Acting Wilde: Victorian Sexuality, Theatre, and Oscar Wilde

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'I love acting - it is so much more real than life,' Oscar Wilde famously wrote. Acting Wilde demonstrates that Wilde's plays, fiction, and critical theory are organised by the idea that all so-called 'reality' is a mode of performance, and that the 'meanings' of life are really the scripted elements of a dramatic spectacle. Wilde's real issue was whether one could become the author of his own script, the creator of the character and role he inhabits. It was a question he struggled to answer from the beginning of his career to the end, whether in his position as the pre-eminent dramatist in English or as the beleaguered defendant on trial for 'gross indecency'. Introducing important evidence from Wilde's career-launching tour of America, the often tortured revisions of his plays, and the recently discovered written record of his first courtroom trial, this book reconstructs Wilde's strategic dramatising of himself.