Skip to content
Open global navigation

Cambridge University Press

AcademicLocation selectorSearch toggleMain navigation toggle

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside Acting Wilde

Acting Wilde
Victorian Sexuality, Theatre, and Oscar Wilde

$109.99 (Z)

  • Date Published: November 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521516921

$109.99 (Z)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • 'I love acting - it is so much more real than life,' Oscar Wilde famously wrote. Acting Wilde demonstrates that Wilde's plays, fiction, and critical theory are organised 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 trial for 'gross indecency'. Introducing important evidence from 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 dramatising of himself.

    • Was the first book to present the fascinating evidence of the transcript of Wilde's courtroom trial
    • Places Wilde's revolutionary attitudes within the context of late-Victorian developments in the understanding of gender and sexuality
    • Extensive study available of Wilde's sexuality, life-experience, and playwriting in relation to contemporary theories of performance
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "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

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521516921
    • length: 216 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Acting Wilde
    1. Posing and dis-posing: Oscar Wilde in America and beyond
    2. Pure Wilde: feminism and masculinity in Lady Windermere's Fan, Salomé, and A Woman of No Importance
    3. Performance anxiety in An Ideal Husband
    4. Performativity and history: The Importance of Being Earnest
    5. The 'lost' transcript, sexual acting, and the meaning of Wilde's trials
    6. Prison performativity
    Epilogue: Wilde and modern drama
    Bibliography of manuscripts and printed sources.

  • Author

    Kerry Powell, Miami University

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website, your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Back to top

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.

Cancel Delete

Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.