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The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar…

The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)

by Oscar Wilde

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (99)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (106)
Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
A perfect cure for sadness. ( )
  Irena. | Jan 28, 2016 |
This is a well-known classic which I've seen on screen but don't think I had previously read the original play. A free e-book edition encouraged me to try it, and I was surprised at how easy it was to read despite the stage directions and dramatic format.

The story is a satirical jab at the silliness of society at the end of the 19th century, featuring two men who invent fictitious lives in order to escape from their families for a while. Two girls fall in love with them, but insist that they can only ever love men called Ernest...

I found myself smiling a few times, and irritated at others by the trivialities of upper-class society - but then that's the point of it, really. It's not a long play, and I read it in just a couple of days. Well worth reading, in my view. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
I love this more with each rereading... ( )
  Gingermama | Jan 24, 2016 |
The single longest joke set-up in history. Brilliant. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Jan 21, 2016 |
This is one of my absolute favorite plays! I remember reading this in high school and instantly adoring the dialogue and the dry wit. And of course the nonsense.

This particular copy is the same I had in high school, but I never read any of the supplemental material included. The most interesting of these was the original fourth act which was apparently never produced. Think of it as a series of deleted scenes, but the best is the scene where a creditor shows up looking for "Ernest" for the large debt he owes and gets mixed up in the name game Algernon and Jack are playing. It's a funny scene, but in the end unnecessary because the jokes are used earlier. It does explain Jack's later reference to the champagne Algy drinks, which isn't shown in the final version.

There are also a series of critical reviews throughout the years, the first from George Bernard Shaw after the original performance. It's interesting reading. ( )
  regularguy5mb | Dec 25, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (196 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Oscar Wildeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holland, VyvyanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, AlanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Popkin, HenryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Eight Great Comedies by Sylvan Barnet

Five Plays by Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde: The Complete Plays, Stories, Poems, and Novels by Oscar Wilde

Three Plays by Oscar Wilde

The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde

Cavalcade of comedy; 21 brilliant comedies from Jonson and Wycherley to Thurber and Coward by Louis Kronenberger

The Plays of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde

Sixteen Famous British Plays by Bennett A. Cerf

Plays, Prose Writings and Poems (Everyman's Library) by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays (Penguin Classics) by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest / Lady Windermere's Fan / A Woman of No Importance / An Ideal Husband / Salomé by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest: And Other Plays (Modern Library Classics) by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays (Enriched Classics Series) by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest / Salomé / Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde

The Importance Of Being Earnest And Other Plays by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest / Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde

The Bedford Introduction to Drama by Lee A. Jacobus

Contemporary Drama: 15 Plays by E. Bradlee Watson

Opere by Oscar Wilde

Masterpieces of the Drama by Alexander W. Allison

English drama in transition, 1880-1920 by Henry F. Salerno

The Longman Anthology of British Literature, Volume 2B: The Victorian Age by David Damrosch

Selected Works : The picture of Dorian Grey ; De Profundis ; The Canterville ghost ; The importance of being Ernest ; Lady Windermere's fan by Oscar Wilde

The Oscar Wilde Collection: 3 volume set. Stories; Plays and Poems; Essays and Letters by Oscar Wilde

The Complete Plays by Oscar Wilde

A Treasury of the Theatre: From Henrik Ibsen to Robert Lowell by John Gassner

Selections from Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde

The Genius of the Later English Theater by Sylvan Barnet

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First words
Morning-room in Algernon's flat in Half-Moon Street. The room is luxuriously and artistically furnished.
Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?
LADY BRACKNELL: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
ALGERNON: Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?
LANE: I didn't think it polite to listen, sir.
ALGERNON: I am sorry for that, for your sake. I don't play accurately—anyone can play accurately—but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.
ALGERNON: Good heavens! Is marriage so demoralising as that?
LANE: I believe it is a very pleasant state, sir. I have had very little experience of it myself up to the present. I have only been married once. That was in consequence of a misunderstanding between myself and a young person.
ALGERNON: Oh! it is absurd to have a hard-and-fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read.
JACK: I am quite aware of the fact, and I don't propose to discuss modern culture. It isn't the sort of thing one should talk of in private.
ALGERNON: The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!
JACK: That wouldn't be at all a bad thing.
ALGERNON: Literary criticism is not your forte, my dear fellow. Don't try it. You should leave that to people who haven't been at a University. They do it so well in the daily papers.
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Please do not combine with works that contain any work other than The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486264785, Paperback)

Witty and buoyant comedy of manners is brilliantly plotted from its effervescent first act to its hilarious denouement, and filled with some of literature's most famous epigrams. Widely considered Wilde's most perfect work, the play is reprinted here from an authoritative early British edition. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:32 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

"First published 1899 in the United Kingdom. Drawing room comedy exposing quirks and foibles of Victorian society with plot revolving around amorous pursuits of two men who face social obstacles when they woo young ladies of quality. This play 'is noted for its witty lines, its clever situations, and its satire on the British nobility and clergy.'" Reader's Ency 4th ed.… (more)

» see all 15 descriptions

Legacy Library: Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

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24 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140436065, 1405801735


An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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