classical play in English language
target audience: senior high school students
period: november 2019 / april 2020
literary adaptation from the novel by Oscar Wilde
“I have nothing to declare but my genius“: the unscrupulous existence of the author of this sentence began in Dublin on 16 October 1854. From 1871 to 1874 Oscar Wilde was a brilliant student of Trinity College, and then of Magdalen College in Oxford, where he began to cultivate his own fine sense of aesthetics and to waste his father’s money on furnishing his own room … In 1878 he moved to the capital, which he conquered with his writing skills, with his sharp aphorisms, with his witty spirit and with his extravagant and refined lifestyle. In 1884 he married the wealthy Constance Lloyd, without achieving economic stability: he lived continually above his means, persecuted by creditors. After a few years of marriage, Wilde began to openly express his homosexuality, at a time when it was unofficially tolerated but legally prosecuted. In 1890 The Picture of Dorian Gray was released, which despite some fierce criticism (the Daily Chronicle for example called it “pregnant with mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction“) consecrated it as a cult author. Between 1892 and 1895 Wilde wrote the four pièces (Lady Windermere’s Fan, Salome, An ideal Husband, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST) which gave him success on the stage. But 1892 was also the year in which the meeting with the young aristocrat Alfred Douglas started the social ruin of the writer: the tormented relationship between the two, accompanied by blackmail and recurrent scandals, led Wilde to be sentenced to two years of forced works. His plays were cancelled from the billboards and he was banished from good society. In 1898 he took the road of exile and lived in great poverty in Italy and Paris, where he died in 1900. Only seven people attended the funeral of the one who had been arbiter elegantiae of London of the late nineteenth century.
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