(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)
Introduction by Terry Eagleton
Oscar Wilde has been acknowledged as the wittiest writer in the English language. This collection proves that he was also one of the most versatile. Effortlessly achieved, each revealing a different aspect of his brilliance, all of the plays, prose writings, and poems gathered here support Wilde’s belief that entertainment provides the best kind of edification. The works gathered here include Wilde’s once-controversial and now classic novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the rioutously (sic) comic plays “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” and the famous poem he wrote after being released from prison, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol.” This expanded new edition now includes the complete version of Wilde’s moving letter from prison, De Profundis, and his teasing parable about Shakespeare, The Portrait of Mr. W. H. Other notable included writings are the semi-comic mystery story “Lord Arthur’s Savile’s Crime” and the essay The Soul of Man Under Socialism.
About the Author
Oscar Wilde was born on October 16, 1854, to the Irish nationalist and writer Speranza Wilde and the doctor William Wilde. After graduating from Oxford in 1878, Wilde moved to London, where he became notorious for his sharp wit and flamboyant style of dress.
Though he was publishing plays and poems throughout the 1880s, it wasn t until the late 1880s and early 1890s that his work started to be received positively. In 1895, Oscar Wilde was tried for homosexuality and was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. Tragically, this downfall came at the height of his career, as his plays, An Ideal Husband "and The Importance of Being Earnest, "were playing to full houses in London. He was greatly weakened by the privations of prison life, and moved to Paris after his sentence. Wilde died in a hotel room, either of syphilis or complications from ear surgery, in Paris, on November 30, 1900.
Terry Eagleton is Wharton Professor of English Literature at St. Catherine's College, Oxford. One of the world's leading literary critics, his many academic books include "Literary Theory: An Introduction". He is also author of the play "Saint Oscar" and the novel "Saints and Scholars", along with two widely acclaimed studies of Ireland, "Heathcliffe and the Great Hunger" and "Crazy John and the Bishop".