reading 'The Truth of Masks' astonished me. Wilde takes side with 'archaeological' accuracy in plays thus emphasises the value of realism: "[the archaeological research] has the illusion of truth for its method, and the illusion of beauty for its result."
This notion is against all I have read so far by Wilde. This very contradiction is foiled in the last passage: "Not that I agree with everything that I have said in this essay. There is much with which I entirely disagree. The essay simply represents an artistic standpoint, and in aesthetic criticism attitude is everything. For in art there is no such thing as a universal truth. A Truth in art is that whose contradictory is also true. And just as it is only in art-criticism, and through it, that we can apprehend the Platonic theory of ideas, so it is only in art-criticism, and through it, that we can realise Hegel's system of contraries. The truths of metaphysics are the truths of masks."
Now, I assume the whole essay is just a presentation of Wilde's (or Art's) crucial urge: to achieve beauty of form. I mean, the essay is - why am I not surprised? - very well written. And further, that the 'Truth' in his very discussion is to be put into perspective as to depict the relativity of Truth in Art: 'The truths of metaphysics are the truths of masks.'
If anyone can give me a hint, I would really appreciate! Thanks, Chrigi