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IntroSems are designed with you in mind. Browse this catalog website to learn more and look for the 2024-25 seminars to post here in August, when you'll be able to start signing up for priority enrollment in 3 IntroSems every quarter.

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COMPLIT 21Q: Wilde’s Worlds: Oscar Wilde in the International Context

Newly added to Spring!

Course Description

This seminar introduces you to Oscar Wilde's life and works in various international literary, artistic, and philosophical contexts since the 1890s, as well as to Wilde’s global interpretation as an LGBTQ+ icon today. We consider Wilde's own roots in Irish culture; his Oxford Hellenism and love for Ancient Greece and Rome; the influence of French and Belgian Decadence and Symbolism on The Picture of Dorian Gray and Salomé; Wilde’s love for visual and decorative arts (such as Japanese art and Art Nouveau); Wilde’s queer literary networks in Paris and London; Wilde’s relation to figures such as Richard Strauss, Nietzsche, and Wagner in Germany; the impact of Wilde’s 1895 trials on his reputation as a queer icon; to Wilde's vibrant global afterlife in the performing arts (dance, opera, musicals), cinema, and popular culture from Japan to Russia, China, India, the U.S., and beyond.

In addition to your in-class participation and midterm and final papers for the course, you will prepare and deliver one 10-minute in-class oral presentation on a topic or text of your choice from the syllabus. As a WRITE-2 seminar, this course will give you the opportunity to develop and hone both your writing and your oral communication abilities, helping you become a more experienced writer and confident speaker.

This course fulfills the second-level Writing and Rhetoric Requirement (WRITE 2) and emphasizes oral and multimedia presentation.

Meet the Instructor: Petra Dierkes

Petra Dierkes

"I have always been fascinated by the literature, arts, and cultural history of the European fin de siècle, especially Oscar Wilde and his circle, as well as feminist and queer studies of the 1880s-1920s period. I have written books and articles on Oscar Wilde, Arthur Symons, Stéphane Mallarmé, Richard Strauss, George Bernard Shaw, Henry-D. Davray, and some unjustly “forgotten” provocative woman writers, such as the English author Victoria Cross (a bestselling author in her time) and the French Decadent writer and salon hostess Rachilde.

"One of the many things I love to do is spending time literary archives (such as the William Andrews Clark Jr. Memorial Library in Los Angeles, the Archive Jacques Doucet in Paris, or the British Library in London). I’m not embarrassed to admit that I get chills touching Wilde’s personal letters and rare presentation copies or first editions, or don’t mind spending countless hours in a stuffy library room transcribing Rachilde’s illegible handwriting.

"As a teacher, I love sharing my love of literature and cultural history with my students in the classroom, introducing and debating ideas and helping students bring their own questions and insights to the next level, both in class discussion and on the page. In my current role as an undergraduate academic advisor, I help students discover and navigate their personal path through Stanford and make meaningful connections with academic content, people, opportunities, and different sources of support. In my spare time, I really enjoy singing, theater and museums, traveling, and the great outdoors, from hiking the Dish to hitting the slopes in Tahoe, or scouting out the next scuba diving destination."