"I want to be a pop idol". Oscar Wilde between parody and glam re-invention in Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine

Keywords: Wilde, glam, Bowie, parody, pop


The present essay analyses Velvet Goldmine a 1998 film directed by Todd Haynes, in order to investigate how the American director points to the relevance of glam (emerged in Great Britain at the beginning of the Seventies) within contemporary culture, focusing on one of its most relevant aspects, that is the parodic subversion  of the normative idea of masculinity which was dominant in the previous decades. Glamsters – that is, such artists as Bolan, Bowie, Roxy Music and Glitter – were able, using such visual signs as make-up and glitter dresses, to construct (on stage) a hybrid gender identity, which sharply contrasted with the normative masculinity of many 1960s musicians. Employing a methodological approach in which cultural studies, literary studies and neo-musicology  speak to each other, the present analysis establishes a strong connection between Oscar Wilde and glam culture – a relationship established by Haynes himself in the very first scenes of the film – which nevertheless the present essays defines in a more specific way, considering the film as a whole as a glam parody and refashioning of Wilde's epopee, one  in which Wilde's images and aphorisms seem to question with their complexity and their desecrating value the present age. 


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Author Biography

Pierpaolo Martino, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro

Ricercatore di Letteratura Inglese

Dipartimento di Lettere Lingue Arti. Italianistica e Culture Comparate 


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How to Cite
Martino, P. (2017). "I want to be a pop idol". Oscar Wilde between parody and glam re-invention in Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine. Between, 6(12). https://doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/2207
Sometimes they come loose. Parody and satire through the codes