Pen, Pencil and Poison
In Pen, Pencil and Poison, Wilde invents a fictional artist called Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, who is not only a talented artist but also a poisoner whose crimes are too numerous to record. But the two qualities in Wainewright are not compatible. Wilde put the two seemingly contradictory qualities upon one person. Through this arrangement, Wilde highlights his consistent artistic view: No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. Oscar Wilde is the most active advocator and also the earnest practitioner of aestheticism.
The protagonist, Wainewright is from Dublin, graduates from Oxford and start to dedicate himself to the cause of art at the age of 25. He is once the object people pursue and admire because of his artistic endowment. But he turns out to be a habitual poisoner, either to obtain property or in retaliation. At last his criminal is disclosed. From this essay, we can see that Oscar Wilde is the most active advocator and also the earnest practitioner of aestheticism.
It has constantly been made a subject of reproach against artists and men of letters that they are lacking in wholeness and completeness of nature.As a rule this must necessarily be so.That very concentration of vision and intensity of purpose which is the characteristic of the artistic temperament is in itself a mode of limitation.To those who are preoccupied with the beauty of form nothing else seems of much importance.They have passed into the sphere of art and science, and neither art nor science knows anything of moral approval or disapproval.
He is the hero of Dickens’s HUNTED DOWN, the Varney of Bulwer’s LUCRETIA; and it is gratifying to note that fiction has paid some homage to one who was so powerful with ‘pen, pencil and poison.’
"In short, there is material aplenty here for the average reader and considerable matter for the specialist."
Pen, Pencil and Poison—A Study in Green