Literature - 'Oscar Wilde: glitter and depth'

Ref: C2525383

Oscar Wilde is best known for his comedies: witty, glittering and elegant. His wider writings, however, reveal much more: his searching intellect, strength of spiritual conviction, and calls for social reform. In this course, we shall be considering extracts from both Wilde's lighter-hearted works and the journalism, essays, poetry and letter-writing which reveal the depth of his beliefs, his claims to socialism and his challenges to the society around him. Through discussion and analysis, we will be seeking to explore the paradoxes presented by this most articulate and yet elusive figure.

Course aim

The course will be an opportunity to analyse both well-known and less well-known aspects of Oscar Wilde's writings, from the lighter aspects of his drama through to his appeals for societal reform.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • The course is open to anyone with an avid interest in literature.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Develop my capacity to analyse a range of Wilde's writings.
  • Widen my understanding of the context of Wilde's writings.
  • Widen my understanding of Wilde's social comment.
  • Gain confidence in sharing my ideas in class discussion.
  • Gain confidence in my ability to evaluate Wilde's arguments, and make my own judgement upon them.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:
  • The teaching in this course is based on discussion and question and answer. There will be some pre-reading each week of extracts from Wilde's work.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You can expect verbal feedback from the tutor during the progress of the course.

What else do I need to know?

  • You will need to bring a pen and paper to each session.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

Literature - 'Oscar Wilde: glitter and depth'

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This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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