“The final revelation is that Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art” (Wilde 496).
When we describe top-tier literature we describe it as art. It is always an artfully crafted masterpiece if the work truly stands the test of time. But to say that the aim of top-tier literature is to lie is abominable. Sure fiction can be construed as made up, but we embark on the journey fully knowing this fact. Even the act of imagining the story play out is a bit of a sham. None of it exists, and yet it does because the work moves you, inspires you, it asks you to think. And it is through this thought process that the true artistry takes place. Vivian can call the aim of art a lie all he likes, and he can even say that the art of lying is decaying because it is now so visibly fiction, but there is something to be said about when you emerge from the depths of a newly finished book. You emerge as a new person.
Wilde, Oscar. “The Decay of Lying: An Observation.” The Critical Tradition. Ed. David Richter. New York: Bedford/St. Martin, 2007. 496. Print.