Oscar Wilde's 1891 symbolist tragedy Salome has had a rich afterlife in literature, opera, dance, film, and popular culture. Salome's Modernity: Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetics of Transgression is the first comprehensive scholarly exploration of that extraordinary resonance that persists to the present. Petra Dierkes-Thrun positions Wilde as a founding figure of modernism and Salome as a key text in modern culture's preoccupation with erotic and aesthetic transgression, arguing that Wilde's Salome marks a major turning point from a dominant traditional cultural, moral, and religious outlook to a utopian aesthetic of erotic and artistic transgression. Wilde and Salome are seen to represent a bridge linking the philosophical and artistic projects of writers such as Mallarme, Pater, and Nietzsche to modernist and postmodernist literature and philosophy and our contemporary culture. Dierkes-Thrun addresses subsequent representations of Salome in a wide range of artistic productions of both high and popular culture through the works of Richard Strauss, Maud Allan, Alla Nazimova, Ken Russell, Suri Krishnamma, Robert Altman, Tom Robbins, and Nick Cave, among others.
Petra Dierkes-Thrun is Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford University and editor in chief of The Latchkey: Journal of New Woman Studies, a scholarly online journal dedicated to the figure of the New Woman in fin de siecle and modernist society and culture.