There is something of a Wilde revival in London at the present time, which immediately conjures up the image of witty plays with wealthy characters in who offer much-needed laughter to an audience in these troubled times.
Wilde afficionados in England’s capital are sure to be fulfilled this chilly March.
This current production of Wilde’s sparkling comedy by the company Classic Spring is at the Vaudeville Theatre in London and playing to brilliant reviews with the superb Jennifer Saunders and Samantha Spiro in the lead female roles.
It was Wilde’s first great success when he began to taste the nectar of fortune in addition to fame.
Wilde found it difficult to get into this play the reason for which can be found in Arthur Ransome’s Oscar Wilde: A Critical Study.
It is a work well worth chasing up at your library as it shows superb insight that matches Richard Ellmann’s masterpiece which came out in 1987.
A work of distinction
In this analysis of Arthur Ransome’s novels, Julian Lovelock establishes them as belonging to a tradition of island literature from Shakespeare to Stevenson, while cementing Ransome’s significance in the history of literature as the man who changed the direction of children’s books by introducing the adventure novel.
Readers learn how Ransome’s novels relate to his own life while also reflecting the trends in thirties literature like the detective novel and the thriller.
Mr Lovelock challenges common perceptions that Ransome’s works uphold outdated, colonial ideology. His work makes it clear that the Bolshevik sympathising Ransome was no imperialist and that the empirical games the Walker children play in his books reflected a time when schools celebrated Empire Day and allowed children to dress up as island ‘savages’ with black faces. (We can be glad that age is past!)
We learn how Ransome uses satire and parody to express his own distance from the old world (eg when writing about the Lady Bracknell-like Great Aunt Maria) while his characters Nancy, Titty and Missee Lee smash female stereotyping.
The work instead gives testament to how Ransome was in touch with his country’s past and his own times. It highlights the recurring themes of continuity and renewal which reflect Ransome’s own views set against the threat of invasion by an insensitive, urban community and tourist industry of which these latter serve as a metaphor for the darkening prospect of approaching war and loss of childhood innocence.
This book also offers a fascinating insight into Ransome the writer.
Most important however, is the recognition that comedy and optimism are central to Ransome’s work, tempered with the triumph of humanity.
Even Great Aunt Maria holds onto her sense of dignity.
Today’s Internet-savvy reader is left in no doubt that Ransome is a shining light for our time.
To read an interview with the author just click here!