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The Theatre of Oscar Wilde

Les Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens, issue 72 (October 2010)

Deadline for proposals 30 March 2009

Oscar Wilde has become a legend: an outstanding and witty dandy who was a real success
in society dinners, but also a man whose image is tainted by scandal and provocation. The
recent publication of several biographies, among which Richard Ellmann's is seen as a
reference, as well as letters and the detailed account of his trial by his grandson Merlin
Holland (A life in Letters, 2003 and The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde, 2003), all seem to
indicate a desire for historical truth to be eventually revealed in a world now freed from
homophobia. But once more, the analyses shed light on a character, a man and the role he
created for himself. They do not offer a thorough analysis of his work. Actually one of the
numerous aphorisms which Oscar Wilde is famous for, according to which life imitates
art, and which he developed in his dramatic monologue De Profundis must not
overshadow the primary importance of his literary and artistic creation.
This issue of the Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens devoted to Oscar Wilde's theatre aims
at a return to the stylistic analysis of his plays, which were too often dismissed as trivial
and considered as light entertainment for the higher classes of Victorian society. We will
try to show how rich and creative his writing is, combining light comedy and poetic
drama. Moreover, as a milestone and authoritative work of lasting significance, Wilde's
theatre is very often performed today: how can one explain that plays so deeply-rooted in
the Victorian era, representing outdated social and moral values, are still arousing the
interest of stage directors and gathering a faithful audience? We will thus study how stage
directors adapt his plays to find a new public. As a playwright, but also as a stage director
of his own public and private life and as a performer of a variety of roles, Oscar Wilde is
above all a man of the theatre. This issue of the Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens will
thus try to avoid a mere biographical point of view to put his theatrical creation itself in
the frontstage.
Articles submitted for consideration. Length: 30 to 40,000 characters (6000 to 7000
words). Two hard-copies of the article should be sent along with the e-mail copy to
Marianne Drugeon. M.L.A.
Style Sheet Specifications; Rich Text Format (RTF). Use footnotes, not endnotes.
Illustrations are welcome bu the author is responsible for obtaining all necessary
copyright permissions before publication. The bibliography should come at the end of the
A CV and an abstract in English (no more than 300 words) should be sent by 30th March
2009 to Marianne Drugeon, special editor of this issue.
For more details and to send your submission, please contact: <Marianne.drugeon@univ->.
Société Française d’Etudes Victoriennes et Edouardiennes:
(posted 3 Nov '08)