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Backgrounds includes essays on Wilde and the 1890s by prominent cultural critics Joseph Dohue, Regenia Gagnier, and Karl Beckson. Reviews and Reactions collects contemporary responses to The Importance of Being Earnest, among them George Bernard Shaw's famous dissenting view and the American assessment by H. F. Essays in Criticism includes six diverse assessments of Wilde and the play by E. H. Mikhail, Camille Paglia, Christopher Craft, Michael Patrick Gillespie, Peter Raby, and Richard Haslam. A Chrology and Selected Bibliography are also included.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Wilde studied at Trinity College in Dublin and at Magdalen College in Oxford, England, before settling down in London and having a long, successful career as a poet, playwright, and author. Wilde is best known for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and for his satirical play The Importance of Being Earnest. Michael Patrick Gillespie is Louise Edna Goeden Professor of English at Marquette University. He is the author of Oscar Wilde and the Poetics of Ambiguity, The Aesthetics of Chaos: Nonlinear Thinking and Contemporary Literary Criticism, and Inverted Volumes Improperly Arranged: James Joyce and His Trieste Library, among others. His edited works include the Norton Critical Edition of The Importance of Being Earnest and James Joyce and the Fabrication of an Irish Identity.