Eyes that trace like fingers: Keats, Wilde, and Victorian statue-love

Patricia Elizabeth Pulham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Statue-love, variously described as Pygmalionism, statuephilia, algamatophilia and, more recently, objectum sexuality, has a long and varied history. While Pygmalion’s statue is animated by his touch, other myths collected by classical mythographers show that the inanimate statue is equally capable of stimulating an erotic fantasy of animation centred in the viewer’s senses. This essay considers Wilde’s poem, ‘Charmides’ (1881) in relation to his love of Keats and argues that, in this poem, touch and vision function as expressions of Wilde’s desire for physical and artistic communion with Keats – both man and poetry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)129-149
Number of pages21
JournalLa questione Romantica
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Wilde
  • Keats
  • statuphilia
  • Romanticism
  • Victorian poetry


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