Naomi Wood


Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales encode the vision of an idealistic pederast, a man who loves beautiful youths; the style and content of his fairy tales offer a vision of love and beauty that urges a different aesthetic and moral relationship to the world and experience from other fairy tales for children. Wilde’s fairy tales rhetorically create a new, morally sensual child by enacting Walter Pater’s aesthetics. This essay explores Wilde’s context in the homosexual subculture of Victorian Oxford, his aesthetics and their relation to Pater, and the ways his literary fairy tales encode and express a pederastic ethos through the particular focus on sensual experience and moral enlightenment.