The Importance of Being Earnest | Critical Essay by Camille Paglia

This literature criticism consists of approximately 30 pages of analysis & critique of The Importance of Being Earnest.
This section contains 8,831 words
(approx. 30 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Essay by Camille Paglia

SOURCE: Paglia, Camille. “Wilde and the English Epicene.” Raritan (winter 1985): 85-109.

In the following essay, Paglia explores what she calls the “Androgyne of Manners” in Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.

Oscar Wilde is the premiere documenter of a sexual persona which I call the Androgyne of Manners, embodied in Lord Henry Wotton of The Picture of Dorian Gray and in the four young lovers of The Importance of Being Earnest. The Androgyne of Manners inhabits the world of the drawing room and creates that world wherever it goes, through manner and mode of speech. The salon is an abstract circle in which male and female, like mathematical ciphers, are equal and interchangeable; personality becomes a sexually undifferentiated formal mask. Rousseau says severely of the eighteenth-century salon, “Every woman at...

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This section contains 8,831 words
(approx. 30 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Camille Paglia