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It might easily be objected that this is to make too much of a comic bauble and that Leverson’s parody is not a “critical” responseto The Sphinx at all. After all, its tone is deliberately light-hearted—at the opposite extreme from Henley’s causticsarcasm—and Leverson was among Wilde’s staunchest personal friends. (Leverson and her husband offered shelter to Wilde in 1895, when he was released on bailbetween his two trials for “gross indecency,” when no other home or hotel in London would open its doors to him. See Ellmann, 469-70). Significantly, Wildehimself was vastly amused by Leverson’s skit, perhaps seeing it as a form of tribute no less than critique: “ Punch is delightful and the drawing a masterpiece of clever caricature. I am afraid shereally was a minx after all. You are the only Sphinx” ( Complete Letters , 593). But affection is a crucial element of parody; and scholars of parody (especially of parody by women) arguethat such tendencies to love, affection, and gentleness as are displayed in Leverson's parody license rather than defuse its capacity for critique. As Wilde himself recognized, “Parody, which is the Muse with her tongue in her cheek, has alwaysamused me; but it requires a light touch and a fanciful treatment and, oddly enough, a love of the poet whom it caricatures. One’s disciples can parody one—nobody else” ( Complete Letters , 390). As Debelius states, “in Leverson’s case parody worked as a double-edged sword thatallowed her both to express her great loyalty to Wilde and to use her great wit to distance herself from those aspects of aestheticism she found distasteful….It is precisely through parody that Leverson defined herself as a writer sympathetic to aspects of aestheticism while still critiquing its masculinistpolitics…. Leverson loved Wilde enough to repeat him convincingly, but it was a repetition with a difference. And this difference carries the power ofsubversion” (Debelius, 193-96).

Leverson’s 1894 parody, then, represents one of the most important critical responses to the poem in Wilde’s own lifetime,especially from the standpoint of gender, even if acknowledging its “importance” flies in the face of a triviality or wittiness that is as cultivated as that ondisplay in Wilde’s own The Importance of Being Earnest . But if Leverson’s parody holds obvious appeal today, it heralded no sudden growth in readership of Wilde’s poem, and The Sphinx remained neglected and unread for many years into the twentieth century. There are many reasons for this neglect:Modernist writers such as Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and T. S. Eliot worked hard (and largely successfully) in the early decades of the twentieth century todenigrate the “aestheticism” of the 1890s; but even before this, Wilde’s work had been disgraced in the eyes of many readers by Wilde’s imprisonment for“gross indecency” in the spring of 1895. External causes were not wholly to blame, however; the poem’s neglect had to some extent been “willed” by the poemitself, or at least by its author and first publishers. The format of the 1894 edition embodies the book’s “strong dislike of the public”; and as we have seen,Wilde was determined that it should reach only “a small and quite unimportant sect of perfect people.” Ricketts’s designs for The Sphinx began to attract serious attention from art historians and print historians in the 1960s and 1970s, following a more general resurgence ofinterest in art nouveau, printmaking, and the arts of the book. But Wilde’s poem languished as an entity in its own right till the final decades of the twentiethcentury, when the rise in Wilde’s reputation, the growth of scholarship in book history, and increased scholarly attention to the “composite” nature or “textualcondition” of literary works all conspired to bring fresh attention to it. Important new editions of The Sphinx were produced prior to World War I in formats distinct from the first edition of 1894—notably the edition illustratedby “Alasdair” [Hans Henning von Voight], though this was not published by JohnLane till 1920; and private presses occasionally printed very limited runs of the poem, accompanied by new illustrations in each case, in the 1950s and 1960s.Crucially, however, none of these editions generated critical comment or significant new readership for the poem. At first, that attention was confined largely to the work of editors who had set out to present Wilde’s worksgenerally to a larger academic readership. But the past two decades or so have seen a number of important critical studies of Wilde’s poem, in some of whichthe questions of gender raised into prominence by Leverson’s parody are taken up, in others of which Ricketts’s powerful decorations for the first edition of1894 are seen as important constituents of meaning.

Questions & Answers

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
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are nano particles real
Missy Reply
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Lale Reply
no can't
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Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
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Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
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Jyoti Reply
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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
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industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
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scanning tunneling microscope
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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
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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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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