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Оскар Уайльд. Личность и творчество
Автор(ы): Анпилогова Тамара Викторовна, учитель английского языка
Оформление: Портрет Оскара Уайльда, высказывания: “A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies”; “The best way to make the children good, is to make them happy”; “There is only thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about”; ”The artist is creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim…. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty. There is no such thing as moral or immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. All art is quite useless”. (“Dorian Gray” O. Wilde)|
Teacher. Today we’ll speak about one of the famous English writer. Oscar Wilde. I want to remember you some facts about that period. The second half of the XIX-th century in England gave rise to a rapid growth of social contradictions. This period was characterized by a crisis in bourgeois culture. Artists, poets, novelists and all the intellectuals hated the heartless and hypocritical bourgeois world. The crisis of bourgeois culture was reflected in literature by the appearance of two trends the one progressive, the other regressive. Oscar Wilde belongs to those bourgeois writers, whose literary activity contradictory in its nature, mirrors the crisis in bourgeois ideology.
Student 1. I want to read the poem “Impressions” by Oscar Wilde.
The sea is flecked with bars of grey, Teacher. Thank you. But it’s very interesting to know about the life of Oscar Wilde.
The dull dead wind is out of tune,
And like a withered leaf the moon
Is blown across the stormy bay.
Etched clear upon the pallid sand
Lies the black bout: a sailor boy
Clambers aboard in careless joy
With laughing face and gleaming hand.
And overhead the curlews cry,
Where through the dusky upland grass
The young brown-throated reapers pass,
Like silhouettes against the sky.
Student 2. I know some facts about his life. Oscar Fingal O’ Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin on October 16, 1854 into the family of a distinguished Irish surgeon and educated at Dublin and Oxford Universities. His mother was a writer of poetry and prose. At school, and later at Oxford, Oscar displayed a considerable gift for art and humanities. The young man received a number of classical prizes, and graduated with first-class honours. His affected paradoxes and witty sayings were quoted on all sides. Under the influence of John Ruskin, Wilde joined the Aesthetic Movement and soon became its leader. He made himself the apostle of “art for art’s sake” and of the cult of beauty. In 1882 he went to America to lecture on the Aesthetic Movement in England. His lecture tours were triumphantly successful.
Teacher. Ladies and Gentlemen. Let me introduce Mr. O. Wilde. We’ve got a conference and if you are interesting the literary work you may ask some questions. Please your questions.
Student 3. What can you say about your parents?
Student 4. Where have you got your education and when?
Student 5. I heard that your youth became one of the most prominent personalities of the day. What could you say about your youth?
Student 6. What was your first poem, do you like it?
Student 7. What can you say about your future plans?
Teacher. Thank you. What do you know about Oscar Wilde’s tales?
Student 3. Wilde proclaimed the theory of extreme individualism but, as has been mentioned, he often contradicts himself. In his tales, he glorifies beauty, and not only the beauty of nature or artificial beauty of devoted love. He admires unselfishness, kindness and generosity “The Happy Prince, The Nightingale and the Rose” and despises egoism and greed “The Selfish Giant, The Devoted Friend”. Though in Wilde’s opinion art does not mirror life, the theme of most of his works, even of his tales, is realistic. He shows the contrast between wealth and poverty. Though according to Wilde’s theory an author must be impartial to his characters, that is to say, must not have any likes and dislikes, his own sympathy for poor labouring people is quite evident, as well as his hatred of the rich who live at the expense of the poor “The Devoted Friend”, “ The Young King”.
Student 4. It’s true. The most popular tales of Oscar Wilde are “The Happy Prince”, “The Nightingale and the Rose”, “The Selfish Giant”, “The Devoted Friend”, “The Remarkable Rocket”. And we want to show you the act of “The Selfish Giant”.
Author: Every afternoon, as boys and girls were coming from school, the children used to go and play in the Giant’s garden. It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. Here and there over the grass stood beautiful flowers like stars, and there were twelve peach-trees that in the spring-time broke out into delicate blossoms of pink and pearl, and in the autumn bore rich fruit. The birds sat on the tress and sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games in order to listen to them.
Children: “How happy we were there! “ they cried to each other.
Author: One day the Giant came back. When he arrived he saw the children playing in the garden.
Giant: What are you doing here? My own garden is my own garden. Any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play, in it but myself.
Author: So he built a high wall all round it, and put up a notice board “TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED”. The poor children had now nowhere to play. Then the spring came, and all over the country there were little blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it was still winter.
Giant: I cannot understand why the spring is so late in coming. I hope there will be a change in the weather.
Author: But the spring never came, nor the summer. One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was still winter.
Giant: How selfish I have been! Now I know why the spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I’ll knock down the wall, and my garden will be the children’s playground for ever and ever.
Author: He was really very sorry for what he had done.
Giant: It is your garden now, little children. But where is your little companion? The boy I put into the tree.
Children: We don’t know. He has gone away.
Giant: You must tell him to be sure and come tomorrow. How I would like to see him! How selfish I have been!
Teacher. It’s wonderful. Thanks a lot. What tales by Oscar Wilde have you read? Which is your favourite one? Why? Give your reasons. Please, some words about the plays.
Student 5. In his plays Wilde gives realistic pictures of contemporary society and exposes the vices of the bourgeois world. In his plays Wilde directs his satire against various aspects of contemporary life: marriage relations, morality and class privileges. In the comedy “An Ideal Husband” the author reveals the corruption of the upper classes of society. He shows the way people can come to power in bourgeois England. The main character of the play is Sir Robert Chiltern, a member of the government, a man of the world, “a personality of mark… deeply respected by the many”. Mrs. Cheveley who knows that Sir Robert wrote a letter to Baron Arnheim, but she is sure he will do anything to avoid the “nasty scandal” which would be the result if he refused her request.
Teacher. Oh! It’s very interesting! Let’s see the act.
Sir Robert: It is infamous, what you propose-in-famous! …I cannot do what you ask me.
Mrs. Cheveley: You know you are standing on the edge of a precipice and it is not for you to make terms. It is for you to accept them. Supposing you refuse. You are ruined that is all! …you would be hounded out of public life, you would disappear completely… I leave this house I drive down to some newspaper office and give them this scandal and the proofs of it!
Sir Robert: I’ll give you any sum of money, you want.
Mrs. Cheveley: Even you are not rich enough, Sir Robert, to buy back your past. No man is.
Sir Robert: I had fought the century with its own weapons. And won … every man of ambition has to fight his century with its own weapons. What this century worships is wealth. The God of this century is wealth. To succeed one must have wealth. At all costs one must have wealth.
Teacher. Thank you. In his realistic “comedies of manners” Wilde attacks the bigotry and hypocrisy of bourgeois society, but his satire is not so sharp as that of Bernard Shaw. He does not go deep into the social problems of the age: his chief aim is to entertain people with the sparkling wit of his brilliant dialogue, his aphorisms and paradoxes. You know his comedies “Lady Windermere’s Fan”, “A woman of No Importance”, “An Ideal Husband”, “The Importance of Being Earnest”. The wit and brilliance of these plays helped to keep them on the stage, and they are still occasionally revived. Pay attention to the question and answer, please. What vices in the society of his time does Oscar Wilde expose in his play “An Ideal Husband”?
Student 6. Wilde also wrote poems, essays, reviews, political tracts, letters and occasional pieces on every subject he considered worthy of attention – history, drama, painting “The Soul of Man under Socialism”, “Intentions”. Some of these were serious, some satirical; the variety of themes reflected a personality that could never remain inactive. Please, listen the poem “Symphony in Yellow”.
An omnibus across the bridge Teacher. Thank you. Wilde’s splendid literary career and social position suddenly collapsed when in 1895 he was sentenced to a two years’ term of imprisonment for immoral practi...
Crawls like a yellow butterfly,
And, here and there, a passer-by
Shows like a little restless midge.
Big barges full of yellow hay
Are moved against the shadowy wharf,
And, like a yellow silken scarf,
The thick fog hangs along the quay.
The yellow leaves begin to fade
And flutter from the Temple elms,
And at my feet the pale green Thames
Lies like a rod of rippled jade.
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