In The Importance of Being Earnest, what is Wilde trying to say about writing and writers considering Prism's novel, Cecily and Gwendolyn's diaries, and the fact that Chasuble has written nothing?
It has always struck me as hilarious when Gwendolen tells Cecily, sitting primly in the garden during their passive-aggressive argument over Mr. Ernest Worthing, that she always travels with her diary because "One should always have something sensational to read in the train."
Furthermore, when Algernon first asks to see Cecily's diary, she refuses him, saying that:
it is simply a very young girl's record of her own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication.
She goes on to say that when it appears in print, she hopes that he will order a copy for himself.
It had not been long since the novel began to be considered anything other than trash. For quite a while, female novel writers and female novel readers were denigrated and derided by the critical establishment, and the proliferation of sensational novels in the 1860s and 1870s did the novel genre no favors.
In fact, these novels—which made frequent use of romantic and gothic tropes—offered little by way of...
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