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Poet. It’s so good of you to see me. I merely wished to ask one or two questions as to yourcareer. You must have led a most interesting life.

Sphinx. You are very inquisitive and extremely indiscreet, and I have always carefullyavoided being interviewed. However, go on.

Poet. I believe you can read hieroglyphs?

Sphinx. Oh yes; I can, fluently. But I never do. I assure you they are not in the least amusing.

Poet. No doubt you have talked with hippogriffs and basilisks?

Sphinx (modestly). I certainly was in rather a smart set at one time. As they say, I have “known better days."

Poet. Did you ever have any conversation with Thoth ?

Sphinx (loftily). Oh, dear no!....

Poet . What was that story about the Tyrian ?

Sphinx. Merely gossip. There was nothing in it, I assure you.

Poet. And Apis ?

Sphinx. Oh, he sent me some flowers, and there were paragraphs about it—in hieroglyphs — in thesociety papers. That was all. But they were contradicted.

Poet. You knew Ammon very well, I believe?

Sphinx (frankly). Ammon and I were great pals. I used to see a good deal of him. He came in to tea very often—he was quite interesting. But I have not seen him for a long time. He had one fault—he would smoke in the drawing-room. And though I hope I am not too conventional, I really couldnot allow that….

Poet. Is it true you went tunny-fishing with Antony ?

Sphinx. One must draw the line somewhere! Cleopatra was so cross. She was horribly jealous,and not nearly so handsome as you might suppose, though she was photographed as a "type of Egyptian Beauty!"

Poet. I must thank you very much for the courteous way in which you have replied to myquestion«. And now will you forgive me if I make an observation ? In my opinion you are not a Sphinx at all.

Sphinx (indignantly). What am I, then ?

Poet. A Minx.

A number of features of this parody are remarkable. First by casting the poem in the language of present-day journalism, and bycharacterizing the “Sphinx” as a sexually uninhibited woman of the present day, Leverson squarely emphasizes femininity and female sexuality while defusingtheir outrageousness as it is implied by Wilde’s own characterizations of the sphinx. Where Wilde (or at least the speaker of his poem) We would be mistaken if we conflated Wilde with the speaker of his poem, since Wilde goes to considerable lengths to characterize the speakerof The Sphinx as an ingenuous young man of extremely limited experience, ruled by his imagination, given to excessive andungrounded speculative fantasy. Formally, Wilde’s poem is a dramatic monologue or “monodrama,” and by the end of the poem the speaker’s characterizations offemininity are shown up to be as outrageous and unreliable as any other aspect of his characterizations of the sphinx and of ancient history. characterizes the sphinx as an “ exquisite grotesque! Half woman and half animal! ” and as a “ loathsome mystery ” whose “ pulse makes poisonous melodies” and who “wake[s]foul dreams of sensual life ,” Leverson returns the sphinx to aworld of familiar, even tame, heterosexual femininity and prosaic, if faintly flirtatious, conversation. As Margaret Debelius remarks in a valuable essay-length study of Leverson’s parodies, “by defusing the threat of the femme fatale in Wilde’s poem, Leverson revised the role of sphinx to suggest that femininityis much less strange and dangerous than decadent poets imagine” (Debelius, 203). This accentuating of a distinctly unthreatening and modern heterosexualfemininity is accomplished too by Leverson’s reversal of the unspoken gender rules structuring the celebrity interview of Wilde’s and Leverson’s own day. Inthe 1890s such interviews typically paid homage to powerful male writers, politicians, and artists: Wilde himself had been the subject of several suchinterviews, and Leverson here seems conscious of the deference with which Wilde himself had been treated by star-struck interviewers. By offering that samedeference to a female subject, Leverson reverses the conventions governing the celebrity interview so as to cast the “Poet” in the role of interviewer, whilecelebrating the power and authority of a distinctly female subject. But most important of all, by casting Wilde’s subject as “not a Sphinx” but a “Minx,”Leverson downplays the historical, poetic, or archaeological aspects of Wilde’s poem and accentuates an element of sexual seduction, suggesting “that Wilde’spoem…beneath its overblown syntax and labored rhymes, is really just an elaborate pick-up line” (Debelius, 203). Debelius overstates her case by arguing (confusingly) that “Leverson countered Wilde’scounterdiscourse by unmasking him as a flirt: he is the sphinx/minx in pursuit of [Marcel]Schwob” (Debelius, 204). Debelius’s biographical reading here, of both “The Minx” and The Sphinx , is grounded in the claim first made by Regenia Gagnier that The Sphinx represents Wilde’s seduction of the symbolist poet Marcel Schwob and that “In writing the poem, Wilde theseducer/Sphinx confronted the reticent student/Schwob with Schwob's own thinly repressed desires" (Gagnier, 45). But Debelius accepts Gagnier’s assertion(which is itself based upon the unsupported claim that Wilde met Schwob in Parisin 1883) somewhat too easily. No evidence has ever surfaced suggesting that Wilde met Schwob before 1891, by which time Wilde’s poem was largely complete(though Schwob's biographer, Pierre Champion, writes that Wilde "avait été annoncé à Marcel Schwob par John Gray en 1892" [ Marcel Schwob et son temps (Paris, 1927), p. 98]).By 1891 Schwob was hardly the sixteen-year-old ingénue Gagnier makes him out to be but an experienced décadent . As I suggest above, following Ellmann, it is likely that Wilde dedicated The Sphinx to Schwob in thanks for the work Schwob had done on Salome .

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
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Source:  OpenStax, The sphinx. OpenStax CNX. Apr 11, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11196/1.2
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