A Collaborative Research Grant from the American Council of Learned Societies is supporting the completion of the final two volumes of the Oxford English Texts Edition of The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) counts among the best known and most quoted modern authors, who enjoyed - until the sensation caused by his 1895 trial and two-year prison sentence - a dazzling career as a major essayist, fabulist, dramatist, and poet. Wilde’s famous comedies such as The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) have been in repertory for decades; his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890, revised 1891), remains a staple of university literature syllabi; and his work has been translated into so many languages that he assuredly ranks as a world author. In popular memory, he is recognized most of all for his epigrammatic wit. Yet only in recent years has Wilde’s large and diverse oeuvre been subjected to comprehensive textual editing.
This project, which will draw the Oxford University Press Complete Works of Oscar Wilde to a conclusion, involves editing his famous epigrams, both in their published and manuscript forms, as well as a group of works that deserve to be better known among scholars and general readers: the lectures he delivered to many different audiences in Canada, England, Ireland, and the United States during the 1880s; numerous unpublished essays and reviews; and - perhaps most important - several unfinished dramas, which include several courageous plays that address sensitive topics such as incest, adultery, and illegitimacy. The edition will also include an annotated bibliography of the vast array of dubious works attributed to Wilde in the decades following his death.
Dr Rebecca Mitchell (University of Birmingham)
Professor Joseph Bristow (UCLA)
Dr Yvonne Ivory (University of South Carolina)