This is the study of Dorian we have been waiting for. Dorian Unbound takes a much more expansive view of the various influences on the text, going beyond British Aestheticism and French Decadence. O'Toole does an excellent job wearing his erudition lightly: his text is richly and deeply informed by the archive and extant scholarship, but it reads like a dream.
O'Toole brings into dialogue a range of influences on Wilde's text that have rarely been discussed together, illuminating the novel from an entirely new vantage point. Dorian Unbound will have a considerable impact on our understanding of one of the most widely read novels in English literature.
Dorian Unbound brilliantly tracks the extraordinarily wide-ranging sources that informed the development of Oscar Wilde's oeuvre, reorienting our understanding of Decadence through a more expansive, generative view of Wilde's transnational network of influences.
More than any other previous study, Dorian Unbound reveals that the queer form of Wilde's classic novel engages with a striking array of transnational antecedents. Here the Irish Gothic of Maturin, the Teutonic horror of Meinhold, and the eerie American portrait tales of Hawthorne, Poe, and James are elegantly interwoven with the dandyish dialogic wit of Meredith and Peacock.