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The Importance of Being Earnest Paperback – January 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1580495806 ISBN-10: 158049580X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 76 pages
  • Publisher: Prestwick House Inc. (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158049580X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580495806
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This book is perfect for AP classes and is often selected for inclusion on the AP exam. The notes, reading pointers, and vocabulary in this addition will also help students at a lower reading level get the most out of these classics.

About the Author

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, his only novel (The Picture of Dorian Gray), his plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. Wilde's parents were successful Anglo-Irish Dublin intellectuals. Their son became fluent in French and German early in life. At university, Wilde read Greats; he proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. He became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles. As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new "English Renaissance in Art", and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversation, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The wit in which Wilde writes is incredible.
H
It's just great stuff to read over and over and over.
Lit Picker
If you love theatre, this is a great play to read.
T. Kaufmann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 103 people found the following review helpful By James Hiller VINE VOICE on July 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
One thing happens when you read Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest"; you are amazed to remember that this play was authored over 100 years ago. For most plays of that era, the average reader tends to lose references and it tends to be stodgy and irrelevant. Not so Earnest, due to the brilliance and imagination of it's playwright.

The Importance of Being Earnest is a tour de force of comedy, misidentifications, and farce. Algernon and Jack are friends, and each has invented an imaginary person as an excuse of getting out of engagements. Jack's person is Ernest, a brother with a wild past. The two conspire to woo the ladies that they love, and through a series of happenstances, must gently deceive to get want they want. The end result is a play of uncomperable quality, chock full of witticisms that are highly quotable out of context. In fact, I dare suggest the entire play is quotable, such its brilliance.

Wilde pulled no punches when writing Earnest. Often, when a play is filled with memorable quotes, it takes away from the realism of the scenes because the characters then become merely conduits for the writer's intellect. Not so in Earnest. Wilde manages to make the characters say exactly what they would say in each situation, true to their persona. That alone is quite an accomplishment, one not often seen.

Misidentities, witty banter, love, all conspire to one of English's most brilliant comedies ever to have seen the stage. We should be so lucky the world had Oscar Wilde in it, and even more so, that he wrote at all.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By T. Kaufmann on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Importance of Being Earnest is a fantastic play. It is an easy read, and is not only well thought out, but hilarious.

I liked this book of the play especially, because it includes helpful notes in the beginning, but more because it has a glossary of difficult terms in the back. Every time I came to a word that I did not know, it was sure to be defined in the back.

If you love theatre, this is a great play to read. I would highly suggest this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Nielsen on March 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I didn't know anything about this play going in to it. After reading the first few pages it became evident pretty quickly that this was a comedy, and a pretty good one at that. There is a lot of witty banter and snide remarks throughout that make you laugh out loud. I imagine this is even funnier on the stage with the actors' body language, etc.

The play demonstrates how a couple of lies can culminate into a huge quandary. You can see the train wreck coming and the anticipation builds until the train finally comes off it's tracks at the satisfying collision ... I mean culmination.

The version of the book I read is full of footnotes that includes changes that have occured in the play over the years and other pertinent information to the play. There is one footnote that I found particularly interesting; it says, Franklin Dyall, who played Merriman (in the play) recalled the effect of one of his lines on the first night, "This [announcement] was received with the loudest and most sustained laugh that I have ever experienced, culminating in a round of applause; and as I came off Wilde said to me: 'I'm so glad you got that laugh. It shows they have followed the plot.'" Imagine watching your play being acted out for the first time. It must be nerve-wracking to sit there hoping that people will like it and appreciate it. It must also be extremely satisfying to see and hear the positive reactions.

My wife noticed what I was reading and told me she had seen the movie and that it starred Rupert Everett as Algernon. I can't think of a more apt actor for that role. I will have to check it out.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book. It has a beautiful, meaningful cover and is full of all the brilliant wit you'd expect from Oscar Wilde. The great thing about this book is the non-stop flow of humorous discourse and situations. It's just great stuff to read over and over and over. Enjoy!
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The Importance of Being Earnest is a clever little play that’s bound to cause more than a few laughs. It does, however, sacrifice depth to stay light and charming.

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Format: Paperback
The Importance of Being Earnest is a clever little play that’s bound to cause more than a few laughs. It does, however, sacrifice depth to stay light and charming.

Click link for full review: [...]
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By Luna Rae Anselm on April 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Used this for a midterm project in a Costume Design course in University. Love the play and the time period. Wish I could see it performed but I don't think I'll be able to for a while. I would recommend giving this one a chance!
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By Hot dog ink on June 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This play is to me this is one of the greatest comments on Edwardian life at the fin de siècle. It contains much of Wilde's treasured wit as he pokes gentle fun at a society which he could never be part of. Wonderful fun and to be recommended.
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