The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde: Volume XI Plays 4: Vera; or The Nihilist and Lady Windermere's Fan

ISBN : 9780198870296

Josephine M. Guy
608 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Jun 2021
Complete Works Oscar Wilde
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  • Presents the reconstructed performance texts for each play
  • The first edition to provide a full textual collation of all extant manuscripts, typescripts, and authoritative printed texts
  • Sheds new light on how each play was composed and then modified for staging, as well as the role of 'other hands' in these processes
  • The first study to identify the range of other Nihilist themed works in circulation in late 19th-century culture and to which Vera is compared
  • Provides a comprehensive description of the rules of contemporary etiquette upon which Lady Windermere's Fan relies

Volume IX in the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde brings together Wilde's first performed play, Vera; or, The Nihilist, and his first West End success, Lady Windermere's Fan. Two texts are provided for each play: a reconstruction of the first performance text of each work, based on marked-up scripts that were used during rehearsals, and which are collated in the Textual Notes with all other extant versions (including manuscripts, typescripts, and where relevant, authoritative acting editions); as well as, for Vera, a complete transcription of an early manuscript and manuscript fragment, and for Lady Windermere's Fan, a reproduction of the familiar 1893 Bodley Head 'reading text' of the play. Also provided are two lengthy Introductions to the plays describing the history of their composition, staging, reception and (where relevant) publication, and in which special attention is given to Wilde's relationships with the actor-managers who starred in and produced these works: Marie Prescott and George Alexander. Commentaries identify references, allusions, and possible source materials Wilde drew upon. A notable feature of the edition in this respect is the attention given to a range of contemporary Nihilist-themed works, fictional and non-fictional, to which Vera is compared, as well as to the intricate codes of contemporary etiquette, upon which much of the humour of Lady Windermere's Fan is reliant.

About the author: 

Josephine M. Guy is Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Nottingham. She has published widely on nineteenth-century literary and intellectual culture, including The British Avantgarde: The Theory and Politics of Tradition (1991), The Victorian Social Problem Novel (1996), (ed.) The Victorian Age (1998, 2001), (ed.) The Edinburgh Companion to Fin de Siècle Literature, Culture and the Arts (2018), and with Ian Small, The Routledge Concise History of Nineteenth-Century Literature (2011), The Textual Condition of Nineteenth-Century Literature (2012) and Politics and Value in English Studies (1993, 2009). She is also the co-author (with Ian Small) of two studies of Oscar Wilde: Oscar Wilde's Profession: Writing and Culture Industry in the Late Nineteenth Century (2000) and Studying Oscar Wilde (2006), as well as the editor of the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, Volume IV: Criticism (2007).

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