<b>Impossible promise: the child and the androgyne in Thomas Kilroy's The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde and My Scandalous Life</b><br>


  • José Lanters University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee




Wilde, Androgyny, Child Abuse, Innocence, Corruption


In The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde and My Scandalous Life, the impossible ideals of perfect harmony between the sexes and perfect innocence are symbolically represented by the figures of the Androgyne and the child. In a process that illustrates the Wildean paradox that "each man kills the thing he loves," Oscar and Constance Wilde on the one hand, Alfred Douglas and Olive Custance on the other, fight each other over possession of their children, in that very act destroying both the ideal of androgynous harmony and that of childish innocence. Only by performing their worst nightmares, embracing the darkness within themselves, and acknowledging that innocence contains its own corruption, can the characters restore some form of equilibrium.

Biografia do Autor

José Lanters, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

José Lanters is professor of English at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, where she also serves on the advisory committee of the Center for Celtic Studies, and on the editorial board of the electronic interdisciplinary journal e-Keltoi. Her numerous publications in the field of Irish literature and culture include Unauthorized Versions: Irish Menippean Satire, 1919-1952 (Catholic University of America Press, 2000) and The 'Tinkers' in Irish Literature: Unsettled Subjects and the Construction of Difference  (Irish Academic Press, 2008). From 2007-09 she served as the president of the American Conference for Irish Studies.