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The Importance of Being Earnest Paperback – July 1, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0486264783 ISBN-10: 0486264785 Edition: 1st
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 1 edition (July 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486264785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486264783
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 4.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By B Wo on December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Dover Thrift edition is a highly abridged version. There are entire scenes and characters missing. And the ending is abruptly cut short. Spend the extra money on finding an edition with complete Oscar Wilde text.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By amy overholser on September 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
In Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest", he answers this question in the form of brilliant comedy. The play, full of witty dialogue such as Lady Bracknell's answer to her daughter's suitor saying he does smoke; "I am glad to hear it. A man should always have an occupation of some kind."; says, yes, it is important to be Earnest.
One of the more remarkable details of this play is in the title itself. While attending or reading the play, you learn, that the two heroine's of the piece, Gwendolyn and Cecily, are determined to marry men named Earnest; unfortunately, Jack wants to marry Gwendolyn, and Algernon would like to settle down with Cecily. What is the reasonable solution? To tell them that their name's are Earnest. However, Earnest is not only a name, but also a word meaning: an intensely serious state of mind. Why would Oscar Wilde choose the name Earnest for this seemingly ridiculous play anyway?
Why ridiculous you may ask. The answer comes in not only the ingenious dialogue, but in the plot itself. Without giving away the entire story, one can say that the two main characters live, however innocent, deceptive lives and still end up with the fair maiden's in the end. One of them even ends up really being Earnest, to which he answers, "... it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but truth..."
Wilde called his piece, "A trivial comedy for serious people." If the word earnest means serious and the play itself is joyfully absurd, this writer imagines that the characters in the play although exceptionally serious about themselves and their lives, they are trivial or ridiculous. In conclusion, I would say that this play is not only suited for the serious mind, this play is uproariously fun for all of us who appreciate good humor.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By carrie-may on November 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
My father was never much of a reader, but after having told him I was planning to read this play, he confessed it was one of the few books he had read for his own enjoyment. I'm not surprised now, after reading it, to hear that it was also his very favorite. I was laughing practically non-stop from Jack's originating from a handbag, to the scene where all is discovered about their names. It's witty, charming, and absolutely brilliant. Plus, it's inexpensive and short, so if you aren't much of a reader, like my dear old dad, this is the book for you!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By MusicFan0101 on April 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
I just got finished reading this for class, and it's simply one of the best works I have read in the past year. It was such a joy to read, no dread factor at all (and there was no trouble keeping up with the characters). It is so witty and so well-written, it's just great. I recommend this to anyone who wants a good laugh. I can't see how anyone would not love it. This was the first time I was introduced to Wilde, and I look forward to reading more.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sparrowhawk on June 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am not a very big fan of plays, but I picked this up while in Dublin and couldn't put it down. It is very amusing and can easily be read in one sitting. The story is quite clever: through hilarious twists and turns two socialites somehow become engaged to the same man. And the kicker is, he doesn't even exist!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "undomiel" on July 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
I love this play; I cannot imagine not having read it, not being able to revel in its insane logic of plot and a script that consists almost entirely of epigrams. Even though the play is given over to a frenzy of wit, the characters are likable and well-drawn, not mere vehicles for gag lines. The only problem with this play is that it is too short.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DJ_Bitter on February 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
This sparkles with wit that belongs only to Oscar Wilde. The sarcasm is delicious and the twists very intriguing. At first I was highly confused by it but midway, I found my bearings. Great read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
The story is about the two dandies Algernon and Jack who invented an imaginary person to have an excuse to go to country or to town. Both of them fall in love, but because of the double personality of Algernon and Jack there is a lot of confusion. At the everything clears up and there is a happy ending. We liked to read the book and can recommend it to everyone. It is really very funny. The characters talk a lot of paradoxical things. Oscar Wilde plays with the adjective earnest and the name Ernest. The motto of the play is: "In matters of great importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing." Oscar Wilde said once: " We should treat all the trivial things of life very seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality." At the beginning everything they talk about seems to be nonsense, but if you think about it you see that some things they say are quite rig
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