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An Ideal Husband

An Ideal Husband


by Oscar Wilde

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literature and Philosophy

  • "the old Greek" and "Penelope" (1.103-104): a reference to Odysseus and his faithful wife
  • Book of Numbers (3.240): an Old Testament book
  • The Times and The Morning Post (4.26): The Times was serious; The Morning Post full of society gossip

Historical Figures

  • Boodle's Club (1.114): an old and distinguished London gentleman's club
  • Suez Canal (1.225): shares were bought on Prime Minister Disraeli's advice in 1875

Political References

  • Star of the Garter; Whig (1.19): The Garter is an order of Knighthood. A Whig is the 18th-century term for moderate liberals.
  • Women's Liberal Association (2.101): Founded in 1886. Women's Liberal Associations all over England debated political issues, including women's right to vote.
  • Upper House (2.242): the House of Lords
  • Downing Street (4.72): official residence of the Prime Minister

Art References

  • Triumph of Love by Boucher (1.1): Francois Boucher (1703-1770). A French painter exemplifying the French rococo style.
  • Watteau (1.1): Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), French painter
  • Lawrence (1.19): Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), English painter who specialized in portraits of military and state leaders
  • Tanagra (1.23): 4th century B.C. terracotta figures
  • Van-dyck (1.52): Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641), Flemish painter
  • Corot (1.236): Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875), French landscape painter

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