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Lady Windermere's Fan, A Play About a Good Woman is a four-act comedy by Oscar Wilde, first produced 22 February 1892 at the St James's Theatre in London. The play was first published in 1893. Like many of Wilde's comedies, it bitingly satirizes the morals of society.The story concerns Lady Windermere, who suspects that her husband is having an affair with another woman. She confronts him with it but although he denies it, he invites the other woman, Mrs Erlynne, to his wife's birthday ball. Angered by her husband's supposed unfaithfulness, Lady Windermere decides to leave her husband for another lover. After discovering what has transpired, Mrs Erlynne follows Lady Windermere and attempts to persuade her to return to her husband and in the course of this, Mrs Erlynne is discovered in a compromising position. It is then revealed Mrs Erlynne is Lady Windermere's mother, who abandoned her family twenty years before the time the play is set. Mrs Erlynne sacrifices herself and her reputation to save her daughter's marriage. The best known line of the play sums up the central theme.
Seminar paper from the year 2003 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2 (B), University of Tubingen (English Philology), course: Proseminar I: Introduction to Drama, 4 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Today almost everything is accepted in modern society. It does not matter if a person is homosexual, bisexual or transsexual. Further, everyone can do even almost everything that pleases him. So, a lot of men “try” women –the more, the more they are famous, rich or successful. And even today’s women have broken free from their traditional tasks: raising a family, staying at home and doing the cooking. Instead, it is fashion to live a man’s life: going to parties, having a lot of affairs and neglecting the morals. Today’s women are as bad as their masculine fellow men. And even they have become worse- if you want to believe in what the older generation says about our youth. Maybe, this is true. If you compare it to the Victorian Age, so much seems to have changed. Thinking of Oscar Wilde, you will soon realise that he could have lived a much easier life in today’s world. He was an “enfant terrible” of his time. Not only that his artistic and theatrical views did not fit into society at all, but it were especially his sexual preferences that caused his main problems. In contrast to the latest tendency of acceptance for homosexuality, it was a real crime about the year 1900 and so he had to spend a certain time in prison. “The double life that it entailed was by no means a simple matter of deceit and guilt for Wilde: it suited the cultivation of moral independence and detachment from society that he considered essential to art.” 1(Small:1999,xiv/xv). With his behaviour he offended the leaders, institutions and press of his Philistine country. Yet, he always tried to be accepted by Society, but his attempts were mostly answered with exclusion.As Wilde lived for art, his works are a mirror of his own disappointment and frustration about the contemporary value system. So it is certainly very interesting to examine his play Lady Windermere’s Fan in regard to social and moral views. 1 Ian Small, “Introduction,” Ian Small (ed.), Lady Windermere’s Fan. A Play About a Good Woman (London: New Mermaids,1999) xiv/xv.
This series presents students with a library of outstanding plays, many of which are otherwise unobtainable, or available only in out-of-date or unannotated editions. The texts are newly edited, with modernized spelling and punctuation where appropriate; and there are scholarly introductions and annotation. Oscar Wilde was already one of the best-known literary figures in Britain when he was persuaded to turn his extraordinary talents to the theatre. Between 1891 and 1895 he produced a sequence of distinctive plays which spearheaded the dramatic renaissance of the 1890s, and retain their power today. The social comedies, Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, and An Ideal Husband, offer a moving as well as witty dissection of society and its morals, with a sharp focus on sexual politics. By contrast, the experimental, symbolist Salome, written originally in French, was banned for public performance by the English censor. Wilde's final dramatic triumph was his 'trivial' comedy for serious people, The Importance of Being Earnest, arguably the greatest farcical comedy in English.
A universal favorite, The Importance of Being Earnest displays Oscar Wilde's theatrical genius at its brilliant best. Subtitled "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People", this hilarious attack on Victorian manners and morals turns a pompous world on its head, lets duplicity lead to happiness, and makes riposte the highest form of art. Also included in this special collection are Wilde's first comedy success, Lady Windermere's Fan, and his richly sensual melodrama, Salome.

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