booksforfood (booksforfood) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
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66



66. Lady Windermere's Fan - Oscar Wilde - 80 pages (9/10)

"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes."

I didn't read the copy with this amazing cover--it's from a 1966 edition--but I thought it was too pretty not to use as my image thumbnail.

I love Oscar Wilde. He's so pretty, witty, and gay. He's hands-down one of my favourite playwrights and poets, though I've yet to get around to reading all of his poetry or plays. I listened to this as a full-cast audio recording while I photocopied 3,000 pages at work, and I don't think I would have been able to get through that task without this play.

This play is a satire of marriage and how in the time period where it was written, a happy marriage was not the most prevalent. Lady Windermere hears hints that her husband, whom she loves devoutly and believes that he feels the same, has been giving money to an attractive and mysterious woman, a Mrs. Erlynne. She begins to doubt their love, and is incensed when her husband insists that she must invite Mrs. Erlynne to a ball Lady Windermere is holding that night. She is so furious that she proclaims if the woman comes into her home she will smack her across the face with the fan her husband gave her that morning. The fan becomes a symbol of her mistrust for her husband, and later on, her precarious honour.

It's a tightly-written play, where each character comments on a type of personality and each has a purpose. No character is flat or stale, and everything comes together like a dance at the end. There's a twist that I found rather easy to guess, but it's still an excellent play and worth reading/watching/listening to if you enjoy clever dialogue and witty banter. It has one of my favourite quotes in it, which is perhaps overquoted now, but I love it still:

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

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