilde, to raise questions about its persistence as a marker of gay identity, in order to examine what this may tell us about cultures of representation.