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Salome (Illustrated with Notes)
     

Salome (Illustrated with Notes)

5.0 2
by Oscar Wilde
 

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Salome (or in French: Salomé) is a tragedy by Oscar Wilde. The original 1891 version of the play was in French. Three years later an English translation was published. The play tells in one act the Biblical story of Salome, stepdaughter of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, who, to her stepfather's dismay but to the delight of her mother Herodias, requests the head of

Overview

Salome (or in French: Salomé) is a tragedy by Oscar Wilde. The original 1891 version of the play was in French. Three years later an English translation was published. The play tells in one act the Biblical story of Salome, stepdaughter of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, who, to her stepfather's dismay but to the delight of her mother Herodias, requests the head of Jokanaan (John the Baptist) on a silver platter as a reward for dancing the dance of the seven veils.

Rehearsals for the play's debut on the London stage began in 1892, but were halted when the Lord Chamberlain's licensor of plays banned Salomé on the basis that it was illegal to depict Biblical characters on the stage. The play was first published in French in 1893, and an English translation, with illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley, in 1894. On the Dedication page, Wilde indicated that his lover Lord Alfred Douglas was the translator. In fact, Wilde and Douglas had quarrelled over the latter's translation of the text which had been nothing short of disastrous given his poor mastery of French — though Douglas claimed that the errors were really in Wilde's original play. Beardsley and the publisher John Lane got drawn in when they sided with Wilde. In a gesture of reconciliation, Wilde did the work himself but dedicated Douglas as the translator rather than having them sharing their names on the title-page. Douglas compared a dedication to sharing the title-page as "the difference between a tribute of admiration from an artist and a receipt from a tradesman."

The play was eventually premiered on February 11, 1896, while Wilde was in prison, in Paris at the Comédie-Parisienne in a staging by Aurélien Lugné-Poë's theatre group, the Théâtre de l'Œuvre. In Pall Mall Gazette of June 29, 1892 Wilde explained, why he had written Salomé in French: "I have one instrument that I know I can command, and that is the English language. There was another instrument to which I had listened all my life, and I wanted once to touch this new instrument to see whether I could make any beautiful thing out of it. [...] Of course, there are modes of expression that a Frenchman of letters would not have used, but they give a certain relief or color to the play. A great deal of the curious effect that Maeterlinck produces comes from the fact that he, a Flamand by grace, writes in an alien language. The same thing is true of Rossetti, who, though he wrote in English, was essentially Latin in temperament."

A performance of the play was arranged by the New Stage Club at the Bijou Theatre in Archer Street, London, on 10 and 13 May 1905, starring Millicent Murby as Salome and directed by Florence Farr. In June 1906 the play was presented privately with A Florentine Tragedy by the Literary Theatre Society at King's Hall, Covent Garden. The Lord Chamberlain's ban was not lifted for almost forty years; the first public performance of Salomé in England was at the Savoy Theatre on October 5, 1931.

In 1992 the play was performed on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre, under the direction of Robert Allan Ackerman. Sheryl Lee starred as the title role alongside Al Pacino. The play costarred Suzanne Bertish, Esai Morales and Arnold Vosloo.

Many view Wilde's Salomé as a superb composite of earlier treatments of the theme overlaid with Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck's characteristic methodical diction. Although the "kissing of the head" element was used in Heine and even Heywood's production, Wilde's ingenuity was to move it to the play's climax. While his debts are undeniable, there are some interesting contributions in Wilde's treatment, most notably being his persistent use of parallels between Salomé and the moon.

Scholars like Nassaar point out that Wilde employs a number of images favored by Israel's kingly poets, and the moon is meant to suggest the pagan goddess Cybele, who, like Salomé, was obsessed with preserving her virginity and thus took pleasure in destroying male sexuality.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940015704839
Publisher:
Balefire Publishing
Publication date:
09/15/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
140
Sales rank:
297,427
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer 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 and plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment which was followed by his early death.

Wilde's parents were successful 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 of America 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 had become one of the most well-known personalities of his day.

At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, prosecuted for libel, a charge carrying a penalty of up to two years in prison. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years' hard labour. In prison he wrote De Profundis (written in 1897, a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
October 16, 1854
Date of Death:
November 30, 1900
Place of Birth:
Dublin, Ireland
Place of Death:
Paris, France
Education:
The Royal School in Enniskillen, Dublin, 1864; Trinity College, Dublin, 1871; Magdalen College, Oxford, England, 1874

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Salome 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Pandaocalypse More than 1 year ago
This story is very short and can be read easily. The characters are well written and within a few moments you can see how twisted and odd every character in the story is. I will not spoil this good read for anyone by stating how insane people are in the play, but I will say that once you start it, you wont want to put it down and at the very end you'll wish it were longer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago