Senior Honors Thesis

Constructing a Martyr: Wilde and D'Annunzio in the Shadow of St. Sebastian

My senior thesis, which I will be submitting for Honors consideration from both the Italian Studies and English departments at Wesleyan University, focuses on texts by Oscar Wilde and Gabriele D'Annunzio.

In my thesis, I take a look at how the figure of the martyr is represented in various texts by both authors: A Woman of No Importance and De profundis by Wilde, and Le martyre de Saint Sébastien and Cento e cento e cento e cento pagine del libro segreto di Gabriele d'Annunzio, tentato da morire by d'Annunzio. Ultimately, I argue that each author coopted a specific version of the martyr that appealed to his political, religious, and sexual beliefs in order to validate his personal conception of gender.

I am incredibly thankful to the Olin Fellowship for their generous support of this project.

Image: Ida Rubinstein in costume as Sebastian for Le martyre de Saint Sébastien, 1911.