Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest

(2539 words)
  • Anne Markey (Dublin City University)

Generally regarded as Wilde’s finest play,The Importance of Being Ernest has proved perennially popular with audiences and provided a rich seam for critics concerned with various aspects of Wilde’s life and aesthetic philosophy. His friendship with Sir Alfred Douglas, whom he met in 1891, resulted in an increasingly lavish lifestyle that left him constantly short of money. In 1894, the playwright sent an outline of a new comedy to George Alexander, who had successfully staged Lady Windermere’s Fan at St James’s Theatre in 1892, requesting a fee of £150 and undertaking to have the proposed work completed by October (Holland and Hart-Davis, 2000: 595-7). The outline contains the seeds of the three-act play as it was …

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Markey, Anne. "The Importance of Being Earnest". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 July 2012
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=565, accessed 01 October 2016.]