A beautiful soul : Frederick Philip Grove's re-vision of The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Dammermann, Sarah
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This thesis is concerned with the influence which Oscar Wilde's doctrine of aesthetic self-creation had on the life and writings of Felix Paul Greve/Federick Philip Grove. It is well established that Gerve not only translated Wilde's works into German but into life during the early years of this century. What is less well known is that this "translation" of art into life continued throughout most of Grove's Canadian career as well. The discovery of a previously unpublished short story written late in FPG's life seems to be the last word on Wilde's influence on FPG: this story, "A Beautiful Soul," is a re-writing of The Picture of Dorian Gray, and a radical departure from FPG's earlier admiration of Wilde. The approach which will be taken in the analysis of this story is that of Roland Barthes, as demonstrated in S/Z. This particular mode of analysis is particularly useful in the case of this story by FPG for this is his only story which overtly "flouts all respect for origin, paternity, propriety" (S/Z 44). In others words, through the creation of a fictional author, Hugh Allister, who is a plagiarist, FPG is able to explore the concepts of "authority," "origin," and textual "naturalness" within his written text. In addition, Barthes' analysis opens the text so that the reader is clearly aware that Hugh Allister creates his world by using the same means that FPG had employed in the creation of his Canadian identity: through Oscar Wilde's aesthetic theory of self-creation.