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giovedì 14 gennaio 2016

Positività - PARTIRE DAL PERCHE' (di Simon Sinek)

Bisogna ripartire
Certamente ma da dove?
Cominciamo dal Perché, rendendo trasparente e accessibile il motivo per il quale NOI crediamo al prodotto. Cerchiamo di attirare l'attenzione trasferendo tutta la carica e l'energia delle nostre convinzioni, dei nostri sogni, della nostra visione.
Bisogna fare attenzione alle decisioni prese basandoci anche se inconsapevolmente, sulle Supposizioni.
Ciò che si pensa di sapere ci indurrà a prendere delle decisioni. I grandi leader prendono delle decisioni perché riconoscono il valore anche dove non possono vederlo.
  Manipolare e ispirare qualcuno,sono mosse per influenzare in concreto un comportamento umano.
In genere le aziende non sanno perché i loro clienti siano loro clienti. Molto spesso si "manipola" per condizionare una decisione con attività di "induzione" come: abbassare i prezzi, fare campagne di promozione, promettere innovazione, per influenzare il comportamento. Quando le aziende non conoscono il perché i loro clienti sono loro clienti,  usano la manipolazione, per ottenere ciò di cui hanno bisogno, spesso con successo.
  Abbassare il prezzo per chi vende, costituisce una manipolazione efficace ma pericolosa. È come l'eroina l'effetto è immediato ( il cliente spesso si convince e compra) ma le conseguenze spesso sono devastanti. Si rischia di cadere nella spirale della dipendenza del prezzo, che trasforma il prodotto in COMMODITY.
  Il prezzo ha sempre un costo. Quanto siamo disposti a pagare per i soldi che guadagnamo?
Anche le promozioni sono uno strumento di manipolazione molto pericoloso quanto diffuso. Si tratta di indurre qualcuno a decidere concedendo qualcosa gratis che a volte si chiama "valore aggiunto".         La Paura reale o percepita (la banana in tasca del ladro) è un'altro fattore determinante per manipolare una scelta. La paura che se non facciamo una cosa o compriamo un servizio potrà accaderci qualcosa.
Spesso ci facciamo influenzare da un'altra motivo: la pressione dei pari, cioè che se un prodotto è proposto dalla maggioranza di esperti, questi abbiano ragione e quindi temiamo al contrario che noi saremmo nel torto a non essere coerenti con la maggioranza. Ecco perché le aziende promuovono i loro prodotti con i " testimonial" famosi.
  Fare attenzione a non confondere l'innovazione con la " novità". La novità proposta come innovazione induce l'acquisto.
  L'attrazione dello sconto manipolato sulla difficoltà di poterlo recepire attraverso clausole soffisticatissime (Samsung e gli Indirizzi del condominio) costituisce un'altra tipo di manipolazione.
Le manipolazioni funzionano ma costano e vanno bene in periodi di boom economico non in periodi di crisi perché non generano fidelizzazione del cliente.

Il pericolo delle manipolazioni è che funzionano, e che purtroppo sono la norma ma...

IL CERCHIO D'ORO sarà il nostro nuovo sistema di riferimento. Come in natura riconosciamo le proporzioni come strumento di controllo dello spazio, così useremo il cerchio d'oro come metro per individuare la corretta impostazione di un'organizzazione. Si parte dal PERCHÉ un'azienda produce e poi ci sofferma sul come produce e alla fine all'esterno della circonferenza sul che cosa.

  La gente quando compra non guarda CHE COSA fate ma PERCHÉ lo fate.
Oggi quasi tutte le aziende si distinguono dal che cosa fanno, dalle aziende che hanno una causa da difendere.
Le prime si sono trasformate in venditrici di prodotti, e ciò comporta che il prezzo, la qualità il servizio e le caratteristiche tecniche diventano la valuta principale per motivare le decisioni di acquisto. A quel punto il loro prodotto è solo una COMMODITY.
  La capacità di esprimere molto chiaramente il proprio PERCHÉ consente ai consumatori acquistando i loro prodotti di condividere lo stesso credo.
  L'uomo sente di dover appartenere. Avverte il bisogno di appartenenza, quando, proviamo senso di appartenenza ci sentiamo uniti e al sicuro, ci fidiamo di coloro con i quali siamo in grado di percepire una comunanza di valori e di credenze.
  Quando un'azienda comunica chiaramente il suo perché. quello in cui crede ed è qualcosa che noi condividiamo, siamo subito pronti a scegliere il suoi prodotti perché diventano marcatori o simboli dei Valori e delle convinzioni che ci stanno a cuore.
  Se sezioniamo un cervello troviamo nella circonferenza esterna la neo corteccia, mentre verso il centro il sistema limbico. La prima responsabile del linguaggio, la seconda di tutti nostri sentimenti come fiducia e lealtà.
  La comunicazione non muove il sentimento, l'area che controlla i sentimenti non ha capacità di linguaggio. Perciò quando dobbiamo spiegare qualche sentimento lo razionalizziamo per comunicarlo, ma le decisioni "Viscerali" noi le prendiamo perché : sentiamo di fare la cosa giusta. Sentiamo perché l'area del cervello che decide è quella che controlla i nostri sentimenti.
  Il sistema limbico è potente, le decisioni vanno prese   di "pancia". ( gli insegnanti consigliano gli studenti di rispondere d'istinto quando eseguono test a scelta multipla).
  Bisogna conquistare prima il cuore e poi la mente del compratore. Richiede un equilibrio di Arte e Scienza, non si parla mai di scienza ed arte.
  In assenza di un Perché, qualsiasi decisione è più difficile, perché l'area del cervello deputata alla decisione non è la stessa che è in grado di spiegarla.     I grandi leader sono quelli che confidano nel loro Istinto, coloro che capiscono l'arte prima della scienza, conquistare i cuori prima delle menti, sono quelli che parto dal PERCHÉ !
  La forza del nostro sistema limbico è stupefacente, può spingerci a fare cose in apparenza illogiche.
  Avere un PERCHÉ significa credere in qualcosa, tutto ciò che diciamo e facciamo deve dare dimostrazione concreta delle cose in cui crediamo, quando i venditori credono in ciò che vendono le loro parole sono Autentiche, agire con autenticità significa dire e fare cose in cui davvero si crede.
  Quando sentiamo che le  decisioni sono giuste siamo disposti a pagare. Sono però i sentimenti viscerali del limbico a creare là Fedeltà.
  La Fedeltà vero valore emotivo, esiste nel cervello di chi Compra, non di chi vende.
  Sentire la decisione Giusta significa sentirla visceralmente istintivamente ma spesso funziona solo per una singola persona.
  La capacità di verbalizzare un Perché crea il contesto emotivo necessario per prendere le decisioni.
  Bisogna conquistarsi la fiducia, ma la fiducia non è una checklist, la fiducia in una organizzazione emerge quando abbiamo la sensazione che sia animata da motivi diversi dal proprio vantaggio egoistico. Alla fiducia si accompagna un senso di valore.
  Si è leader quando si è seguiti dagli altri, volontariamente perché scegliamo di farlo.
  Quando sciegliamo dei collaboratori dobbiamo cercarli tra coloro che condividono i nostri stessi ideali i nostri stessi valori.     Affrontare assunzioni partendo dai perché aumenta enormemente la capacità di attirare persone appassionate agli stessi ideali in cui crede l'azienda, collaboratori che lavorino per qualcosa che sia più grande delle loro mansioni.
  Le organizzazioni più innovative danno ai loro membri un Obbiettivo verso il quale lavorare.
  Esiste una legge economica chiamata legge della diffusione dell'innovazione, e si dimostra con una curva a campana, spiega come si diffondono le idee. Parte con gli innovatori, seguono gli utenti precoci, maggioranza precoce, maggioranza tardiva e finisce con ritardatari. Per cercare nuovi clienti bisogna farlo a sinistra della curva tra gli innovatori o gli utenti precoci, mai al centro questi hanno bisogno di essere preceduti da qualcuno che abbia già fatto esperienza di acquisto, perché spingeranno gli altri a fare l'esperienza di acquisto.  Quando si parte dal Perché, tutti coloro che condividono le vostre stesse convinzioni si sentono attratti da voi per ragioni del tutto Personali.
È fondamentale dare alla gente qualcosa in cui credere. M. L. King portò alla luce il suo vero perché: la fede nell'uguaglianza di tutti gli uomini. Tutti coloro che condividevano il suo credo sposavano la sua causa e la facevano propria, e ne parlavano ad altri che ne parlavano ad altri ancora.
I 250.000 che il 28 agosto 1963 si recarono a Washington, non andarono per ascoltare King ma per sentire il suo discorso.
  L'energia da la carica, motiva le persone, ma  il carisma ispira.
  Bill Gates trasmette la sua fiducia nella possibilità di di riuscire a rimuovere gli ostacoli che impediscono a tutti di esprimere appieno il proprio potenziale nella vita è nel lavoro.
  Il carisma non ha nulla a che fare con l'energia, deriva dalla chiara consapevolezza di un perché, dall'assoluta dedizione di a un ideale più grande di se stessi.     L'energia può esaltare ma il solo il carisma può Ispirare, generando Fedeltà.
"Non ci interessa andare a lavorare per costruire un muro, vogliamo edificare una cattedrale."
  I leader sanno ispirare e sono al vertice del cerchio che di fatto è un cono tridimensionalmente. I
Leader immaginano la destinazione, gli uomini del Come, trovano il percorso per arrivarci. Saper guidare va bene, ma non saper dove andare rende il saper guidare ininfluente.
  In genere i pessimisti hanno ragione, ma sono gli ottimisti a cambiare il mondo.
  Ogni visionario detentore di un perché ha bisogno di un gruppo di persone del Come, capaci di trasformare il perché in realtà.
  Ogni associazione esprime il suo perché attraverso la Vision del suo fondatore, ma sarà attraverso ma Mission che l'organizzazione esprimerà il percorso dei Come l'organizzazione perseguirà il perché.
È necessaria una grande relazione di fiducia tra gli uomini del Perché è quelli del Come, e la storia dei binomi importanti appartiene a tutte le organizzazioni di successo, da Apple a Disney passando per Microsoft.
 Comunicare con efficacia è molto importante, e per fare in modo che il messaggio abbia davvero impatto occorre cambiare, comunicare un ideale, un credo o uno scopo più elevato, cui chi ha Valori simili possa rapportarsi.
Ma il Messaggio deve essere chiaro si deve avere un ideale da comunicare, ma deve anche essere amplificato per raggiungere il maggior numero di persone, sufficiente a mettere in moto il sistema.
  Le grandi organizzazioni non si limitano a generare profitti ma guidano le persone. La dove c'è un Perché chiaro esiste un preciso livello di aspettative. Mantenete standars elevati con la costanza di comunicare e ricordare a tutti Perché l'organizzazione esiste.
Ron Bruder è un grande leader, ha vinto tantissime sfide ed è un uomo di successo. Ha costruito la sua vita attorno ad un Perché, accorgendosi che le persone di solito vivono le loro vite così come stanno solo perché nessuno ha insegnato loro un'alternativa. Ma invece c'è sempre un'alternativa un'altra prospettiva da considerare.
  Bruder ha osservato che i giovani americani si alzano al mattino con la sensazione di avere una prospettiva futura, sono animati da un ottimismo connaturato. Ma un giovane cresciuto in territori di guerra o di forte instabilità politica non è generalmente così ottimista. Mancano in quei paesi e anche in altri "normali" istituzioni che trasmettano ai giovani la fiducia nel futuro, anzi nella maggior parte dei casi il sistema educativo perpetua un pessimismo culturale.
  Il perché non cambia con il tempo semmai si modificano i Come ed i Che cosa ma il perché di un'organizzazione rimane sempre lo stesso. Il perché viene prima di qualsiasi soluzione creativa creata dai pubblicitari.
  Il Leader è l'uomo dei Perché e si deve occupare prevalentemente di Ispirare il livello adiacente dei Come. Comunicare chiaramente il Perché è un'operazione molto difficile e implica una chiarezza di linguaggio tra l'altro non adatta alla neo corteccia essendo il perché territorio del cervello limbico. Ma il leader deve ispirare tutti.
  Comunicare non significa parlare ma ascoltare.
  Tutte le grandi associazioni sanno quanto importanti siano i simboli per rinforzare i valori o esprimere gli ideali condivisi. I simboli servono a rendere tangibile l'intangibile. E si fondano sul fatto che noi stessi diamo un significato che vive nella nostra mente non nell'oggetto stesso. La Bandiera per esempio.
Tale simbolo è molto importante per qualsiasi nazione, per gli americani in particolare, al punto che ci sono leggi specifiche che la "proteggono" allo scopo di preservare il Significato che il Simbolo rappresenta: il PERCHÉ  della nazione Americana.
  Quasi tutte le aziende hanno un Logo ma poche sono capaci di farlo diventare un Simbolo della propria azienda. Se non c'è chiarezza sul perché, un logo resta un semplice logo. Perché un'azienda possa essere percepita come un grande leader bisogna che tutti i suoi simboli compreso il logo richiamino qualcosa in cui tutti possano credere.
  Un Logo diventa un simbolo quando la gente comincia a volerlo usare per dire qualcosa di Se. (Es. la mela morsa di Apple). Un Simbolo è qualunque rappresentazione tangibile di un chiaro insieme di valori e di convinzioni.
  Ciò che fate dovrebbe essere essere la prova di ciò in cui credete questo vi può consentire di trovarvi tra coloro che condividono le vostre stesse convinzioni. Potete comunicare il vostro Perché attraverso il Che cosa.
  Quando i perché sono chiaramente esplicitati, tutti i membri di un'organizzazione sono in grado di prendere una decisione con la stessa chiarezza e la stessa precisione del Fondatore. Un perché costituisce un filtro infallibile per orientare un processo decisionale.
  Sam Walton fondatore della grande catena Wal-Mart era un uomo cresciuto durante la grande depressione e si dice che questo lo rendeva propenso alla frugalità. Lavoratore accanito diceva: "lavorare duramente porta a vincere". Dotato di un'incredibile ottimismo, vinceva molto tanto da non essere capace di visualizzare la sconfitta.     Costruì un impero da occupare da solo la ventitreesima economia del mondo.
  Wal-Mart non era l'unica catena da basso prezzo sappiamo che il prezzo basso da solo non può fidelizzare i clienti, lui aveva un credo che lo animava. Lui credeva nella gente, credeva che se si fosse mostrato attento alla gente, la gente si sarebbe mostrata attenta con lui, più Wal-Mart avesse dato più avrebbe ricevuto. Lavoriamo tutti insieme; questo è il segreto diceva Walton. Non lavoriamo solo per il servizio ai clienti, ma "al servizio stesso". Il servizio era una causa più alta.
Dopo la morte di Walton purtroppo non sono stati chiaramente trasmessi i Perché. Scandali e cattiva reputazione causata dal cattivo trattamento dei dipendenti anno cancellato la fama illuminata del suo fondatore. Festeggiate i successi ma guardate con buonumore anche i fallimenti, non prendetevi troppo sul serio, lasciatevi un po andare e anche gli altri attorno a voi faranno lo stesso.
  Avere un perché comporta ad un certo punto la necessità di verificare ciò che in gergo si chiama frattura. Quando una organizzazione deve procedere in assenza del proprio leader essa deve sempre verificare se i motivi del perché originario sono ancora vivi tra i propri collaboratori. Quel senso di lavorare per una causa, quel desiderio che il perché delle origini dell'attività è ancora vivo e illuminante.
  Gli imprenditori di successo spesso rimpiangono i bei tempi in cui avevano avviato l'attività, essi hanno bisogno di tornare alla fase in cui ciò che facevano era perfettamente allineato con la ragione per cui lo facevano, il loro Perché.
 La loro stessa presenza fisica, in azienda ricorda ogni giorno ai propri dipendenti e dirigenti, Perché vengono a lavorare ogni giorno. Certo non è facile Verbalizzare il Perché ma bisogna essere capaci di riuscire a tenerlo sempre vivo e costante. Il leader deve sempre parlare dei propri ideali e di ciò che ha stimolato è ispirato la nascita dell'azienda. Questo non significa che i fondatori non siano sostituibili ma la difficoltà nel trovarli consiste nel cercare qualcuno che sia in sintonia con la causa originaria che ha portato alla fondazione dell'azienda, si parla in questo caso di successione non di sostituzione, deve esserci una continuità di Visione.
Henry Ford diceva: se pensate di farcela o se pensate di non farcela, avete ragione. Ford aveva ragione era un uomo dei Perché era un grande leader e capiva l'importanza della prospettiva.
  Bisogna ricordarsi sempre per qualsiasi cosa facciamo da dove siamo partiti, da quale perché abbiamo mosso i primi passi in qualsiasi attività abbiamo mai svolto, dal nostro Perché e cercare di continuare a cercarlo sempre in ogni cosa.
Impariamo dunque a partire sempre dal perché.
  Iniziare ogni giornata cercando di Ispirare le persone a fare cose capaci di ispirarle.
Servono Visione di un mondo che ancora non esiste e la capacità di Comunicarlo, serve diventare Leader cioè fonte di supporto per tutti coloro che vogliono portare il loro contributo, spiegando perché le cose devono essere fatte,
leader che ispirano ad Agire.

martedì 28 aprile 2015

Letteratura inglese - The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of young artists and writers who first met in 1848. The most prominent members were painters such as Millet, Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Their main aim was to reform English painting by rejecting the established academic style in favour of a revival of (= ritorno a) the simplicity and pure colours of the Pre-Renaissance period (the period before the Italian painter Raphael). Rossetti was also a poet and as a poet he belonged to the tradition of sensuous[1] and highly musical poetry which can trace its origin back to Keats and would later be represented by men like Oscar Wilde and a later generation of poets. These poets insisted on the fact that poetry and art in general must be exclusively concerned with the beautiful, not with the useful or the didactic. Rossetti formed his view of poetry through a close (= rigoroso) study of Keats’s poems and letters.
Another artist who anticipated the Aesthetic Movement was Swinburne: he was educated at Eaton and Oxford, where he was influenced by Rossetti. He was among the first in England to state that poetry must be independent of moral/didactic aims. Swinburne was also an enthusiastic supporter of Republican ideals and the cause of the Italian Risorgimento. He met Mazzini in London in 1867 and in the same year he wrote Song of Italy. Four years later, in 1871, he wrote Songs before Sunrise: these are poems which express his support for Mazzini in his struggle for independence.



[1] full of images appealing to the senses

Letteratura inglese - Oscar Wilde - Analysis of two passages taken from The Picture of Dorian Grey + The Praface + his philosophy of life

Chapter IX of The picture of Dorian Gray page 106-107 (photocopy)
Gautier was one of the writers who had a great influence on Oscar Wilde. He stated that nothing is truly beautiful, but that which serves no purpose[1]. Everything useful is ugly because it expresses some need and the needs of man are ignoble and disgusting.
     The passages underlined summarize the most important ideas of Walter Pater’s “Conclusion” to his Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873). Pater’s “Conclusion” to the Renaissance can be considered the philosophical manifesto of the Aesthetic Movement.
In his “Conclusion” to The Renaissance Pater describes life as an insignificant and discontinuous sequence of impressions. He states that the aim of life is not the fruits of experience but experience itself. The consequences of this kind of philosophy are that there is no lasting commitment in life and that the effects of an action are not taken into consideration. Man is driven by (=è spinto da) curiosity about life to search/hunt continually for new sensations.
“Conclusion” to The Renaissance (page 186-190)
Marius the Epicurean is a philosophical novel. It is the story of a young Roman patrician who seeks a valid philosophy of life considering various positions and then abandoning them until he feels attracted to a Christian view of life. Pater wrote this novel because he felt he needed to clarify the ideals he had expressed in his “Conclusion” to The Renaissance as he was afraid they might have a negative influence on young immature students.
Pater was a shy, retiring person and he was very surprised when he realised that Oscar Wilde and his friends regarded him as their master (= maestro).
Experience is reduced to a swarm of impressions and it is a perpetually changing flux. He also says that impressions are fleeting.
He states that the end of life is experience, that is to say, the capacity of experiencing the greatest possible number of impressions.
Walter Pater was sceptical about theories and doctrines and instead of recommending a continuation of the search for truth which had dominated Oxford in the first half of the 19th century, he assured his readers that the quest for truth was pointless because truth is relative. He also encouraged them to enjoy life to the full, to relish (= gustare) its sensations, especially those provoked by art. He believed that it is in art that the finest sensations are to be found and that it is in art that we can hope to fix forever intense moments of our life.
Page 190, lines 18-20: Dorian knows no moral order and the only thing that remains for him is to intensify his life by a large number of intense sensations.

The new hedonism (page 355 of Performer) is based on the Epicurean school of philosophy, in which pleasure is the only good (= bene) in life. Hedonism played a great role in the moral and philosophical debate of the 1870s and 1880s in Oxford led by Francis Herbert Bradley and other philosophers. Bradley, however, didn’t believe in pleasure for pleasure’s sake (= fine a sé stesso). He developed his idea in the framework of a general polemic against the Utilitarian ethics (= etica utilitaristica) promulgated by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.
Utilitarians stated that actions are good in proportion to their utility. By “utility” Bentham meant the extent of happiness an action can promote. He stated that public acts should promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.
Walter Pater was the theorist of the Aesthetic Movement: this movement was concerned with much more than the enjoyment of beauty and the search for new sensations.
Another work which had a great importance for Dorian / great influence on Dorian was Huysmans’ A Rebours[2] (1884). It has been noted that there are intertextual connections between Dorian Gray and A Rebours. Huysmans dedicates a large part of this novel to the sensory pleasures experienced by Jean Des Esseintes’ consumption of luxury goods (= beni di lusso), beautiful artefacts (= oggetti artigianali) and fine ornaments[3]. For the most part, Des Esseintes seems to devote his time to contemplating jewels, perfumes and works of art. There’s a strong similarity between Des Esseintes’ house and Dorian’s house in Grosvenor.
A Rebours is regarded as one of the most significant writings of literary Decadence in France. Writings categorized/classified as Decadent draw attention to unique sensory experience, distorted psychological states and perverse forms of pleasure.
At the beginning of the 1890s, Oscar Wilde stood as a representative of the decadent development from Gautier to Huysmans because of the similarities between his writings and their poetics. Huysmans and other decadent writers drew on a number of previous writers among whom Gautier and his Preface to a novel entitled/called Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835).
Another important writer on whom Huysmans drew was Baudelaire and his collection of poetry called Les Fleurs du Mal (1857). Both Gautier and Baudelaire upheld/supported/were in favour of the view of art for art’s sake, that is to say, the notion that art exists only for itself, not for a didactic or moral purpose.
Dorian Gray is regarded as the most important example of Decadent literature because it describes the fall of an anti-hero. This is a novel which contains almost all the elements ascribed to[4] literary Decadence, among which a narcissistic egotism, a scorn (disprezzo) for moral and social conventions, the search for pleasure and experience for the sake of experience.
This novel is also regarded as the expression of a fin-de-siècle (= di fine secolo) crisis both of culture and of society. The symptoms of this crisis are the negation of social obligations and the withdrawal[5] of the individual from the society to a position of egocentric self-fulfilment. Another symptom is the link between Aesthetic education and corruption in the aristocracy.
The causes of this crisis are to be found mainly in the weakening of religious faith, a certain scepticism towards scientific cosmology[6] and rapid changes in the environment brought about by/due to industrialization. These factors contributed to an intellectual climate in which the old orders (the old values, rules and beliefs) began to crumble/break up before the new ones had established themselves. The new hedonism is a response to this crisis/upheaval in terms of escapism (= evasione). The individual was to renounce any active role in the reshaping of society and (was to) occupy himself with the satisfaction of his own needs.

The novel also represents a transition between Victorianism and the modern age.
The Picture of Dorian Gray can be seen as a challenge to Victorian values and ideals but it never really breaks free from them. For example, Basil is a moralist and an idealist: his moral values are essentially middle-class, they consist of such criteria as honour, goodness, purity and a clean name. He doesn’t regard his gift as a painter as the status symbol of an aristocratic elite, but as something which might separate him from ordinary people.
Lord Henry Wotton[7], by contrast, is a moral anarchist, an irresponsible intellectual, a dandy, and a cynical man. He represents a counter (= opposta) position to Basil Hallward.
In the hedonistic programme which he sets out for Dorian the aim of life is the uninhibited self-fulfilment of the individual. In this programme self-denial[8] is regarded as depressing and obligations to others do not exist. He tells Dorian that one’s own life is the important thing, moreover (= inoltre) Lord Henry considers the exteriors (all what can be seen and touched) as more important than the interior (the realm[9] of the spirit).
In this view of life bodily beauty is seen as the wonder of wonders and since beauty is above all the privilege of youth, this is a time which must be savoured/enjoyed to the full (= con pienezza).
Dorian’s error is to take Lord Henry’s theories as practical guides for life. He doesn’t realize that they represent the cynicism of a rich and bored idler. Following Lord Henry’s advice Dorian confines his interests to the satisfaction of all his desires, but the final effect of this is lack of meaning, disillusionment and boredom. His dissolute life[10] leads to isolation from society and loss of identity.

Isolation from society is expressed through the technique of the narrated monologue. This is a device which conveys (= comunica) the subjectivity of the character’s view of reality. This literary device occurs more frequently in the passages where Dorian becomes aware of his beauty and appropriates Lord Henry’s ideas as his own[11]. It also occurs in the passages where Lord Henry reflects on his influence over Dorian.
The narrated monologue anticipates the “stream-of-consciousness” technique later used by Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. As regards the themes of the novel, loss of identity and isolation from reality are among the most important themes of modern literature.
The subject matter and the narrated monologue are counterbalanced by (= compensate da) adherence to certain traditional conventions of the novel, in particular the omniscient narrator. An example of the use of an omniscient narrator is to be found / occurs in line 40 on page 355 (Perfomer).



Basil’s studio (page 353)
Line 5: the “divan of Persian saddle-bags” is a couch (=divano) covered in carpeting (=tappezzeria) made in designs which imitated the saddle-bags carried by camels.
Line 10: “Japanese effect”: Japanese art grew in popularity in the West after the signing of the Kanagawa Treaty in 1854, when Japan was opened to international trade. This treaty marked the end of Japan’s long period of seclusion, which had begun in the 17th century. In 1862 a department store was opened in London selling furniture and porcelain (a kind of ceramics) coming from Japan. The name of this department store was Farmer and Roger’s Oriental Warehouse, later known as Liberty & Co. This department store started an artistic trend which would become known as “Japonism” ten years later. Japonism means the influence of Japanese art on western culture. Japanese art influenced in particular the decorative arts. At Oxford Wilde gained a reputation for recollecting Japanese white and blue china: this kind of china had previously found favour with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who was the founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. A number of artists known to Wilde, notably Whistler, included/incorporated Japanese designs in their work. Oscar Wild’s house in Chelsea featured[12] many Japanese designs.
Line 9: “tussore-silk” is a kind of silk originated in India and China. It is coarse (= ruvida) and brown and it was mainly used for carpets, curtains, women’s clothing and parasols.
Line 32: in the 1890s and the early 1900s[13] in the East End of London there were places where people could smoke cigarettes containing opium to experience new sensations.
Line 25: The Grosvenor Gallery in New Bond Street (very near Mayfair, Wilde’s favourite area) was opened in 1877 and it exhibited works that were experimental both in form and subject. In 1877 Whistler exhibited a painting entitled Nocturne in Black and Gold. This was an elite gallery which became closely associated with the Aesthetic Movement, of which Wilde was the main representative. Financial difficulties led to the closure of the gallery in 1890. The Royal Academy of Arts in Burlington House was opened in 1768 by King George III, and the first president of this gallery was Sir Joshua Reynolds (this gallery can still be visited in London).

COMPREHENSION (Basil's studio)
1)    The room’s furnishings described are the divan of Persian saddle-bags, the long tussore-silk curtains, the huge window producing a kind of Japanese effect and the full-length portrait clamped to an upright easel (= cavalletto) in the centre of the room.
The description of the room’s furnishings conveys a sense of exquisite refinement and taste for exotic decoration. The studio is described in a slightly Bohemian[14] way: the divan is covered in carpeting which imitates the saddle bags …

2)    A huge window (probably a French window[15]) opening onto the garden.
3)    Lord Henry Wotton is lying on the divan of Persian saddle-bags smoking several cigarettes. He is also looking at the flowers through the French window (looking onto the garden). There are lilac, laburnum and honey-suckle. It’s a beautiful summer day and the scent of the flowers in the garden fills (= riempie) the studio. Lord Henry is also looking at the shadows of the birds flying past the French window, flying behind the curtains.
4)    The kind of cigarettes Lord Henry is smoking tells us something about the corruption of the aristocracy, which went hand-in-hand with their education.
Lord Henry is impressed by the painting of Dorian Gray and he urges (insiste perché) Basil to exhibit it at an art gallery: he advises him to show it at the Grosvenor Gallery.
Lines 18 to 20 tell us that Basil was a solitary painter. Basil rejects Lord Henry’s advice saying that he will never exhibit his painting because he has put so much of himself into it.
Lord Henry’s way of speaking is witty (= acuto), ironical and sometimes even paradoxical. It reflects his sophisticated education. Basil’s speech[16], by contrast, is earnest (=onesto) and straightforward (= diretto, schietto).
5)    They are discussing whether the picture should be exhibited at the Grosvenor: Lord Henry Wotton thinks that this could be a very important opportunity for Basil, because he could  become famous. Basil, by contrast, doesn’t want to show his painting because it’s too personal to be exhibited.

The first passage opens in Basil’s studio, where the painter is completing a full-length portrait of Dorian Gray. It is a beautiful summer day and the room is filled with the fragrance coming from the flowers of the garden. Lord Henry is lying on the divan, is smoking an opium-cigarette while admiring a painting. He tells Basil to exhibit Dorian’s portrait at the Grosvenor Academy, but Basil states that he will never show it because it has too much of himself in it.
In the second passage Dorian is drawn into conversation by Lord Henry who sets out his philosophy of life, which he summarizes as New Hedonism. In this philosophy the aim of life is an uninhibited self-development and the highest values are beauty and youth.
When he sees his portrait, Dorian is very impressed. He looks at it as if he saw his beauty for the first time. Then he is distressed/pained (= molto addolorato) by the thought of losing it and he wishes he could remain young forever while his portrait becomes old and ugly. Wilde conveys Dorian’s intensity of emotion through the use of stylistic devices such as parallel constructions (“if it were …”), the emphatic use of the conjunction “if”, and the use of exclamation marks. The repetition of “how sad it is” also gives the reader a clear idea of Dorian’s emotional state, of his concern (=preoccupazione) about losing his beauty and becoming old and wrinkled.
Lord Henry speaks in witty aphorisms[17]: for example, line 10 contains a paradox.
Dorian’s desire to preserve his beauty and youth while his portrait bears (= subisce) the alterations of age and his willingness (= disponibilità) to sell his soul to the devil to this end (= scopo) can be seen as a variation on the theme of the double, a theme which was quite popular in the 19th century. The most important novel dealing with this theme is Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886).
Dr. Jekyll is a physician (= medico) who is aware of the duality/mixture of good and evil in his own nature. One day he discovers a drug, which enables him to make for himself a separate personality (Mr. Hyde) which can absorb all his evil instincts.
Dorian’s willingness to sell his soul to the devil also recalls the pact with the devil, which can be found in the legends of Faust[18]. Faust is the main character of a play by Goethe. He is a necromancer or an astrologer who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power. The relationship between Lord H. Wotton and Dorian resembles (= assomiglia) that between Mephisto, the servant of the devil, and Faust in Goethe’s play.
Dorian’s personality is split into two parts. One physical and the other spiritual: the link between the two parts is the changing portrait. Dorian’s portrait represents his conscience, it is a visible emblem of his soul and it changes in order to reflect Dorian’s vice[19] and progressive degeneration. This process begins when Dorian appropriates Lord Henry’s ideas.
The Preface
The Preface to Dorian Gray was first published in the Fortnightly Review. It was written in response to the harsh criticism with which Dorian Gray had been received by a number of critics. It was later included in the second edition of the novel (1891). The Preface is a series of aphorisms/witty statements about the purpose of art, the role of the artist and the value of beauty. Later it came to be regarded as the Manifesto of the Aesthetic Movement.
“We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it” and “All art is quite useless” are two concepts expressed by Gautier in his Preface to Mademoiselle De Maupin. What Gautier asks in Mademoiselle de Maupin is: “What is the use of art? What is the use of music?”. Through these questions, he suggests that all forms of art are useless.
Caliban is a misshapen being (= essere malformato) who tries to rape Miranda, the daughter of Prospero, Duke of Milan. Caliban is the son of a vicious/malevolent and powerful witch that dominates the island where Prospero and Miranda are shipwrecked. The story of Prospero and Miranda is told by Shakespeare in The Tempest (1611). Wilde compares the 19th century to a misshapen being (Caliban).
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of young artists and writers who first met in 1848. The most prominent members were painters such as Millet, Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Their main aim was to reform English painting by rejecting the established academic style in favour of a revival of (= ritorno a) the simplicity and pure colours of the Pre-Renaissance period (the period before the Italian painter Raphael). Rossetti was also a poet and as a poet he belonged to the tradition of sensuous[20] and highly musical poetry which can trace its origin back to Keats and would later be represented by men like Oscar Wilde and a later generation of poets. These poets insisted on the fact that poetry and art in general must be exclusively concerned with the beautiful, not with the useful or the didactic. Rossetti formed his view of poetry through a close (= rigoroso) study of Keats’s poems and letters.
Another artist who anticipated the Aesthetic Movement was Swinburne: he was educated at Eaton and Oxford, where he was influenced by Rossetti. He was among the first in England to state that poetry must be independent of moral/didactic aims. Swinburne was also an enthusiastic supporter of Republican ideals and the cause of the Italian Risorgimento. He met Mazzini in London in 1867 and in the same year he wrote Song of Italy. Four years later, in 1871, he wrote Songs before Sunrise: these are poems which express his support for Mazzini



[1] a eccezione di ciò che è inutile
[2] A ritroso
[3] any objects that are used to decorate something
[4] attribuita a
[5] To withdraw = ritirarsi
[6] “Cosmology” means “the study of the Universe, its origin and development
[7] Henry Wotton is Oscar Wilde’s mouthpiece (a person who speaks of the half of another person)
[8] abnegazione (to deny = negare)
[9] regno
[10] moral decline/downfall = declino morale
[11] fa proprie le idee di Lord Henry
[12] had as an important feature
[13] [nine hundreds]
[14] He rejects bourgeois (middle-class) values and doesn’t identify himself with the values that led to industrialization.   He leads a casual life, which is different from the life of other people of his time; he is interested in art, music and various forms of literature.
[15] Porta.finestra
[16] way of speaking
[17] an aphorism is a short clever sentence expressing a general truth
[18] German name for Faustus
[19] criminal behaviour
[20] full of images appealing to the sensesChapter IX of The picture of Dorian Gray page 106-107 (photocopy)
Gautier was one of the writers who had a great influence on Oscar Wilde. He stated that nothing is truly beautiful, but that which serves no purpose[1]. Everything useful is ugly because it expresses some need and the needs of man are ignoble and disgusting.
     The passages underlined summarize the most important ideas of Walter Pater’s “Conclusion” to his Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873). Pater’s “Conclusion” to the Renaissance can be considered the philosophical manifesto of the Aesthetic Movement.
In his “Conclusion” to The Renaissance Pater describes life as an insignificant and discontinuous sequence of impressions. He states that the aim of life is not the fruits of experience but experience itself. The consequences of this kind of philosophy are that there is no lasting commitment in life and that the effects of an action are not taken into consideration. Man is driven by (=è spinto da) curiosity about life to search/hunt continually for new sensations.
“Conclusion” to The Renaissance (page 186-190)
Marius the Epicurean is a philosophical novel. It is the story of a young Roman patrician who seeks a valid philosophy of life considering various positions and then abandoning them until he feels attracted to a Christian view of life. Pater wrote this novel because he felt he needed to clarify the ideals he had expressed in his “Conclusion” to The Renaissance as he was afraid they might have a negative influence on young immature students.
Pater was a shy, retiring person and he was very surprised when he realised that Oscar Wilde and his friends regarded him as their master (= maestro).
Experience is reduced to a swarm of impressions and it is a perpetually changing flux. He also says that impressions are fleeting.
He states that the end of life is experience, that is to say, the capacity of experiencing the greatest possible number of impressions.
Walter Pater was sceptical about theories and doctrines and instead of recommending a continuation of the search for truth which had dominated Oxford in the first half of the 19th century, he assured his readers that the quest for truth was pointless because truth is relative. He also encouraged them to enjoy life to the full, to relish (= gustare) its sensations, especially those provoked by art. He believed that it is in art that the finest sensations are to be found and that it is in art that we can hope to fix forever intense moments of our life.
Page 190, lines 18-20: Dorian knows no moral order and the only thing that remains for him is to intensify his life by a large number of intense sensations.

The new hedonism (page 355 of Performer) is based on the Epicurean school of philosophy, in which pleasure is the only good (= bene) in life. Hedonism played a great role in the moral and philosophical debate of the 1870s and 1880s in Oxford led by Francis Herbert Bradley and other philosophers. Bradley, however, didn’t believe in pleasure for pleasure’s sake (= fine a sé stesso). He developed his idea in the framework of a general polemic against the Utilitarian ethics (= etica utilitaristica) promulgated by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.
Utilitarians stated that actions are good in proportion to their utility. By “utility” Bentham meant the extent of happiness an action can promote. He stated that public acts should promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.
Walter Pater was the theorist of the Aesthetic Movement: this movement was concerned with much more than the enjoyment of beauty and the search for new sensations.
Another work which had a great importance for Dorian / great influence on Dorian was Huysmans’ A Rebours[2] (1884). It has been noted that there are intertextual connections between Dorian Gray and A Rebours. Huysmans dedicates a large part of this novel to the sensory pleasures experienced by Jean Des Esseintes’ consumption of luxury goods (= beni di lusso), beautiful artefacts (= oggetti artigianali) and fine ornaments[3]. For the most part, Des Esseintes seems to devote his time to contemplating jewels, perfumes and works of art. There’s a strong similarity between Des Esseintes’ house and Dorian’s house in Grosvenor.
A Rebours is regarded as one of the most significant writings of literary Decadence in France. Writings categorized/classified as Decadent draw attention to unique sensory experience, distorted psychological states and perverse forms of pleasure.
At the beginning of the 1890s, Oscar Wilde stood as a representative of the decadent development from Gautier to Huysmans because of the similarities between his writings and their poetics. Huysmans and other decadent writers drew on a number of previous writers among whom Gautier and his Preface to a novel entitled/called Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835).
Another important writer on whom Huysmans drew was Baudelaire and his collection of poetry called Les Fleurs du Mal (1857). Both Gautier and Baudelaire upheld/supported/were in favour of the view of art for art’s sake, that is to say, the notion that art exists only for itself, not for a didactic or moral purpose.
Dorian Gray is regarded as the most important example of Decadent literature because it describes the fall of an anti-hero. This is a novel which contains almost all the elements ascribed to[4] literary Decadence, among which a narcissistic egotism, a scorn (disprezzo) for moral and social conventions, the search for pleasure and experience for the sake of experience.
This novel is also regarded as the expression of a fin-de-siècle (= di fine secolo) crisis both of culture and of society. The symptoms of this crisis are the negation of social obligations and the withdrawal[5] of the individual from the society to a position of egocentric self-fulfilment. Another symptom is the link between Aesthetic education and corruption in the aristocracy.
The causes of this crisis are to be found mainly in the weakening of religious faith, a certain scepticism towards scientific cosmology[6] and rapid changes in the environment brought about by/due to industrialization. These factors contributed to an intellectual climate in which the old orders (the old values, rules and beliefs) began to crumble/break up before the new ones had established themselves. The new hedonism is a response to this crisis/upheaval in terms of escapism (= evasione). The individual was to renounce any active role in the reshaping of society and (was to) occupy himself with the satisfaction of his own needs.

The novel also represents a transition between Victorianism and the modern age.
The Picture of Dorian Gray can be seen as a challenge to Victorian values and ideals but it never really breaks free from them. For example, Basil is a moralist and an idealist: his moral values are essentially middle-class, they consist of such criteria as honour, goodness, purity and a clean name. He doesn’t regard his gift as a painter as the status symbol of an aristocratic elite, but as something which might separate him from ordinary people.
Lord Henry Wotton[7], by contrast, is a moral anarchist, an irresponsible intellectual, a dandy, and a cynical man. He represents a counter (= opposta) position to Basil Hallward.
In the hedonistic programme which he sets out for Dorian the aim of life is the uninhibited self-fulfilment of the individual. In this programme self-denial[8] is regarded as depressing and obligations to others do not exist. He tells Dorian that one’s own life is the important thing, moreover (= inoltre) Lord Henry considers the exteriors (all what can be seen and touched) as more important than the interior (the realm[9] of the spirit).
In this view of life bodily beauty is seen as the wonder of wonders and since beauty is above all the privilege of youth, this is a time which must be savoured/enjoyed to the full (= con pienezza).
Dorian’s error is to take Lord Henry’s theories as practical guides for life. He doesn’t realize that they represent the cynicism of a rich and bored idler. Following Lord Henry’s advice Dorian confines his interests to the satisfaction of all his desires, but the final effect of this is lack of meaning, disillusionment and boredom. His dissolute life[10] leads to isolation from society and loss of identity.

Isolation from society is expressed through the technique of the narrated monologue. This is a device which conveys (= comunica) the subjectivity of the character’s view of reality. This literary device occurs more frequently in the passages where Dorian becomes aware of his beauty and appropriates Lord Henry’s ideas as his own[11]. It also occurs in the passages where Lord Henry reflects on his influence over Dorian.
The narrated monologue anticipates the “stream-of-consciousness” technique later used by Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. As regards the themes of the novel, loss of identity and isolation from reality are among the most important themes of modern literature.
The subject matter and the narrated monologue are counterbalanced by (= compensate da) adherence to certain traditional conventions of the novel, in particular the omniscient narrator. An example of the use of an omniscient narrator is to be found / occurs in line 40 on page 355 (Perfomer).



Basil’s studio (page 353)
Line 5: the “divan of Persian saddle-bags” is a couch (=divano) covered in carpeting (=tappezzeria) made in designs which imitated the saddle-bags carried by camels.
Line 10: “Japanese effect”: Japanese art grew in popularity in the West after the signing of the Kanagawa Treaty in 1854, when Japan was opened to international trade. This treaty marked the end of Japan’s long period of seclusion, which had begun in the 17th century. In 1862 a department store was opened in London selling furniture and porcelain (a kind of ceramics) coming from Japan. The name of this department store was Farmer and Roger’s Oriental Warehouse, later known as Liberty & Co. This department store started an artistic trend which would become known as “Japonism” ten years later. Japonism means the influence of Japanese art on western culture. Japanese art influenced in particular the decorative arts. At Oxford Wilde gained a reputation for recollecting Japanese white and blue china: this kind of china had previously found favour with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who was the founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. A number of artists known to Wilde, notably Whistler, included/incorporated Japanese designs in their work. Oscar Wild’s house in Chelsea featured[12] many Japanese designs.
Line 9: “tussore-silk” is a kind of silk originated in India and China. It is coarse (= ruvida) and brown and it was mainly used for carpets, curtains, women’s clothing and parasols.
Line 32: in the 1890s and the early 1900s[13] in the East End of London there were places where people could smoke cigarettes containing opium to experience new sensations.
Line 25: The Grosvenor Gallery in New Bond Street (very near Mayfair, Wilde’s favourite area) was opened in 1877 and it exhibited works that were experimental both in form and subject. In 1877 Whistler exhibited a painting entitled Nocturne in Black and Gold. This was an elite gallery which became closely associated with the Aesthetic Movement, of which Wilde was the main representative. Financial difficulties led to the closure of the gallery in 1890. The Royal Academy of Arts in Burlington House was opened in 1768 by King George III, and the first president of this gallery was Sir Joshua Reynolds (this gallery can still be visited in London).

COMPREHENSION
1)    The room’s furnishings described are the divan of Persian saddle-bags, the long tussore-silk curtains, the huge window producing a kind of Japanese effect and the full-length portrait clamped to an upright easel (= cavalletto) in the centre of the room.
The description of the room’s furnishings conveys a sense of exquisite refinement and taste for exotic decoration. The studio is described in a slightly Bohemian[14] way: the divan is covered in carpeting which imitates the saddle bags …

2)    A huge window (probably a French window[15]) opening onto the garden.
3)    Lord Henry Wotton is lying on the divan of Persian saddle-bags smoking several cigarettes. He is also looking at the flowers through the French window (looking onto the garden). There are lilac, laburnum and honey-suckle. It’s a beautiful summer day and the scent of the flowers in the garden fills (= riempie) the studio. Lord Henry is also looking at the shadows of the birds flying past the French window, flying behind the curtains.
4)    The kind of cigarettes Lord Henry is smoking tells us something about the corruption of the aristocracy, which went hand-in-hand with their education.
Lord Henry is impressed by the painting of Dorian Gray and he urges (insiste perché) Basil to exhibit it at an art gallery: he advises him to show it at the Grosvenor Gallery.
Lines 18 to 20 tell us that Basil was a solitary painter. Basil rejects Lord Henry’s advice saying that he will never exhibit his painting because he has put so much of himself into it.
Lord Henry’s way of speaking is witty (= acuto), ironical and sometimes even paradoxical. It reflects his sophisticated education. Basil’s speech[16], by contrast, is earnest (=onesto) and straightforward (= diretto, schietto).
5)    They are discussing whether the picture should be exhibited at the Grosvenor: Lord Henry Wotton thinks that this could be a very important opportunity for Basil, because he could  become famous. Basil, by contrast, doesn’t want to show his painting because it’s too personal to be exhibited.

The first passage opens in Basil’s studio, where the painter is completing a full-length portrait of Dorian Gray. It is a beautiful summer day and the room is filled with the fragrance coming from the flowers of the garden. Lord Henry is lying on the divan, is smoking an opium-cigarette while admiring a painting. He tells Basil to exhibit Dorian’s portrait at the Grosvenor Academy, but Basil states that he will never show it because it has too much of himself in it.
In the second passage Dorian is drawn into conversation by Lord Henry who sets out his philosophy of life, which he summarizes as New Hedonism. In this philosophy the aim of life is an uninhibited self-development and the highest values are beauty and youth.
When he sees his portrait, Dorian is very impressed. He looks at it as if he saw his beauty for the first time. Then he is distressed/pained (= molto addolorato) by the thought of losing it and he wishes he could remain young forever while his portrait becomes old and ugly. Wilde conveys Dorian’s intensity of emotion through the use of stylistic devices such as parallel constructions (“if it were …”), the emphatic use of the conjunction “if”, and the use of exclamation marks. The repetition of “how sad it is” also gives the reader a clear idea of Dorian’s emotional state, of his concern (=preoccupazione) about losing his beauty and becoming old and wrinkled.
Lord Henry speaks in witty aphorisms[17]: for example, line 10 contains a paradox.
Dorian’s desire to preserve his beauty and youth while his portrait bears (= subisce) the alterations of age and his willingness (= disponibilità) to sell his soul to the devil to this end (= scopo) can be seen as a variation on the theme of the double, a theme which was quite popular in the 19th century. The most important novel dealing with this theme is Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886).
Dr. Jekyll is a physician (= medico) who is aware of the duality/mixture of good and evil in his own nature. One day he discovers a drug, which enables him to make for himself a separate personality (Mr. Hyde) which can absorb all his evil instincts.
Dorian’s willingness to sell his soul to the devil also recalls the pact with the devil, which can be found in the legends of Faust[18]. Faust is the main character of a play by Goethe. He is a necromancer or an astrologer who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power. The relationship between Lord H. Wotton and Dorian resembles (= assomiglia) that between Mephisto, the servant of the devil, and Faust in Goethe’s play.
Dorian’s personality is split into two parts. One physical and the other spiritual: the link between the two parts is the changing portrait. Dorian’s portrait represents his conscience, it is a visible emblem of his soul and it changes in order to reflect Dorian’s vice[19] and progressive degeneration. This process begins when Dorian appropriates Lord Henry’s ideas.
The Preface
The Preface to Dorian Gray was first published in the Fortnightly Review. It was written in response to the harsh criticism with which Dorian Gray had been received by a number of critics. It was later included in the second edition of the novel (1891). The Preface is a series of aphorisms/witty statements about the purpose of art, the role of the artist and the value of beauty. Later it came to be regarded as the Manifesto of the Aesthetic Movement.
“We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it” and “All art is quite useless” are two concepts expressed by Gautier in his Preface to Mademoiselle De Maupin. What Gautier asks in Mademoiselle de Maupin is: “What is the use of art? What is the use of music?”. Through these questions, he suggests that all forms of art are useless.
Caliban is a misshapen being (= essere malformato) who tries to rape Miranda, the daughter of Prospero, Duke of Milan. Caliban is the son of a vicious/malevolent and powerful witch that dominates the island where Prospero and Miranda are shipwrecked. The story of Prospero and Miranda is told by Shakespeare in The Tempest (1611). Wilde compares the 19th century to a misshapen being (Caliban).




[1] a eccezione di ciò che è inutile
[2] A ritroso
[3] any objects that are used to decorate something
[4] attribuita a
[5] To withdraw = ritirarsi
[6] “Cosmology” means “the study of the Universe, its origin and development
[7] Henry Wotton is Oscar Wilde’s mouthpiece (a person who speaks of the half of another person)
[8] abnegazione (to deny = negare)
[9] regno
[10] moral decline/downfall = declino morale
[11] fa proprie le idee di Lord Henry
[12] had as an important feature
[13] [nine hundreds]
[14] He rejects bourgeois (middle-class) values and doesn’t identify himself with the values that led to industrialization.   He leads a casual life, which is different from the life of other people of his time; he is interested in art, music and various forms of literature.
[15] Porta.finestra
[16] way of speaking
[17] an aphorism is a short clever sentence expressing a general truth
[18] German name for Faustus
[19] criminal behaviour
[20] full of images appealing to the senses