All About Books Book Review

Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan

Oscar Wilde’s plays are thought-provoking, satirical, witty and have beautiful dialogues and well crafted characters. Lady Windermere’s Fan is just the same!

“Mom, I’m not sure what I should pick for the letter O”, I lamented. I asked her if I should go for Oliver Twist and then she reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s plays. “There is one on my bookshelf, Shalu. It is a mere 70-80 pages. Give it a read”, she said. And that’s how I read today, the famous Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde.

Lady Windermere is told by other ladies in the society that her husband Lord Arthur Windermere is having an affair with Mrs. Erlynne. She is devastated when her husband asks her to invite Mrs. Erlynne to her birthday ball. Lady Windermere is heartbroken and falls for the poetic words of Lord Darlington who invites her to elope with him.

Lady Windermere must now decide if she should be the woman of high moral character that she is, or accept Lord Darlington’s advance and seek revenge on her husband. Who is Mrs. Erlynne who announced her presence in their lives? Is she a scandalous seductress already popular among men and is wanting to lure her husband? You must definitely give this a read to know what happens next.

What I loved about Lady Windermere’s Fan is, of course, Oscar Wilde’s writing. I read the book in about half an hour for the dialogues and story flowed smoothly and I could picture the play in my head. I was even delivering the dialogues out loud. 😀 Seriously! There is no complex and dense writing like other plays of the era.

The play falls under the ‘Comedy of Manners’ meaning it gives a satirical portrayal of society. I wouldn’t say it is a comical play but it certainly has Wilde’s signature wit. Lady Windermere’s fan discusses social expectations and makes fun of it. It billowed out on trust, forgiveness, morality, and hypocrisy. Lady Windermere is strict in her moral code right up until she isn’t and then has to be saved by the woman whose morals she despises. So, you see, all the serious matters are dealt with so much simplicity.

My favorite quotes from Lady Windermere’s Fan are:

“In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” 

“I can resist anything except temptation.”

“My life-my whole life- take it, and do with it what you will. I love you- love you as I have never loved any living thing. From the moment I met you I loved you, loved you blindly, adoringly, madly!

You didn’t know it then-you know it now.”

“I think life too complex a thing to be settled by these hard and fast rules.”

Funny, cynical and satirical, Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan is a great choice if you aren’t much into plays and want to start somewhere.

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My theme for the A to Z Challenge this year is ‘Celebrating the Bibliophile in me’, where I would share the books, authors and fictional characters that I love, loathe and tolerate.
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One Response

  1. J Lenni Dorner April 19, 2019

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