Lady Windermere's Fan: A Play About a Good Woman is a four act comedy by Oscar Wilde, first produced 22 February 1892 at the St James Theatre in London. The play was first published in 1893. Like many of Wilde's comedies, it is a biting satire on the morals of Victorian society, particularly marriage.
The story concerns Lady Windermere who discovers that her husband may be having an affair with another woman. She confronts her husband but he instead invites the other woman, Mrs Erlynne, to her birthday ball. Angered by her husband's unfaithfulness, Lady Windermere leaves her husband for another lover. After discovering what has transpired, Mrs Erlynne follows Lady Windermere and attempts to persuade her to return to her husband and in the course of this, Mrs Erlynne is discovered in a compromising position. She sacrifices herself and her reputation in order to save Lady Windermere's marriage. Mrs. Erlynne was originated by Marion Terry.
The fan in the title can refer to both the physical object - which Lord Windermere buys for her as a 21st birthday present - and to her admirer, Lord Darlington - who pays her deeply flattering compliments and eventually reveals his love for her.
Numerous characters in the play draw their names from places in the north of England: Lady Windermere from the lake Windermere, the Duchess of Berwick from Berwick-upon-Tweed, Lord Darlington from Darlington.
The play's Broadway première on 5 February 1893 at Palmer's Theatre was also the first Broadway performance for stage and screen actress Julia Arthur, who played Lady Windermere.
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