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

Oscar Wilde
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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

Editorial Reviews


"Samuel Lyndon Gladden's edition of The Importance of Being Earnest continues Broadview Press's proven tradition of excellence. This book will serve the undergraduate, general reader, and scholar. Gladden's introduction is provocative, and the ancillary materials are especially welcome. Gladden balances familiar with unexpected contemporary works – from Gilbert and Sullivan to Ada Leverson, playbills to reviews, poems to pictures, conduct manuals to dandy tracts – plus excerpts of Wilde's writings, including an earlier version of the play. Bibliography and chronology complete the presentation as one-stop shopping for an earnest acquaintance with Wilde's charmer as social text." (Frederick S. Roden)

"Broadview's Importance of Being Earnest carries on the press's excellent series of texts for general readers and students alike. Samuel Lyndon Gladden presents the three-act text, as well as an appendix with important scenes and lines from the original four-act version. The volume includes many useful annotations and glosses, appendices with contextual information, illustrations, and extracts from letters and documents that will enhance understanding and interpretation of the play. The introduction places the play in up-to-date critical and biographical contexts, illuminating issues without closing down other approaches to making sense of Wilde's carefully composed dramatic nonsense." (Philip E. Smith)


"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: 12080 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: #841,783 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smacked Down! February 5, 2010
By T.M.T.
Dr. Gladden provides tremendous insight not only into Oscar Wilde's life as the ultimate dandiacal Victorian writer but also into the Victorians as a people, culture, and era in British history. This book bridges the gap between Wilde's life and his work, making those otherwise imperceptible connections available and accessible to any reader interested in literature, history, drama, or any combination of the three. This book represents the manifestation of true scholarship at its finest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever Word Play November 5, 2010
Oscar Wilde was at the peak of his play writing abilities when he penned "The Importance of Being Earnest". It was a peak that was to be cut short by the sensational trial that sent him to jail for two years because of homosexual actions. While one does not need to know Wilde's background to enjoy the play, some insight into what certain words might have meant in Victorian slang certainly put a different twist on the play. In the "The Importance of Being Earnest" Wilde uses humor to turn conventional relationships and staid Victorian morality on its head.

The play centers around two men, Jack and Algernon. Jack wants to propose to Algernon's cousin Gwendolen, but her mother does not think him an eligible bachelor. Not to mention the fact that Gwendolen believes Jack to be named Ernest and that there is a whole slew of things he has keep hidden from her. Algernon tells Jack that he is a Bunburyist, for he pretends to have a brother so he can come up to the city (that would be Ernest) while Algernon pretends to have an invalid friend named Bunbury so that he can escape to the country. When Gwendolen asks Jack for his country address, Algernon overhears and heads out to Jack's house, pretending to be his brother Ernest, so that he can meet Jack's ward, Cecily. The two fall in love, for Cecily always wanted to marry someone named Ernest. This is all to Jack's chagrin when he arrives on the scene and finds he must confess the truth to Gwendolen. Yet the convoluted plot has a way of working out for the best of everyone involved.

"The Importance of Being Earnest" is an extremely thin plotted play, which allows Wilde's witticisms and humor to shine through. Throughout there is a strand of anti-marriage jokes and unexpected reversals of the expected sayings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud funny! September 6, 2009
Even over a hundred years after its original publication, this tale of mistaken identity and silly social farce continues to not only entertain, but you will be laughing out loud! Jack and Algernon are best friends, who amusingly get tangled in the web of being mistaken for Earnest and falling in love with women who are mesmerized by the name Earnest, which as Jack's object of affection Gwendolen puts it: "it inspires absolute confidence". When the four lovers visit Jack's country home at the same time, the proverbial custard hits the fan. But never fear, a convenient twist resolves matters to everyone's satisfaction all with wit, fun, farce and its hilarious!

Just read it! It's just funny, funny, funny!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars General Books Problem...Not the book March 24, 2010
Verified Purchase
I ordered this for my daughters birthday and Amazon delivered right on her birthday. My daughter is a huge Oscar Wilde fan! Unfortunately, the book was full of garbage text. It was printed by General Books the day I ordered it. I then requested a replacement. Once again, it was printed the day I made my request and it contained the exact garbage text that the original order contained. Here is an example of the garbage text that this book contained...(Jk*he$. HeL*) This was all throughout the book. Then half the book looked like some bizarre glossary that didn't even belong to this book. The entire book was worthless both times and I requested a refund. I can't give a proper review on the book as it was unreadable!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful! September 13, 2009
There is just no reason to not like this play! I've seen it many times, (whenever there is even a high school production I like to support it, and go), so I read this play from time to time, and each time laugh out loud as much as the first time.

No need to review Earnest as if its a new book, you already know how good it is, I just wanted to say that I had purchased this new edition for a friends birthday, and I was very happy with it - nice cover, delightful edition!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Edition Very Poor Quality April 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I hadn't read this play in years and was looking forward to reading it again. I purchased the Kindle edition.
It's a mess -- typos, misspellings, punctuation errors (and really annoying ones, like ampersands instead of apostrophes, dollar signs instead of quotation marks).
Yeah, I know it was just a few dollars, but it's still a big disappointment.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought the edition published by "Forgotten Books". The text is like a digitized version of a poor photocopy. Some text is so large it runs off the page and gets truncated, and several pages were so faintly reproduced they were illegible. I had never heard of this publisher, so when I did some research and saw they offered free books for download at their website, I thought maybe I could make do with reprinting the bad pages. Turns out, unless you pay, only selected pages are downloaded, and other pages of text are arbitrarily replaced with advertisements for services the publisher charges for.
I returned it to Amazon for credit, and ordered a copy from a different publisher. Fortunately Amazon is great about that. Thanks Amazon! Hopefully they will continue to cater to readers who have resisted the conversion to digital.
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