The Canterville Ghost Essay

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Wilburn is a professor of English at Pepperdine University. In the following essay, she examines Wilde's exploration of the role of the audience in "The Canterville Ghost," focusing on Virginia as an audience for the ghost.

Although Wilde's short story collection Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories has enjoyed some critical attention, most of the discussion has focused on the comic and moral content of the stories, especially the relationship between the criminal and the artist. But a closer examination of the stories suggests that Wilde was also exploring various concepts of a theory of performance-specifi- cally the artist's and audience's roles in the artistic performance. Wilde was using the texts, particularly "The Canterville Ghost," to work through problems involving the audience's power over different phases of the artist's performance.

In his works Wilde presents at least three contradictory stances about performance: that the audience should be...

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This section contains 5,715 words
(approx. 15 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Canterville Ghost Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Canterville Ghost from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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