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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 (166 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:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #585,799 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is it Important to be Earnest? 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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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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Side Splitting Comedy 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stay away from Dover Thrift Version December 31, 2013
By B Wo
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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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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely AMAZING! 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Havent read yet but cheap
Published 1 month ago by jon singer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but the movie rounds it out
After viewing the movie with Colin Firth and Rupert Everett, I just had to get this book. Only a small portion is deleted in the movie, but the opening scene is different from the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lynelle
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 1 month ago by Kristi Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great play and sent in great condition.!
Published 1 month ago by Celina Leroy
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good condition of a very nice collection.
Published 1 month ago by Steve
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 2 months ago by Reader2307
3.0 out of 5 stars The cd came in good condition but the case was cracked in multiple...
The cd came in good condition but the case was cracked in multiple places and one corner came off. It would have been 4 stars since the product itself is great and the voices used... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jordan Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Do Not Use Made-Up Family As It May Result in Hilarious Consequences
This short comedic play in three acts is filled with zany made-up identities in Oscar Wilde's witty style. Read more
Published 2 months ago by amazon addict
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Required reading for freshman in college.
Published 2 months ago by S. Rawls
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and Ridiculously Satirical
This must be one of the greatest comedic plays of its time. The way the personalities come together in a serious, yet evolving, Victorian society has you laughing the whole way... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Happy cookie
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