On today’s episode of The Literary Life podcast, our fearless hosts discuss Oscar Wilde’s unraveling of the tangle of plot points in Act 3 of The Importance of Being Earnest. Cindy Rollins talks about her reaction to Act 3 and how it gets resolved. Thomas Banks observes how Wilde sets up the conflict with the possibility to become a tragedy like Oedipus Rex instead of a comedy. Angelina Stanford talks about the theme of the identity quest, tokens of identity and foundlings in literature. The conversation, as in previous episodes, centers around the way Wilde pokes fun at Victorian ideals and cliches.
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Wear your learning like your watch, in a private pocket; and do not pull it out and strike it merely to show that you have one.Lord Chesterfield
We must travel this path as lovers, amateurs, of the Word and of words because all things reveal themselves more truly to the eyes of love.Stratford Caldecott
Time’s glory is to calm contending kings,
To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light, To stamp the seal of time in aged things, To wake the morn and sentinel the night, To wrong the wronger till he render right; To ruinate proud buildings with thy hours, And smear with dust their glittering golden towers.William Shakespeare
by George Herbert
Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
My tender age in sorrow did beginne
And still with sicknesses and shame.
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Let me combine,
And feel thy victorie:
For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
Beauty in the Word by Stratford Caldecott
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle
Brigadier Gerard by Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Nigel by Arthur Conan Doyle
Howards End by E. M. Forster
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde
An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde
The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
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