Acting Wilde: Victorian Sexuality, Theatre, and Oscar Wilde

Overview

Oscar Wilde famously wrote. Acting Wilde demonstrates that Wilde's plays, fiction, and critical theory are organized by the idea that all so-called "reality" is a mode of performance, and that the "meanings" of life are really the scripted elements of a dramatic spectacle. Wilde's real issue was whether one could become the author of his own script, the creator of the character and role he inhabits. It was a question he struggled to answer from the beginning of his career to the end, whether in his position as ...

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Overview

Oscar Wilde famously wrote. Acting Wilde demonstrates that Wilde's plays, fiction, and critical theory are organized by the idea that all so-called "reality" is a mode of performance, and that the "meanings" of life are really the scripted elements of a dramatic spectacle. Wilde's real issue was whether one could become the author of his own script, the creator of the character and role he inhabits. It was a question he struggled to answer from the beginning of his career to the end, whether in his position as the pre-eminent dramatist in English or as the beleaguered defendant on trail for "gross indecency". Introducing important new evidence form Wilde's career launching tour of America, the often tortured revisions of his plays, and the recently discovered written record of his first courtroom trial, this book reconstructs Wilde's strategic dramatizing of himself.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"the distinguished critic of late nineteenth-century theater, Kerry Powell, presents a revisionary reading of Wilde's career...Powell's readings of the plays as involving accommodations differ from those of Sos Eltis, who argues compellingly, also based on the playwright's revisions, for Wilde's politically liberated views... Those who understand the plays in that liberatory way will find a whetstone in Powell's strong-minded, suggestive readings."
-John Paul Riquelme, Boston University, Modern Drama Spring 2011
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521283380
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/16/2011
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kerry Powell is Professor and Chair of English at Miami University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Acknowledgements x

Introduction: Acting Wilde 1

1 Posing and dis-posing: Oscar Wilde in America and beyond 14

2 Pure Wilde: feminism and masculinity in Lady Windermer's Fan, Salomé, and A Woman of No Importance 41

3 Performance anxiety in An Ideal Husband 76

4 Performativity and history: Oscar Wilde and The Importance of Being Earnest 101

5 The "lost" transcript, sexual acting, and the meaning of Wilde's trials 123

6 Prison performativity 160

Epilogue: Wile and modern drama 169

Notes 175

Bibliography 195

Index 202

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