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7. Act 1 – "A handbag?"
About this Lecture
In this module, we continue to read through Act 1 as Lady Bracknell interrogates Ernest/Jack, focusing in particular on: (i) the frequency of arranged marriages in late Victorian society; (ii) the unexpected direction the conversation takes, and the reversal (once again) of serious and trivial; (iii) the 'character' of some of the names mentioned; and (iv) the 'immateriality' (or otherwise) of the line ("The line is immaterial").
In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. In the first three lectures, we provide a broad introduction to the play, thinking about the life and career of Oscar Wilde, as well as the social, cultural and literary context of the play itself. After that, in the following twelve modules, we read through the entire play from start to finish, thinking about the character, setting, stagecraft, key themes and motifs, and critical opinion.
John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.
Cite this Lecture
McRae, J. (2021, April 23). Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest - Act 1 – "A handbag?" [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/wilde-the-importance-of-being-earnest/act-1-a-handbag
McRae, John. "Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest – Act 1 – "A handbag?"." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Apr 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/wilde-the-importance-of-being-earnest/act-1-a-handbag