© 2018

Oscar Wilde and Contemporary Irish Drama

Learning to be Oscar's Contemporary

  • Represents the first book-length study of the Wildean aesthetic in contemporary Irish drama

  • Examines an extensive range of Wilde’s writings (as opposed to merely his plays)

  • Demonstrates that contemporary playwrights engage with Wilde’s legacy in distinct and unique ways


About this book


This book is about the Wildean aesthetic in contemporary Irish drama. Through elucidating a discernible Wildean strand in the plays of Brian Friel, Tom Murphy, Thomas Kilroy, Marina Carr and Frank McGuinness, it demonstrates that Oscar Wilde's importance to Ireland's theatrical canon is equal to that of W. B. Yeats, J. M. Synge and Samuel Beckett. The study examines key areas of the Wildean aesthetic: his aestheticizing of experience via language and self-conscious performance; the notion of the dandy in Wildean texts and how such a figure is engaged with in today's dramas; and how his contribution to the concept of a ‘verbal theatre’ has influenced his dramatic successors. It is of particular pertinence to academics and postgraduate students in the fields of Irish drama and Irish literature, and for those interested in the work of Oscar Wilde, Brian Friel, Tom Murphy, Thomas Kilroy, Marina Carr and Frank McGuinness.


Influence Aesthetic Allusion Intertextuality Verbal theatre

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of LimerickLimerickIreland

About the authors

Graham Price is Lecturer at the University of Limerick, Ireland.

Bibliographic information


“This excellent book … will be essential for students, scholars of wilde, Irish drama, and readers with an interest in literary race.” (Ellen McWilliams, Irish Review, Vol. 55, 2020)

“This study is an important contribution to understanding Wilde’s impact on the evolution of contemporary Irish drama. … Scholars will find in Price’s study much food for thought and will be grateful for the research and scholarship that are clearly visible in this book.” (Eamon Maher, New Hibernia Review, Vol. 24 (3), 2020)

“Oscar Wilde and Contemporary Irish Drama: Learning to Be Oscar’s Contemporary is a valuable book for anyone who wants to have a broad view of the ways in which contemporary Irish drama … resonates with Wildean ways.” (Thierry Dubost, Études irlandaises, Vol. 45 (1), 2020)

“Oscar Wilde and Contemporary Irish Drama is most rewarding when it presents Wilde as a cultural and artistic spirit presiding over questions in Irish drama relating to modernity, art, and identity. Ultimately, the monograph says as much about the ways in which Wilde was ahead of his time and pioneered many of the theories and techniques that became prevalent in dramatic art from the mid-twentieth century onward as it does about any influence he may have exerted on contemporary Irish dramatists; but perhaps that is the point.” (José Lanters, Irish Literary Supplement, Vol. 39 (2), 2020)

“Price offers a comprehensive and discerning thesis of how a Wildean influence, whether it be derived from Wilde’s drama or his aesthetic theories, can be read into the dramatists who are the subject of this study. … Oscar Wilde and Contemporary Irish Drama clearly shows just how relevant the work of Oscar Wilde is to the continuing narrative of the Irish theatrical tradition.” (Adrienne Leavy, Reading Ireland, Issue 10, 2019)

“This is a rich, wide-ranging and accomplished monograph, which has built on a wealth of existing research to make a persuasive case that Wilde is, always has been, and is likely to remain, our contemporary.” (David McKinney, Irish Studies Review, Vol. 27 (4), 2019)

“Oscar Wilde and Contemporary Irish Drama: Learning to be Oscar’s Contemporary is a pacey, scholarly, and deeply interesting book. … It is a book that will appeal to scholars, students, and all who are interested in Wilde, and in Irish theatre more generally, and it is written in a fluid, engaging style that contributes to its clarity and accessibility.” (Noreen Doody, Irish University Review, Vol. 49 (2), November, 2019)

“This is an important and timely book which will appeal to scholars and students alike: of both Wilde and contemporary Irish drama. Lively, erudite and compelling, it helps us to understand the shifting complexity of literary and cultural influence.” (Neil Sammells, Professor of English and Irish Drama, Bath Spa University, UK, and Editor of Irish Studies Review)