Realistic Concern in the Importance of Being Earnest

Topics: Victorian era, Oscar Wilde, Victoria of the United Kingdom Pages: 22 (6838 words) Published: July 2, 2013
|Realistic Concern in The Importance of Being Earnest | | | |外国语言文学院 张源 | |指导教师 张琼 | | | |Abstract: Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde is a world-renowned master of aestheticism, whose masterpiece The Importance | |of Being Earnest was regarded as a great success in the field of aestheticism. From my point of view, in this work, Wilde not | |only explains his philosophy of aestheticism: art is above life, but also shows his critically realistic concern for the | |Victorian British society. | |The main method of this research is textual analysis. Chapter One shall give a brief introduction for the theoretical study | |while Chapter Two and Chapter Three will focus on the textual study of twelve examples in The Importance of Being Earnest. | |Finally a conclusion will be drawn. | |Keyword:realism aestheticism beauty amoral | | | |Introduction | |Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) is a renowned Irish playwright, novelist and poet, who is famous for his masterpieces including The | |Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance and An Ideal Husband, and so on. The Importance | |of Being Earnest debuted on February 14, 1895 at the St. James' Theatre in London and became an instant hit in England, | |running for eighty-six performances. The play has remained its popularity ever since, vying with Wilde’s 1890 novel The | |Portrait of Dorian Gray as his most recognized work. The play proves vexing to critics, though, for it resists categorization,| |seeming to some merely a flimsy plot which serves as an excuse for Wilde’s witty epigrams. To others it is a “penetratingly | |humorous and insightful social comedy”[1]. In 2002, a namesake movie adaptation was launched in the United States and was | |again warmly welcomed by the audience. | |As a drama favored by the readers and audience, The Importance of Being Earnest has covered almost every aspect of the English| |society in Victorian age, such as lovers and partners, relatives and brothers, hosts and servants, men and women, old virgin | |and idling priest, so on and so forth. Owing to Wilde’s reputation, this masterpiece has received various comments. There are | |many hot discussions on the sexuality, language, the aesthetic elements and the dandyism of the character, etc. Some critics | |speak highly of the work while others express their doubts. | |The Importance of Being Earnest, is generally a drama about the idle life of two young brothers living in the country and the | |town respectively. The story is filled with humor and satire, thus offering its readers and audience a laughable view of the | |hypocrisy in the English upper-class society of the Victoria age. While having enjoyed high renown in the bourgeois society, | |this...

Cited: |Becher-Leckrone, Megan. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900): Aesthetics and Criticism. |
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|Beckson, Karl. Oscar Wilde:The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970 |
|Bishop, Carol
[2] Karl Beckson. A Critical Heritage, 1970
[3] Sarah Wallace
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