"The thorn must pierce your heart": Compassionate organs, decadent viscera, and soulful gore in Oscar Wilde's fairy tales
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Oscar Wilde's fairy tales are populated with images of bodies being disassembled. Attending to this curious phenomenon can help us begin to understand Wilde's engagement with the Victorian relationship to the body, in particular the specter of late Victorian medical science as a vehicle for generating as well as reflecting upon affect. The characters in Wilde's fairy tales are both vivisector and vivisected; they voluntarily cut, drain, and "pluck" their bodies apart. In Wilde's fairy tales, a body without its physical boundaries also functions as a body without its affective boundaries. No longer does the disassembled body exist as a body, but rather as an ephemeral, potent, affective presence altering the emotional, psychological, and physiological states of those who look upon it, as well as those who have removed those original boundaries.