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.
About the Author
Oscar Wilde was a Victorian-era British author and playwright. In his youth, Wilde became attached to the Aesthetic Movement, which emphasized the appreciation of the aesthetic value of cultural creations above social or political purposes, and this philosophy influenced his work throughout his career. The themes of art and beauty are particularly present in his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, , and in his two most popular dramatic works, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest. A quarrel with the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred, resulted in Wilde's arrest and imprisonment for gross indecency. Wilde died in 1900, penniless and in exile, as a result of cerebral meningitis contracted while in prison.
ANNE VARTY is Senior Lecturer in English at Royal Holloway, University of London.