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The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People (1899) [Kindle Edition]

Oscar Wilde
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The importance of being earnest : a trivial comedy for serious people (1899)


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


Review


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



Product Details

  • File Size: 9936 KB
  • Print Length: 132 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004IEA8SS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,173 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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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55 of 60 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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12 of 12 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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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 also know that I now like British writing and British humor
I have taken up a journey of reading or re-reading a classic every 3-6 months. As you read this, also know that I now like British writing and British humor. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent read, and Wilde-ly funny
Published 1 month ago by Jim Leary
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read - a classic!
Published 1 month ago by Tom
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick and Witty
A fun read with a quick pace. The humor is present on every page, written with a detail that fuels the image of the time. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Neal Graham
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining
Fun!
Published 3 months ago by Anne Linn
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
This time honoured classic is hilarious. Brilliantly written with enough twists and turns to keep you turning the pages. Love it
Published 3 months ago by Stephen Reid
5.0 out of 5 stars Oscar Wilde's last play was brilliant!
Where does The Importance of Being Earnest: Free Performance rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far? Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kristi Richardson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good condition of a very nice collection.
Published 3 months ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Not serious literature, but very entertaining.
One reviewer complained that the story is 'fluff'. It is also completely implausible. It reminded me of the Marx brothers. I found it thoroughly entertaining and humorous. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Steve Wiley
5.0 out of 5 stars "You can never be over-educated or over-dressed." Oscar Wilde
This play is a wickedly funny comedy about victoran bachelors Algernon Moncrieff and Ernest Worthing. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Reader2307
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