Lady Windermere's Fan



  • A comedy of manners by Oscar Wilde, first producedin London in 1892. The young but priggish Lady Windermere has becomedisturbed by the friendship between her husband, Lord Windermere,and Mrs Erlynne, a woman with a scandalous past. Convinced that heis having an affair, she impulsively flees to her admirer, Lord Darlington.When her fan is found in Darlington's apartments, Lady Windermereis threatened with disgrace. Her reputation is saved by Mrs Erlynne,who claims that she dropped the fan, having taken it by mistakefrom the Windermeres'. This act of self-sacrifice is explained bythe revelation that she is in fact Lady Windermere's mother.

    Some critics complained that the play's action was constantlyhalted to enable the characters to deliver Wilde's epigrams. "Englishcritics always confuse the action of a play with the incidents ofa melodrama," snorted Wilde. "In the act in question [theone most complained about] there was absolutely no action at all.It was a perfect act."