Oscar Wilde pp 98-125 | Cite as

‘A Woman of No Importance’

  • Katharine Worth
Part of the Macmillan Modern Dramatists book series


A Woman of No Importance followed fast on the heels of Lady Windermere’s Fan and has many obvious links with its predecessor, beginning with the title page description ‘A new and original play of modern life’. There is the same classical unity of a twenty-four-hour time span, the same type of rich and privileged dramatis personae, the same well-worn situation of the ‘woman with a past’. There is wit in abundance, indeed as some critics have thought, in over-abundance, and there is melodrama of which the same might be said. Mrs Bernard Beere (who was to have played Vera) took the arduous part of Mrs Arbuthnot and Beerbohm Tree played Lord Illingworth, a part tailor-made for him. It was another fashionable play with fashionable actors given for a fashionable audience.


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  1. 1.
    G. Burgess, ‘An Ideal Husband at the Haymarket Theatre: A Talk with Oscar Wilde’ in The Sketch, 9 January 1895. Mikhail, p. 241.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Illustrated London News, 29 April 1893.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    C. E. Montague, Dramatic Values, p. 178.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    M. Beerbohm, More Theatres, p. 334.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Janet Achurch (the first English Nora) played Hester Prynne in her husband’s adaptation of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter at the Olympic Theatre in June 1888.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    The Saturday Review, 6 May 1893. Beckson, p. 154.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    W. Archer, The World, 26 April 1893; repeated in The Theatrical World for 1893, Beckson, p. 146.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Katharine Worth 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharine Worth
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of London at Royal Holloway CollegeUK

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