Seminar paper by Professor Josephine Guy, February 25th 2013

On Monday February 25th 2013, Professor Josephine Guy (University of Nottingham) gave a paper entitled:

The Textual Condition of Oscar Wilde’s Society Comedies: Re-Reading C19 Play-texts


With the exception of Joseph Donohue’s 1995 ‘reconstructive’ edition of The Importance of Being Earnest, no new, substantial textual work on Oscar Wilde’s best-known plays has been undertaken since the publication, nearly thirty years ago, of the (subsequently frequently re-printed) New Mermaids editions of his four society comedies. This paper examines the challenges posed by the nature of the surviving evidence of Wilde’s dramatic authorship, and in the process raises some general questions about how we interpret late nineteenth-century play-scripts and prompt copies, and the kind of the theatrical ‘event’ for which they are held to be witnesses.


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