The Importance of Being Earnest
by David Ng
"It is Criticism," Oscar Wilde once wrote, "that makes the mind a fine instrument." If this is true then surely Wilde's mind was among the finest of his time. Famous today for his plays and novels, Wilde was an accomplished critic of art, literature and above all society. He dissected Victorian culture - its customs and rituals - but because of his upbringing (he was the son of Irish eccentrics) and his lifestyle (he was flamboyantly gay), he stood more than a few steps removed from its epicenter.
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