In the library of a country house in Nottinghamshire, Vivian is writing an article about the importance of lying, when he is interrupted by Cyril, who tries to tempt him away, but instead is drawn into a discussion about art, nature, literature and imagination.
The Decay of Lying sees Wilde explore his deepest preoccupations about the relationship between life and art, and examine the work of such writers as Shakespeare and Balzac.
One of the chief causes that can be assigned for the most curiously commonplace character of most of the literature of our age is undoubtedly the decay of Lying as an art and a social pleasure.
'Wilde stood for art. He stood for nothing else all his life... He is still enormously underestimated as an artist and a thinker... Wilde was a great writer and a great man.' Stephen Fry
Read an excerpt from The Decay of Lying
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