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Acting Wilde
Victorian Sexuality, Theatre, and Oscar Wilde

  • Date Published: June 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521283380

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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
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… Powell's book is distinctive for its historicizing approach and its well-informed reliance on pre-publication materials …' Modern Drama

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521283380
    • length: 216 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.3kg
    • 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

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