Oscar Wilde: Between Gossip and Fashion
“Gossip is charming! History is merely gossip. But scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.”
“And, after all, what is a fashion? From the artistic point of view, it is usually a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months”
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish essayist, novelist, playwright and poet.
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
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.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.
The play was first published in 1893. Like many of Wilde’s comedies, it bitingly satirizes the morals of Victorian society, particularly marriage.
The story concerns Lady Windermere, who discovers that her husband may be having an affair with another woman.
“Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.”
The premiere at the St James’s Theatre was followed by a notorious speech given by Wilde. When Wilde answered the calls of “Author!” and appeared before the curtains after the third act, critics were more offended by the cigarette in his hand than his egoistic speech:
“Ladies and Gentlemen. I have enjoyed this evening immensely. The actors have given us a charming rendition of a delightful play, and your appreciation has been most intelligent. I congratulate you on the great success of your performance, which persuades me that you think almost as highly of the play as I do myself.”
The play’s Broadway première on 5 February 1893 at Palmer’s Theatre was also the first Broadway performance for stage and screen actress Julia Arthur, who played Lady Windermere.
Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes
My experience is that as soon as people are old enough to know better, they don’t know anything at all.
In 1925 silent film, Lady Windermere’s Fan, which stars Ronald Colman, May McAvoy, Bert Lytell, Irene Rich and Edward Martindel. It was adapted by Julien Josephson and directed by Ernst Lubitsch. In 2002, the 1925 version was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
In 1949, Otto Preminger directed an adaptation entitled The Fan starring Jeanne Crain, Madeleine Carroll, and George Sanders.
“The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.”