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The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

  

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

  • Aegeria (II.29): a Roman mythological water nymph known for giving wisdom
  • Mudie (II.12) of Mudie’s Lending Library, which was largely responsible for the rise of the Victorian three-volume novel
  • Cervantes, Don Quixote (II.66)
  • New Testament, Galatians 6:7 (II.107)

Historical Figures

  • Liberal Unionist (I.199)
  • Tories (I.200)
  • French Revolution (I.214)
  • Maréchal Niel (II.72): a species of yellow roses was named after this French minister of war who conquered the Malakoff at the Siege of Sevastopol in 1855
  • Anabaptists (III.115)
  • Army Lists (III.168, 170)

Pop Culture

  • Wagner (I.100)
  • "Wedding March" (I.219)
  • The Morning Post (II.288)

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