What exact year did "Lady Windermere's Fan" take place?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oscar Wilde's first play, Lady Windermere's fan: A play about a good woman was first staged in London's St. James's theatre in the year 1892. It was published in 1893, and it would be 1 out of 4 major plays produced during a time which is considered to be Wilde's "period of complete success", which ended sadly with Wilde's arrest for gross indecency in 1895.

Lady Windermere's fan tells the story about a 21 year-old young wife who receives, as a birthday gift, a fancy fan from her husband. However, there are rumors that her husband is spending his money on a Mrs. Erlynne who, in the end, is discovered to be a libertine woman, a stalker, a blackmailer and also...Lady Windermere's real mother.

It is interesting to point out the theme of the play because,compared to his other plays, this one is Wilde's least universal. What this means is that the theme of Lady Windermere's fan is somewhat old-fashioned when compared to the flexible themes present in The importance of being Earnest, for example. The enormous changes that Wilde experienced during the early and mid 1890's made him a better writer with each play. Therefore, we can conclude that Lady Windermere's fan was a kind of "experiment" in comedy of manners for Wilde. Certainly one experiment that worked very well for his writing style.