A Woman of No Importance
Staged in 1893, when Wilde had already achieved fame, wealth andnotoriety, A Woman of No Importance was another attempt to fuse comedyof manners with high melodrama.
Gerald Arbuthnot is a young man on themake, with an American heiress and the post of secretary to thebrilliant but dissolute Lord Illingworth within his reach. When he askshis mother to celebrate with them, it turns out that Illingworth isGerald's father, who seduced and abandoned his mother twenty yearsearlier. Loyalty weighs heavier than ambition, and Gerald declines theassociation with Illingworth. This edition, which also analyses Wilde'svarious drafts and revisions of the play, argues that the playwrighthere continued to explore the rivalry between an older man and womanfor the affection of a beautiful young man.
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