This manuscript includes two typed versions of Oscar Wilde’s play A Woman of No Importance with autograph additions and corrections. Wilde noted down a suggested cast list at folio 92, which differs considerably from the cast at the Haymarket Theatre, where the play was first performed on 19 April 1893. The original cast featured Herbert Beerbohm Tree as 'Lord Illingworth', Fanny Bernard Beere as 'Mrs Arbuthnot' and Fred Terry as 'Gerald Arbuthnot'.
We know that the script was typed by ‘Mrs Marshall’s Type Writing Office’ at 126, The Strand because her stamp is seen on the title page (folio 1). At this point in time Wilde’s play was still titled Mrs Arbuthnot as in the handwritten draft (Add MS 37944).
What sort of changes did Wilde make at this stage?
Wilde made further amendments to this typewritten draft in pencil. He scored out individual words and lines, making changes to both the dialogue and stage directions. He used the blank left-hand page to make additions and amendments that would not fit in the margins of the typewritten page.
- Article by:
- Catherine Angerson
- Popular culture, Fin de siècle, Power and politics
Catherine Angerson explores the serious questions Oscar Wilde raises in An Ideal Husband under the guise of a frivolous society play.