Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 196
The Importance of Being Earnest (1895; first published, 1899) was the last of Wilde’s four stage comedies and is generally regarded as his masterpiece. It sparkles with that unique Wildean wit. Wilde’s aim in writing it was to treat the trivial things in life seriously and the serious things with triviality.
Writing an essay?
Get a custom outline
Our Essay Lab can help you tackle any essay assignment within seconds, whether you’re studying Macbeth or the American Revolution. Try it today!
Richard Ellmann’s biography Oscar Wilde (1987) is indispensable for the study of Wilde’s life. Ellmann presents Wilde as the tragic hero of his own life.
Dorian: [An Imitation] (2004), by British novelist Will Self, is a retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray set in the last two decades of the twentieth century. All the same characters appear. Henry Wotton is a gay heroin addict, “Baz” Hallward is a video artist, and the narcissistic Dorian Gray is a seducer of both men and women. By 1997, all three are HIVpositive, but Dorian shows no sign of illness.
Oscar Wilde: Myths, Miracles and Imitations (1996), by John Stokes, shows how Wilde played a vital part in the development of modern culture. Stokes examines diaries, letters, dramatizations of Wilde’s plays, and impersonations of the man himself, and discusses Wilde’s relationship to fin-de-siècle and twentieth century ideas.