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Lady Windermere's Fan

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Beautiful, aristocratic, an adored wife and young mother, Lady Windermere is 'a fascinating puritan' whose severe moral code leads her to the brink of social suicide. The only one who can save her is the mysterious Mrs Erlynne whose scandalous relationship with Lord Windermere has prompted her fatal impulse. And Mrs Erlynne has a secret - a secret Lady windermere must never know if she is to retain her peace of mind.

70 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1892

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About the author

Oscar Wilde

6,633 books33k followers
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet, and author of numerous short stories, and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest.

As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years hard labour after being convicted of "gross indecency" with other men. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry. He never returned to Ireland or Britain, and died in poverty.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,282 reviews
Profile Image for Tosh.
Author 13 books626 followers
March 19, 2008
Reading an Oscar Wilde play is sort of like life being perfect. The structure of the work is faultless, the dialogue is uber-clever and fantastic. What's wrong with Wilde? Nothing. He's perfect. I can't imagine any writer who wrote so beautifully in his native language. There are some people who are born with 'it' and Wilde is one of them. Of course for someone so perfect he would have to get involved in some nasty social business via his decade. But when you look back at Wilde, one realizes that he is someone from the 19th Century who is saying goodbye to the Victorian era and culture. It's like he couldn't wait to jump into the 20th Century. Which makes it sad that we didn't accept Wilde with our open arms. We killed the thing that was so beautiful and right.

Wilde was born in 1854 and died in 1900. I was born in 1954 and was convinced I would be dead by the year 2000 - just because of Wilde. It's silly and egotistic on my part, yet it also shows how much I love Wilde.
Profile Image for Kenny.
494 reviews862 followers
February 27, 2022
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
Lady Windermere's Fan ~~ Oscar Wilde


Lady Windermere's Fan is quite clever, quite witty, but at it's heart is a comedy in the vein of The Importance of Being Ernest. And while all is resolved in a neat package by the end of Act IV, it is not as satisfying most of Wilde's work. Lady Windermere's Fan is a social comedy, as is most of Wilde's work. It looks at the social norms, expectations and mannerisms of the time. And while it uses humor to criticize class situations, the humor is much more subtle than one would expect from Wilde.

In his letters, Wilde claimed that he did not want the play to be viewed as "a mere question of pantomime and clowning"; he was interested in the piece as a psychological study. In this, Wilde has succeeded.

Profile Image for Piyangie.
518 reviews415 followers
July 9, 2021
This is a brilliant play written by Oscar Wild. From the first dialogue, I knew I'm in for a treat. And yes indeed I was. There was so much in this play - humour, satire, witty dialogues, drama, excitement, sensitivity and a heartwarming story full of wisdom. All of these features were clustered into a Four-Act play. If this is not brilliance, what is?

Writing a short work is quite challenging. One has to balance the elements very carefully. And it is by no means an easy task. But Oscar Wild has had no difficulty in accomplishing this feat. Most of his works are short and they are nothing but great literary productions. I have not read many classical playwrights to draw comparisons. Other than Wild I have only read Shakespeare and Henrik Ibsen. I've enjoyed their plays, it is true. But to me, Oscar Wild is one step ahead of them.

This is a very sensitive play. Under the humour and satire, there is depth and wisdom. The story takes us deep into Victorian marital relationships, the ideals surrounding them, the myths and the realities, and how susceptible they are. The story also brings to light the deception that is forced upon women with the full sanction of the society to enter into marriage, to make an advantageous match. Underneath the fine layers, there is the hypocrisy of convention and etiquette of the upper class. There are also secrets, lies, and blackmail in abundance carried out shamelessly. With his ingenuity, Oscar Wild exposes all this ugliness in his play under the guise of satire. Even the upper-class theatergoers, could enjoy it and laugh at their own follies. But what struck me most is the extent of a mother's love and sacrifice that she can make for her child which Oscar Wild has so sensitively portrayed. It was the ray of light that illumined the beautiful side of this dark and ugly picture.
Profile Image for Melissa.
26 reviews
September 8, 2007
Wilde's wit never bores me, which is why he is one of my favorite authors. Below are a few quotations I particularly liked from Lady Windermere's fan:

"... scandal is gossip made tedious by morality."

"In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it."

"What is a cynic?...A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

"That is the worst of women. They always want one to be good. And if we are good, when they meet us, they don’t love us at all. They like to find us quite irretrievably bad, and to leave us quite unattractively good."

"I can resist everything except temptation."

"Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes."

"Repentance is quite out of date. And besides, if a woman really repents, she has to go to a bad dressmaker, otherwise no one believes in her. And nothing in the world would induce me to do that."

"Ideals are dangerous things. Realities are better. They wound, but they’re better."

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews35.3k followers
December 6, 2020
Full cast Oscar Wilde play....*Theatre Format*/ 4 act British- upper society play....all in one day.
....1 hour and 37 minutes

Magnificent performances....[this play was enhanced with the audiobook format] - great voices, and characters.
Rights & wrongs.....code of conduct....deceitfulness..... hypocrisy....and revenge are themes on full display......
......between husbands, wives, mothers, and daughters.

Mrs. Erlynne hopes to win over a married aristocrat, Mr. Windermere. News of their flirting becomes a scandal. Naughty-naughty!
Lady Windermere isn’t stupid. She knew her husband was having an affair.

This is a light-hearted, but complex play— romantic rendezvous.....
with everyone making assumptions, judgments, and conclusions.
One of the compelling aspects of this play is examining what a mother does—she makes herself an outcast in order to save her daughter’s reputation.

Witty, clever, hilarious, evocative, and wonderful.

As for the title of this play...if my friend Anne, wasn’t going to spill the beans about the ‘fan’....well, I won’t either.
Other than to say....I don’t want it ‘either’.

There is a movie called “A Good Woman”, based on this play. I haven’t seen it....( but I did watch the YouTube trailer- staring Helen Hunt, and Scarlett Johansson. ( it looks good!). I plan to watch it.

Profile Image for Sawsan.
1,002 reviews
July 11, 2022
A combination of drama and humor
as usual, Wilde criticizes appearances and social hypocrisy of the aristocratic society and the different view of actions of men and women
and the most important point about the harsh judgments of people over others while it's so normal for the human nature to fluctuates between right and wrong
this play was published at 1893
Profile Image for N.
22 reviews129 followers
August 26, 2021
This is my favourite Oscar Wilde play. I loved this play even before I read it. The fantastic film adaptation, The Good Woman, has been one of my favourite movies. After reading the play, I can appreciate how perfect the casting is even more. Helen Hunt as Mrs. Erlynne, Scarlett Johansson as Lady Windermere and Tom Wilkinson as Tuppy are made for these roles.

"I don't like compliments, and I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't mean."

While there are so many lines to quote, this one is my favourite as I can relate to it so much. There aren't many things in this world that I dislike more then verbal compliments. There are many ways to show appreciation, love or admiration and I think if the best you can do is utter a few meaningless words, you better just shut up. 😆

As of the play, what it teaches us is that we shouldn't rush to judgment and sometimes the only difference between a good woman and a bad one is their circumstances.

Profile Image for Kathleen.
Author 1 book150 followers
March 18, 2023
“Oh, now-a-days so many conceited people go about society pretending to be good, that I think it shows rather a sweet and modest disposition to pretend to be bad. Besides, there is this to be said. If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn’t. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.”

With his signature verbal irony, Oscar Wilde makes a scathing social critique go down as easy as ice cream. Of course it’s more fun to see a play performed, but reading it allows you to pause over wonderful lines like these, let them bounce around in your mind. It lets you slow down and appreciate Wilde’s brilliance.

In this short, light, amusing play, he hints at true love and self-sacrifice, but in order to see them, we must allow him to force our minds open a little.

The Duchess of Berwick visits the innocent Lady Windermere with gossip that makes Lady W doubt her husband’s fidelity. This begins a series of events--played out in rapid-fire dialogue--that uncover both true and false morality. Wilde entertains us with banter from characters we don’t relate to at all. We think he’s talking about “them,” but by the end we realize he’s talking about us.

Things are often not what they seem. Underneath what is deemed bad when looked at superficially is often something good, and vice versa. We know this is true from Wilde’s own tragic life and enduring legacy, yet we never seem to learn.
Profile Image for Maria Espadinha.
1,015 reviews364 followers
July 29, 2021
The Charming Trip

Truths , Dares and Lies...

Saviour Silences and Devastating Truths!

Ssssssshhhhhhh... --- DON'T SAY IT!...

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious. I take the side of the charming..."

Forget about Goodness!
Forget about Badness!
Take the Charming Boat!
All Aboard?!... 😉👍🌟🌟🌟🌟
Profile Image for Anne .
443 reviews360 followers
December 8, 2020
This is not my favorite Oscar Wilde play, but it doesn't have to be. Everything Oscar Wilde writes is brilliant and this play is no exception. Wilde's works range from serious to comedic and this one has elements of both. Wilde is concerned in this play about the British obsession with keeping up appearances, with the expectations of one's social class, and the hypocrisy of double standards. He uses his characters brilliantly to examine these themes.

This play had me rapt with attention from beginning to end, wondering about the meaning of the fan. I'm not telling. You have to watch, listen to or read the play to find out. You won't be sorry.

I listened to the audio recording with Juliet Stevenson. What a treat! Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
104 reviews190 followers
November 20, 2016
"There is the same world for all of us, and good and evil, sin and innocence, go through it hand in hand. To shut one's eyes to half of life that one may live securely is as though one blinded oneself that one might walk with more safety in a land of pit and precipice."
Profile Image for Loretta.
306 reviews157 followers
April 7, 2020
An enjoyable play that I liked more than The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband. Many Goodread members classify Lady Windermere's Fan as a comedy and although there are definitely some witty parts, you know the Oscar Wilde wit, but I found the play to be more of a drama. Slightly disappointed that I figured out who Mrs. Erlynne was before I got to the end and what part she really played. Four stars.
Profile Image for Melcat.
250 reviews25 followers
August 10, 2021
Oscar Wilde is my favorite author of all time, and this play in four acts is as delightful as I expected.

The dialogues are brilliant, the humor, satire and wit are through the roof, and it’s a quick and charming read. I can’t wait to be able to travel again so that I can buy Wilde’s plays in a nice edition.

It is short, but packed with nuances and insight. It put a huge smile on my face, for hours.
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 1 book485 followers
February 5, 2016
Lady Windermere's Fan is classified as a Comedy of Manners, and while there are certainly humorous elements present in the usual clever Wilde manner, I would contend that there is more of drama here than comedy. The story at the base of this play is quite serious. The subject of the ease with which a person (particularly a woman) could be ruined and expelled from society (something that Wilde, even as a man, knew something of) is a serious topic for Wilde. The instinctive love of a mother is a serious topic for me.

As is so often Wilde's technique, there is much misunderstanding and confusion that leads characters to do foolish or socially dangerous things. Mrs. Erlynne might be a bad woman, but she does a very good thing; Lady Windermere prides herself on being a good woman, but she does a very bad thing. Perhaps the lines are not that clear or delineated. I particularly enjoy the progress that Lady Windermere makes in her thinking by the end of the play. I also enjoy the contrivance in which we, the audience, share in a secret that the Lady does not know.

Plays are meant to be seen, not read. I have never had the privilege of seeing this play produced, but in 2004 a movie was made based on this play entitled "A Good Woman" and starring Helen Hunt. If you have not seen it, it is worth seeking out. I think Oscar Wilde would be proud.
Profile Image for Fenia.
254 reviews458 followers
February 8, 2016
WOW. Oscar Wilde is a genius! This was so realistic, there was so much wisdom pouring out of it. It was entertaining and short, straight forward, full of cherished quotes. Loved it! ♥
Profile Image for Duane.
828 reviews404 followers
December 16, 2015
I think these classic plays are better enjoyed on stage than by reading. That seems so obvious that it seems silly to say. But the problem for most of us is, we haven't seen them on stage and probably won't. There is enough going on in this play though to make it a fun read. I use the word fun rather loosely because, even though it is a comedy, it doesn't seem like one to me. Maybe that is one of the things lost in reading versus watching, I don't know. I think it's a subtle style of humor that probably worked better with 19th century readers/audiences than in the 21st century. It felt more like a drama to me. But it has stood the test of time, performed first in London in 1893, and throughout the world during the 20th century, with a major production as late as 2004 at the Harmen Center in Washington D.C.
Profile Image for Liam O'Leary.
479 reviews117 followers
December 5, 2020
Video Review
I grew up with a girl who wrote love letters to a prisoner during our teens, and during this period she told me on rough days that "We're all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars". We drew a lot of optimism and strength from that quote. It stopped her dropping out of school, it stopped me dropping out of friendships. We knew Oscar Wilde wrote it, but we weren't sure where it came from. I read The Picture of Dorian Gray like most teens, but I didn't find it in there. And then I just forgot about it, books took a backseat, growing up was hectic.

More than a decade later, I'm considering quoting this in my PhD thesis. And so I looked it up and found it was in Lady Windermere's Fan. I figured I ought to read what I'm quoting, and it was about time I read an Oscar Wilde play.

Lady Windermere's Fan is a pretty fantastic and enjoyable play, as you'd imagine from Wilde. It is quite silly, but less so than most comedies, and is full of tension and painful dramatic irony. He called a character Dumby, so it's a light jest of a play.

But the quote is so much different than I thought. It's not about optimism at all! It's a response to a bunch of drunk men talking about what women want.

"[Women] like to find [men] quite irretrievably bad, and to leave [them] quite unattractively good"

To which a man with unrequited love responds with my chosen quote. He is declaring all men are immoral but love makes them long to be better. It isn't that women want a man to be bad and good, it's that a woman's love reforms a man. The gutter is a moral one not a miserable one, and the star is a lover not happiness. Women don't want men to change, they don't need to. They know that a man that loves them will change for the better, and that most men are capable of changing for the better. It's not one-sided, it's cooperation. Society keeps men down so that they can be raised, through love.

And with this recognition, it has sexualized what was this innocently motivating aphorism I've had in my head for over a decade. I'm still processing it, I feel like I've been lied to by my own ignorance. That's psychological development for you. Funny enough, to date, 43457 GoodReads users have liked this cherished quote, but only 18938 GoodReads users have rated this book (with less than 1000 reviews total). This means that more than half of the people who like this quote have never actually read it in its very different context! My sympathies in advance for those of you who reach the awareness that what you were hanging onto were misinterpretations, but it happens to us all at some point.

But one thing that's obvious to me now, is that even if social justice didn't float your boat, there's a very good practical, self-centred reason for reading diversely. Oscar Wilde dissects problems with heterosexual relationships and marriage in a way heterosexual writers simply couldn't, even if censorship wasn't an issue, due to them being biased and part of the problem. How many heterosexual men write about good women in a way that is believable and unbiased, and vice-versa? Is it impossible for men and women to be friends, as this play suggests? Maybe. But our best hope and identifying and reforming bad elements like this will be be through the eyes of 'others'. We learn so much more from people different from us, that the differences themselves are never as important as the amount we can learn from working together. And frankly, our diversity also extends to the realm of humour. Life is also just funnier reading diversely, because Oscar Wilde can make jokes no sane heterosexual would dare to, and it probably wouldn't be as funny even if they had the charisma for it. So yes, this play is light, true, serious and fun. It's jokingly provocative. It's light satire that calls for decency. That's more than a play needs to be, really.
Profile Image for Vanessa J..
347 reviews598 followers
July 4, 2015
Well, it seems that my liking of Wilde's works follows a graphic like this one:

I am not kidding you. Every time I read another play, I think it's better than the one I read before. Perhaps I'm reading them in some particular order unknown to me, or my opinion is starting to get biased. In any case, I enjoyed this immensely.

This one involves more drama and problems than the plays I read previous to this one. It has a jealous wife, there's blackmailing, there are some misunderstood things that lead to more problems, etc. In short, it was brilliant.

My favourite of these plays keeps being The Importance of Being Earnest, even when I said my enjoyment for them has been growing exponentially.

In the end, I recommend this wholeheartedly. It's really funny, cynical, satirical and easy to read. There's none of that complex or dense writing that characterizes many Victorian works. Plus, it's written by the one and only Oscar Wilde. Need I say more?

List of quotes:

“Ah, now-a-days we are all of us so hard up, that the only pleasant things to pay are compliments. They're the only things we can pay.”

“I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't mean.”

“If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.”

“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”

“Men become old, but they never become good.”

“I am the only person in the world I should like to know thoroughly ; but I don't see any chance of it just at present.”

“It's wrong for a man to abandon his wife for a shameless woman. It is wrong for a wife to remain with a man who so dishonors her.”

“Oh! gossip is charming! History is merely gossip. But scandal is gossip made tedious by morality. Now I never moralize. A man who moralizes is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralizes is invariably plain.”

“Ideals are dangerous things. Realities are better. They wound, but they are better.”

And yeah, I am perfectly aware that the list of quotes is longer than my “review.”
Profile Image for shell (denying tay's breakup).
99 reviews55 followers
December 26, 2022
"we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."

2022 is almost over and i am determined to fulfill my goal of writing a review for every book (or let’s just say “most of the books”) that i have read this year, so welcome to: Reviewing Books Before the Year Ends and I Completely Forget What They Were About. i’ve decided to start with the latest book that i have read cause that is the logical thing to do.

Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde.

first of all i find it embarrassing that upon picking this book up from the secondhand store, my dumbass thought that the word “fan” was used as the synonym of “follower”. but no; it was about the Lady’s fan, you know the actual fan that is used for cooling oneself, well it’s a fan (the object) which probably symbolizes something. i just had to clarify that. BACK TO THE REVIEW, i haven’t read anything from Wilde apart from The Picture Of Dorian Gray cause im basic, so now i can say that i have not only read Dorian, but also Lady Windermere’s Fan so there’s that. i love the fact that Wilde is from Dublin since a friend of mine invited me to visit Dublin this summer and im a fan of Ireland ever since (see what i did there hehe).

wow im not even going to question how i went from talking about a fan and ireland within seconds because i always manage to do so. this is what happens when you neglect writing reviews.

i really enjoyed the atmosphere of the play, i for one consider myself an elegant ball party gal with all those gorgeous dresses and fancy dances. i must say, the conversations were short and comprehensible (or maybe that’s how it felt after reading Shakespeare’s works) so i also UNDERSTOOD what was happening which is cool since english is not my first language, ayo where are my bilinguals at?!!!? bilingual-five 🙌

other than that, it was a very short play so we didn’t get to delve into the lives of other characters but that’s okay i only cared about Lord what’s his name. okay im back i checked what his name was it’s Lord Darlington. here's a tip: always trust cute high status guys who are willing to tell you that they love you in the most awkward yet heartwarming ways (im talking about you Darcy my blueberry pie). and what about that ending. were we supposed to guess what happens next😤? i sure hope #ladywindermereandlorddarlingtonendgame happens, actually im okay if it doesn't happen. i would gladly accept Lord Darlington. wow im completely deflecting here.

(visual representation of me running after lord darlington)

the portrayal of jealousy was cool but of course it wasn’t othelloesque (think of it as kafkaesque) and poor mrs erlynne was misunderstood. i absolutely despise the miscommunication trope, in fact im going to lower my rating just for that (that and because of the ambiguous ending, i also despise ambiguity). i would've loved to have a cup of tea with mrs erlynne sometime, my girl's so cool and im going to pretend that she is a rebellious feminist who dares to talk to other women's husbands (how could she! *audible gasp*). and that plot twist came out of nowhere, which is what plot twists do. plus that women supporting women scene in the end. I LOVE.

to conclude, the play was short but it did not feel like it and the language & tone were satisfying. this wild oscar kid did a good job.

p.s. my battery died while writing this review and now it’s magically back. im starting to think that it shouldn’t have been back.
Profile Image for leynes.
1,103 reviews2,952 followers
April 1, 2020
I'm honestly amazed by the Genius of Oscar Wilde. After falling in love with The Importance of Being Earnest I wasn't sure if he'll be able to do it again but Boy, was I wrong. Lady Windermere's fan was just as brilliant (maybe not as witty but definately a strong narrative full of funny and shocking moments).

This Play is about Lady Windermere. When she learns that her husband has an improper relation with another woman (of low Status) and then wants to divide this woman into their home, she fucking loses it. She tries everything to prevent her husband from committing social suicide and humilation and then threatens to STRIKE this woman WITH HER FAN if she were to set foot into her home. Craaazy! :D

But let's talk about this a bit more chronologically:

The Play starts out in Lord Windermere's house. Lord Darlington who is infatuated with Lady Windermere visits her and compliments her in a very over-the-top-way (read: I would have covered the whole street in front of your house with flowers for you to walk on). Lady Windermere however is having None of it:
I don't like compliments, and I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of cheap things that he doesn't mean.

SLAY MAMA ! Overall Lady Windermere was a highly likeable character because she stood up for Woman's Rights and had just Overall good morals (even though the executions of her beliefs were sometimes not really Happening... :D)

And they start argueing about a whole lot of things. One of my favorite Quotes from this Play which beautifully portrays the traits of These two characters, goes as follows:
Vileness is a terrible word, Lady Windermere.
It is a terrible thing, Lord Darlington.

I also really like that Lord Darlington foreshadows what Lady Windermere is about to learn about her husband's scandal.

So the burden of her husband meeting and lunching and giving money to a woman with an illicit past is heaved upon Lady Windermere by the Duches of Berwick
Many a woman has a past, but I am told that she has at least a dozen,and that they all fit.

Lady Windermere then proceeds on confronting her husband whose becoming more and more desperate because (to the reader) it is quite clear that a misunderstanding is at work but that something is preventing him from telling Lady Windermere the whole truth...
Margaret, none of us men may be good enough for the women we marry - that is quite true - but you don't imagine I would ever - oh, the suggestion is monstrous.

But on the other hand the reader also sympathizes with Lady Windermere because her suspicion is validated and her husband really isn't doing a great job at conveying his honesty because he then tells his wife that he invited this woman to a party that the Windermere's will hold that evening.
This results in the most badass line of the play:
Yes, you gave me this fan to-day. [...] If that woman crosses my threshold, I shall strike her across the face with it.

The second act starts out with the ball/ party in the evening. I was literally on the edge of my seat and anticipating the woman's entrance. ;) But Oscar prolonges this anticipation by giving the reader one of his witty glances into the British high society. The Windermere's guests are all a tad fake and definately think that they're the wisest and wittiest people in the world and express beliefs that are not only absurd but also quite ridiculous:
It's most dangerous nowadays for a husband to pay attention to his wiffe in public. It always makes people think he beats her when they're alone.

Then finally the woman - Mrs. Erlynne - is announced and Lady Windermere... let's her fan drop to the floor. Well, that was anti-climatic but also quite funny because you can actually see how uncomfortable LORD Windermere is and that Erlynne is just a little badass and doesn't give a shit about anyone's opinion.
The comments and attention she gets from the males in the room, you have to know she
looks like an édition de luxe of a wicked French novel, meant especially for the English market.
are just as disgusting as cat-whistles nowadays...

Lady Windermere is quite overwhelmed with the situation and that her hubby is talking with this woman in public that the consoles herself with Lord Darlington. Who finally sees his chance and confesses his love to her, he holds quite the beautiful speech about how Lady Windermere shouldn't stay with a husband who dishonored her and that she deserves better etc. but as Lady Windermere doesn't consent to his proposal he gives her an ultimatum. If she wants to run away with him she has one day to decide because on the morrow he is leaving for England. Hot damn.

This proposal/threat whatever adds to Lady Windermere's anxiety and she decides that she can't stay with her husband any longer. She leaves him a letter in which she states that if he truly loves her he has to come after her to Lord Darlington's place and then leaves. Mrs. Erlynne finds this letter and is quite in shock because she fears that history will repeat itself. The reader finally learns that Mrs. Erlynne is Lady Windermere's mother and that she left her father in disgrace 20 years ago.
She then hides the letter from Lord Windermere and sets out to save her child from social suicide.

Lady Windermere is highly distressed (in Darlington's place) because her husband hasn't come after her. She is then confronted by Mrs. Erlynne who urges her to return to Lord Darlington. Lady Windermere is finally convinced that her place is with her husband.
We then get this beautifully ridiculous scene in which the ladies have to hide behind the curtains because the men arrive. The men aka Lord Darlington, Lord Windermere, Mr. Dumby, Mr. Cecil Graham and Lord Augustus Lorton. It's quite ridiculous. :D

They talked about the whole incidence because Mrs. Erlynne caused quite the stir and Lord Augustus wants to marry her (because he is fascinated by her).
Oh! Gossip is charming! History is merely gossip. But scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.

The whole scenes results in Lord Windermere seeing his wife's fan and Darlington's chambers and losing his fucking shit. Mrs. Erlynne then becomes a heroine because she reveals herself to the men and says that she took Lady Windermere's fan by mistake and takes all the blame and shame alone. Boss-ass-lady!

Act Four is basically the reconciliation of Lord and Lady Windermere and I kinda love the Lord (even though he calls his wife "my child" but well, times change).
Mrs. Erlynne then visits then yet again (to the Lady's delight and the Lord's sorrow - oh how the roles have changed) and takes farewell with her child.
Oh don't imagine I am going to have pathetic scene with her, weep on her neck and tell her who Iam, and all that kind of thing. I have no ambition to play a part of a mother.

The reader really gets to love Mrs. Erlynne in this act because one can clearly see how much she regrets abandoning Lady Windermere when she was a child. She then makes sure that Lord Windermere will never reveal to his wife her origins because she fears the shame would wreck her. Lord Windermere consents to this.

The play ends in the most satisfying way because it is a proper happy end. Mrs. Erlynne is (due to her cunning and badassery) not doomed as Lord Augustus is still going to marry (she explained to him why she was at Darlington's house -> basically lies, says that she thought that Lord Augustus was there LOL). The play ends with the congratulations of both Lord and Lady Windermere:
LORD WINDERMERE: Well, you are certainly marrying a very clever woman!
LADY WINDERMERE (taking her husband's hands): Ah, you're marrying a very good woman!


Favorite quotes:
LORD DARLINGTON: We are all in the gutter, but some of us a re looking at the stars.
In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
CECIL GRAHAM: What is a cynic?
LORD DARLINGTON: A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
CECIL GRAHAM: Experience is the name Tuppy gives to his mistakes. That is all.
MRS. ERLYNNE: I regret my bad actions, you regret your good ones. That is the difference between us.
MRS. ERLYNNE: Ideals are dangerous things. Realities are better. They wound, but they're better.
Profile Image for Cemre.
704 reviews474 followers
July 30, 2019
Ciddi Olmanın Önemi, İdeal Koca ve Lady Windermere'in Yelpazesi tema ve karakterler olarak birbirlerini anımsatsalar da okuyucuya çok keyifli bir okuma sunuyor. Lady Windermere'in Yelpazesi'ni de diğer iki oyun gibi büyük bir keyifle okudum, çok eğlendim. Sahnede de izleyebilmeyi çok isterim.
Profile Image for Laura Cooper.
50 reviews
March 10, 2015
\Wilde's work hinges on paradoxical epigrams that are both sinister in their implications and deconstructionist in their content, we are disturbed by that the character who voices the epigrams doesn't seem to have an moral core of their being and see the absurdity of, for example, the distinction between Nature and Civilization. Derrida, but satirical.
Profile Image for WhatIReallyRead.
685 reviews494 followers
April 12, 2020
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

This is the second play by Oscar Wilde I've ever read. And again, it is beautifully and brilliantly written. Here we have the patent Wilde wit, depth of observation, and humor. It's a delight to read.

LORD WINDERMERE.  Well, that is no business of yours, is it, Cecil?

CECIL GRAHAM.  None!  That is why it interests me.  My own business always bores me to death.  I prefer other people’s.

It's also quite dramatic, not simply a comedy. I knew the plot before reading it since I've seen the 2004 film A Good Woman starring Scarlett Johansson that is based on the play. Still, it was an interesting read.
Profile Image for Christopher.
649 reviews213 followers
February 13, 2015
I highly recommend finding Wilde's plays on audio and listening to them while driving early in the morning. Press play as you sit in your freezing car, spend the first scene in a shivering fit, then ease into the second scene all nice and warm and toasty, at ease enough now to chuckle or chortle or guffaw at the playwright's acerbic wit. Pause in the middle of an argument between the Windermeres to roll your window down and request through a metal box a concoction of glutinous egg, english muffin, cheese and disturbingly circular meat. It's shameful but sometimes you just don't have the time or motivation in the morning to fix something healthy. Burn your tongue on bitter coffee as someone delivers a killer one-liner. Let your mind wander for a moment at a traffic light when you notice a single shoe in the middle of the intersection, imagining a kid limping through the halls at school, head bobbing up and down like a carousel unicorn, then finding yourself lost when it comes to the action of the play. Hit the 30-second reverse button once, then twice more just to be safe, to gather context to regain your footing in the world of Lady Windermere's ball.

What's this? A plot twist, spousal misunderstandings, they really should attend some seminars on the importance of communication. The upheaval of social norms and mores. Lies, betrayal, what a way to start a day! All on the way to work one Friday morning, in your beater of a car, you really need to get that oil checked, it seems to be putting out more gray smoke than usual, several different shades of grey, and after all it's been six thousand miles since its last change, but who has the time for that? You know exactly where the story is going, not necessarily the plot, it's impossible to predict exactly what will happen, but you can see its shape: it's a comedy, it ends happily, not like the usual stuff you like, your mother pointed out last weekend when you recommended a tv show you liked that you always make her watch things that end with blood dripping on a photograph or someone crying at the bottom of a well or some such nonsense, but she likes movies that end with a wedding. You must admit, the montages they play through the first song of the credits of that type of movie, everything and everyone major key and dressed in white, a New England beach in the background probably, seabirds present but not causing any commotion, a handsome thirty-something dancing with a flower girl, those hit a certain delightful chord when you somehow manage to see them. Everything is not doom and gloom. You should tell yourself this more often.

Although you know this will end with a wedding-type montage, perhaps not a literal wedding but you get the point—major key, that's the point—you pull into your office parking lot as the final scene is beginning, before the turmoil is resolved, and someone is pouting just as you turn the key and kill the engine. You will have to file yourself away for 9 hours before returning to your too old, too unreliable car to finish Lady Windermere's story. Step out of the car and realize that you are wearing only one shoe. A lonely, brightly polished, black leather loafer, its mate lying probably along the side of the highway or in the no-man's land of a suburban intersection. Walk inside to your brightly lit office condominium, bobbing up and down less like a carousel unicorn than a carousel camel.
Profile Image for Rozhan Sadeghi.
254 reviews337 followers
February 10, 2021
A mother's love is not defined by how much she endures a life that is unbearable but by the wise acts of love a mother makes to make life easier for her child.
A mother shouldn't sacrifice all her life for her child. And if she doesn't, it doesn't mean she's not a good mother. She's a human being worthy of living.
And Wilde wrote about this in 19 century!
This short play has so much more to offer than the paragraph I wrote, but his take on motherhood stood out the most to me.
Profile Image for Rosh.
1,444 reviews1,380 followers
April 17, 2021
This is turning out to be an Oscar Wilde special year. I began this year with The Importance of Being Earnest, then read The Picture of Dorian Gray as the Book of the Month in my Facebook group. And now came the turn of Lady Windermere's Fan. Did I like all of them? Yes indeed. In the order of reading. So LWF didn't really meet my expectations but it's not a bad book by any stretch.

Written as a play, LWF tells us of the eponymous Lady Windermere, who is being forced by her husband to invite Mrs. Erlynne to her birthday party that night. Why is she reluctant? Because social gossips have fed her the idea that her husband is having an affair with this newcomer to town.

Within just four acts, Wilde delivers tons of sarcasm and wit in this impactful play. His way of poking fun at the hoity-toity British aristocracy is unrivalled. The dialogues flow crisply from person to person and scene to scene. Where it fell short for me was that I could guess the secret twist much in advance. Yeah, I know it wasn't a thriller but can't blame a reader for wanting to be surprised. But for the repartee between the characters and for Wilde's jocular punches at the society snoots, the book is well worth a try.

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