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The Importance of Being Earnest [Paperback]

Oscar Wilde
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 24, 2011 1613820534 978-1613820537
Wilde was both a glittering wordsmith and a social outsider. His drama emerges out of these two perhaps contradictory identities, combining epigrammatic brilliance and shrewd social observation. This book includes "Lady Windermere's Fan", "Salome", "A Woman of No Importance", "An Ideal Husband", "A Florentine Tragedy" and "The Importance of Being Earnest", which appears in full with the 'Grigsby' scene which originally made up the fourth act.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The Importance of Being Earnest + Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead + Waiting for Godot (Eng rev): A Tragicomedy in Two Acts
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"In short, there is material aplenty here for the average reader and considerable matter for the specialist." --English Literature in Transition 1880-1920


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A collection of literature anthologies and reference books for Key Stage 3 onwards. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Brown (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613820534
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613820537
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,243,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
102 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilde's wittiest 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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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People" is one of the first plays written in English since the works of Shakespeare that celebrates the language itself. Oscar Wilde's comedy has one advantage over the classic comedies of the Bard in that "The Importance of Being Earnest" is as funny today as it was when it was first performed at the St. Jame's Theater in London on February 14, 1895. After all, enjoying Shakespeare requires checking the bottom for footnotes explaining the meaning of those dozens of words that Shakespeare makes up in any one of his plays. But Wilde's brilliant wit, his humor and social satire, remain intact even though he was a writer of the Victorian era.
Wilde believed in art for art's own sake, which explains why he emphasized beauty while his contemporaries were dealing with the problems of industrial England. "The Importance of Being Earnest" is set among the upper class, making fun of their excesses and absurdities while imbuing them with witty banter providing a constant stream of epigrams. The play's situation is simple in its unraveling complexity. Algernon Moncrieff is an upper-class English bachelor who is visited by his friend Jack Worthing, who is known as "Ernest." Jack has come to town to propose to Gwendolen Fairfax, the daugher of the imposing Lady Bracknell and Algy's first cousin. Jack has a ward named Cecily who lives in the country while Algernon has an imaginary friend named "Bunbury" whom he uses as an excuse to get out of social engagements.
Jack proposes to Gwendolen but has two problems.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great version of the Classic Play 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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST EDITION OF THE PLAYS... November 22, 2005
By B.E.F.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
All you Wildeans take note: this is the only edition of the plays wherein the lines are properly numbered for specific citation and easy reference: very, very important!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Importance of the whole Text November 9, 2004
By Tusker
Format:Paperback
An extraordinary play; witty, profound and beautiful. And even better if you read all of it. Which you won't if you buy the Penguin copy with Edith Evans on the front, since this version is heavily abridged. Which is fine except the publishers make no mention of this at all in the volume. And cultural vandalism of this kind should, I feel at least be acknowledged.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever and witty even today! August 7, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is Wilde's best play, it is fast moving, has wonderful characters (especially the women), and funnily enough is still a pretty accurate observation of society. Perhaps nothing ever really changes! At the core of the play is the name Earnest, and all that it means to the various characters, and how their white lies and complicated lives catch up with them. And the lines - wonderful ones like "I always carry my diary - a lady should always have something scandalous to read on the train", and "if you are not too long, I shall wait for you forever!". Be assured, all works out well in the end, and all shall be revealed as to how important it is to be Earnest.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Is Impotant To Be Earnest October 5, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had no knowledge of Oscar Wilde and had only seen ten minutes of the movie, The Importance of Being Earnest, as I flipped through the cable channels on my television. However, due to a class that I am enrolled in, not only do I now know who he is but I am blessed to have been introduced to his work.
The Importance of Being Earnest, makes a very humorous yet profound commentary on money, marriage, status and image as it pertains to the aristocracy of that time. It seems that Oscar Wilde utilized this medium of artistic expression to cleverly expose the twisted way that those with wealth perceived themselves and the lengths they would go to the preserve that perception. It has been referred to as a "comedy of manners" because so much of what defined or distinguished the aristocracy from the common man was not necessarily the wealth that they actually had but what men and women did to appear like they had it.
Ernest, who is the main character in the play, has done all of what is necessary to appear as though he comes from wealth. He wears the clothing, keeps the company and talks the talk of the aristocrat. However what he soon finds out is that all of those whom he is trying to impress and fit in with, have more unresolved issues in their closet than he does. I believe Wilde addresses this social paradox with impeccable wit and an amazing sense of human psychology. He not only challenged those who belonged to the aristocracy to examine what they placed value in, but continues to challenge each reader today, that these superficial values might not stand as valuable at all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh so funny
This short play is so very funny because it is so well written and right on regarding human behavior. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Chuck Finley
5.0 out of 5 stars Jeremy Clyde is a delight !
Not known widely as an actor in the US and a thorough delight. I could listen for hours on end. What chops !!
Published 1 month ago by Bonnie Margolis
5.0 out of 5 stars Hillarious
One of my favorite reads. If you are into literature and want to enjoy something in one sitting - this is for you. Read more
Published 2 months ago by b00kll0vr
5.0 out of 5 stars great play.
great play -- wonderful satire of that era with lots of double entendres. Used it for our play reading group and it was a hit!
Published 3 months ago by cljuster
4.0 out of 5 stars Light-hearted, witty and charming
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. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Imran Lorgat
2.0 out of 5 stars The edition published by Forgotten Books is unacceptable quality
I bought the edition published by "Forgotten Books". The text is like a digitized version of a poor photocopy. Read more
Published 8 months ago by B. J. Ford
4.0 out of 5 stars This audio book that captures the tone of the play
This version of play was good and the actors captured the tone of the play well. The actors playing Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew were very good. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kingston Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent shape
The book is in absolutely excellent shape. I can't remember if it was advertised as new or very good shape, but it was like new. No musty smell. Great font. Stiff book. Read more
Published 9 months ago by AmazingSupergirl
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I thought it would be
Just wanted to read this acclaimed play. It was not as interesting as I thought it would be to read. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Hate classics but loved this one
Classics are not my thing but my daughter had to read this for her AP Lit Class. I read it because it was there and loved it. Short and entertaining!
Published 9 months ago by AMG
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