This is a short, readable introduction to Oscar Wilde's life, work and afterlife. Oscar Wilde's reputation has shifted dramatically during the twentieth century from outcast in the wake of his trials for homosexual offences, to martyr to the gay cause in the 1980s and 90s, to important figure in the history of writing in English. Ruth Robbins introduces Wilde through a focus on his manipulations of genre and sets Wilde's life and work in its literary and cultural context, including the history of Victorian drama; the contexts of criticism in the period; poetry as post-romantic and pre-modernist mode of expression; the uses and subversions of fictional forms in his work; and his subversion of the autobiographical mode in his prison letter "De Profundis". This comprehensive and readable introduction offers readers and students a lively and informative guide to Wilde's significance in the context of his own time and his extensive afterlife in literature, criticism and popular culture. It offers concise, accessible introductions to major writers focusing equally on their life and works.
Written in a lively style to appeal to both students and readers, books in the series are ideal guides to authors and their writing.
Ruth Robbins is Associate Dean and Head of the School of Cultural Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. She has published widely on the late nineteenth century in general and on Oscar Wilde in particular.
1. Introduction: Celebrity Wilde; 2. Poet, Poseur, Plagiarist: Allusion and Sincerity in Wilde's Poetry; 3. Short Fiction: Homage and Parody in Wilde's Short Stories; 4. Trials of Wit: Wilde's Essays; 5. Closets and Pictures: Disguise and Display in Dorian Gray and 'The Portrait of Mr W. H.'; 6. Well-Made and Un-Made Plays: Wilde's Theatre; 9. Out of the Depths: Wilde, De Profundis, Autobiography and Afterlife; Chronology of Wilde's Life and Times; Glossary of Keywords; Bibliography of Works Cited; Index.