2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An explosion of wit,
This review is from: The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays Lady Windermere's Fan; Salome; A Woman of No Importance; An Ideal Husband; The Importance of Being Earnest (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Wilde was a great victorian character, like Dickens or Queen Victoria herself. While Wilde touched a variety of genres (mistery, poetry, epigrams, essays, short tales...) his theatrical production is perhaps the apex of Wilde's genious. His plays are a mixture of clever languaje, asteticism witticism, social satire and intellectual challenge.
Wilde was a gifted writer, and it is a wonder that in such a short time he could write so much, so varied and so well. But in these, his theatre pieces, you can get a feeling of this sense of language, his clever timing of action, displays of feeling and cunning structure. All the pieces make a clever puzzle. Besides, when you read all his plays, one after the other, you can have an overall view of his evolution and developement as a creator. True, he wrote about a social set he knew well, about everyday situations that may never come bacK, but this doesn't diminish his modernity, his witticism.
Of course, "Earnest" is considered his greatest work, and has even spawned characters of its own (like Mr Bunbury), but all the plays have at least one very good idea, and one memorable moment. Perhaps Salome, so tragic (and also chronologically later work) should be placed in a different position in the book, but then some of this plays have a drop of melancholy thrown in. Wilde also used comedy to portrait a society where he didn't fit completely well, and that is easily seen.
A memorable read for the clever reader.