Essays and Lectures

Essays and Lectures

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Essays and Lectures by Oscar Wilde

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Essays and Lectures

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The Rise of Historical CriticismThe English Renaissance of Art House DecorationArt and the HandicraftmanLecture to Art StudentsLondon ModelsPoems in Prose

Book Excerpt

ed by physical science, were most important forces in encouraging the rise of the spirit of scepticism, yet it was on its ethical side that the Greek mythology was chiefly open to attack.

It is difficult to shake the popular belief in miracles, but no man will admit sin and immorality as attributes of the Ideal he worships; so the first symptoms of a new order of thought are shown in the passionate outcries of Xenophanes and Heraclitos against the evil things said by Homer of the sons of God; and in the story told of Pythagoras, how that he saw tortured in Hell the 'two founders of Greek theology,' we can recognise the rise of the Aufklarung as clearly as we see the Reformation foreshadowed in the INFERNO of Dante.

Any honest belief, then, in the plain truth of these stories soon succumbed before the destructive effects of the A PRIORI ethical criticism of this school; but the orthodox party, as is its custom, found immediately a convenient shelter under the aegis of the doctrine of metaphors an

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