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Analysis of Oscar Wildes The Picture of Dorian Gray or The Importance of Being Earnest - Research Paper Example

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Annotated Bibliography Triviality and Expectation in The Importance of Being Earnest Archer, William. “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Oscar Wilde: The Critical Heritage. Ed. Karl Beckson. London: Taylor & Francis E-Library, 1974. pp. 217-218. Web. A contemporary review of Earnest calls it “barren and delusive”, claiming that although it is beautifully written and fun to watch, it is completely devoid of meaning…
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Analysis of Oscar Wildes The Picture of Dorian Gray or The Importance of Being Earnest
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Download file to see previous pages Web. A modern review of Lady Bracknell includes interviews with women and men who have played the most formidable character in Earnest. I will use this article to show how Earnest has accumulated meaning over time. Gagnier, Regenia. Idylls of the Marketplace: Oscar Wilde and the Victorian Public. Stanford: University Press Stanford, 1986. Print. This book talks about the 'truth' of Earnest, which will add a different angle to my discussion of expectations both internal and external to the play. It also talks about the popular reaction to Wilde's downfall, shortly after the play opened, which will be of use as my paper will examine not only Earnest but also its playwright. Gillespie, Michael Patrick. Oscar Wilde and the Poetics of Ambiguity. Gainesville: University Press Florida, 1996. Print. Gillespie's book talks about Earnest in terms of expectations: contemporary expectations of Wilde, of young men, and of the play genre. This is something I would like to investigate further, and with this book's help I will show how studied triviality and Wilde's reputation interacted with expectation in Earnest. Kohl, Norbert. Oscar Wilde: The Works of a Conformist Rebel. Trans. David Henry Wilson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Print. The chapter on Earnest begins by declaring that before its first opening, audiences expected that Wilde's new play “would offer the very opposite of what was promised by the stolid-sounding title”. I find this interplay between title, content and expectation very interesting – with Earnest, was Wilde subverting expectations or living up to them? Prewitt Brown, Julia. Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde's Philosophy of Art. Virginia: Virginia University Press, 1997. Print. Prewitt Brown argues that Earnest “reflects the national myth of the century”, that an orphan can achieve great things in spite of uncertain origins. I will use her examples to ask whether Earnest was at all trivial, or if Wilde's calculated superficiality is little more than a veneer. Sweet, Matthew. Inventing the Victorians. London: Faber & Faber, 2002. Print. Sweet's book offers a comprehensive new look at the Victorian era, and is very useful for subverting our expectations of Wilde's time. I will use this book to help create the background for my paper, placing us in Wilde's world rather than a modern misconception of Victorian Britain. Taylor, George. Players and Performances in the Victorian Theatre. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989. Print. In this book George Taylor looks at Victorian drama as a whole, examining how actors felt about their art. I hope to use this as a standard of expectation and seriousness by which to compare Earnest. Expectations of, and Undermined Triviality in, The Importance of Being Earnest The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde's last play and penultimate piece of literature before his untimely death in 1900, is pivotal in the life of its playwright because it was first performed in 1895, just a few short months before Wilde was sentenced to two years' hard labor in prison for his homosexual liaisons. The play is part of Wilde's carefully cultivated persona as a dandy, creating a tone of studied triviality which was lapped up by an audience “engaged in a continuous search for bigger and better thrills” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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