With an Introduction and Notes by Anne Varty, Royal Holloway, University of London.
Oscar Wilde took London by storm with his first comedy, Lady Windermere's Fan. The combination of dazzling wit, subtle social criticism, sumptuous settings and the theme of a guilty secret proved a winner, both here and in his next three plays, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, and his undisputed masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest.
This volume includes all Wilde's plays from his early tragedy Vera to the controversial Salome and the little known fragments, La Sainte Courtisane and A Florentine Tragedy. The edition affords a rare chance to see Wilde's best known work in the context of his entire dramatic output, and to appreciate plays which have hitherto received scant critical attention. Wilde’s plays have never failed to delight audiences and are a lasting testimony to their author’s supreme wit and theatrical genius.
About the Author
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 - 30 November 1900) was an Irish author, playwright and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays, as well as the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. Wilde's parents were successful Anglo-Irish Dublin intellectuals. Their son became fluent in French and German early in life. At university, Wilde read Greats; he proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. He became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles. As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new "English Renaissance in Art," and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversation, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day.
ANNE VARTY is Senior Lecturer in English at Royal Holloway, University of London.