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The Importance of Being Earnest (Illustrated) [Kindle Edition]

Oscar Wilde , ICU Publishing
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Importance of being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at St. James's Theatre in London, the play is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personae in order to escape burdensome obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways. Contemporary reviews all praised the play's humour, though some were cautious about its explicit lack of social messages, while others foresaw the modern consensus that it was the culmination of Wilde's artistic career so far. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde's most enduringly popular play.

The successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde's career but also heralded his downfall. The Marquess of Queensberry, father of Lord Alfred Douglas, an intimate friend of Wilde, planned to present Wilde a bouquet of spoiling vegetables and disrupt the show. Wilde was tipped off and Queensberry was refused admission. Soon afterwards the feud came to a climax in court, and Wilde's new notoriety caused the play, despite its success, to be closed after just 86 performances. After imprisonment, he published the play from Paris but wrote no further comic or dramatic work. The Importance of Being Earnest has been revived many times since its premiere and adapted for the cinema on three occasions, in 1952, 1992 and 2002.

The book includes illustrations and a link of Free audiobook for download using a PC or Mac at the end of the book.

Product Description


Comes as close to perfection as any comedy I can think of. --Daily Telegraph


'Oscar Wilde's Victorian comedy of manners can still seem thrillingly contemporary - the sharp repartee and delicious skeweing of hypocrisy and pomposity can still make you laugh out loud.' Siobhan Murphy, Metro (London), 10.7.09 'The Importance of Being Earnest' is the most perfect high comedy in the English language.' Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph, 10.7.09 'a revelation of inter-personal social engineering that keeps things firmly in the family in a gloriously superficial piece of serious fun.' Neil Cooper, Herald, 25.10.10 'A treasure trove of delicious aphorisms and quotable epigrams' Robert Dawson Scott, The Times, 27.10.10 'Wilde's 1895 masterpiece is a magnificent piece of theatre' Joyce McMillan, Scotsman, 29.10.10 'a biting satire wrapped in a romantic comedy' Mark Brown, Sunday Herald, 31.10.10 'Wilde's tale of love, snobbery, misunderstandings and unlikely coincidences' Mark Brown, Sunday Herald, 31.10.10 'Oscar Wilde's most celebrated comedy' Allan Radcliffe, List, 4.11.10

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3437 KB
  • Print Length: 108 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: ICU Publishing (7 Jan. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #339,687 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
"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. First, Gwendolen is wiling to agree because his name is Ernest, a name that "seems to inspire absolute confidence," but which, of course, is not his true Christian name.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshingly interesting read at A-level 4 July 2001
By A Customer
I am currently studying The Importance of Being Earnest for my English Literature A-level and I can honestly say it is the best piece of writing I have studied so far. Funny, ironic and completely truthful, this play is based on people's behaviour, especially the behaviour of the aristocracy, which is, at times, nothing short of stupid, but that's where the humour lies. The play is fairly short, (A-level students everywhere heave a sigh of relief) but this doesn't prevent it from being complicated- those who have trouble remembering names might like to steer clear (at one point, two people claim to be the same person, even though this person doesn't exist). However, this doesn't make the play particularly difficult; once you have established the plot, it falls into place. A word of warning: if you have no sense of humour you will find this play a bore. For the rest of us, though, it's a highly enjoyable read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Despite the fact that I usually like to watch plays, not so much to read them on paper, I found "The Importance of Being Earnest" a very enjoyable reading. The plot is greatly witty and I had a real fun reading several scenes described in this book. Given the theatrical style, the overall plot is not quite realistic, yet it is highly brilliant and full of "English" humor. After having read the book, I also bought the Audio-CD version of it, which I also enjoyed sincerely.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Importance of Reading Earnest 13 Dec. 2004
By A Customer
I personally think that this play is fantastic. Superficially it is a very trivial, lighthearted play with little plot but peppered with witty conceits. On a deeper level it provides an incredible, satirical view of Victorian moral society, from one of the the 'insiders'. The links between the play and the life of Wilde are rife, especially regarding Algernon. I would recommend it wholeheartedly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length: 3:49 Mins
First broadcast as a four-act play by BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Day 1977, this purely audio adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic 1895 comedy 'The Importance of Being Earnest' featured the likes of Jeremy Clyde as Algernon Moncrieff, Richard Pasco as John Worthing, Prunella Scales as Cecily Cardew and Maurice Denham as The Rev. Canon Chasuable.

In 2010, the BBC released the recording in a 2 CD audio book format, as part of their Classic Radio Theatre series. The recording is crisp and clear, delivering a perfect representation of the original broadcast.

The performance was directed by Ian Cotterell, who went on to do similar adaptations of popular classics, notably Alice in Wonderland (also in 1977) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (1985). With 'The Importance of Being Earnest', Cotterell sets down a constantly flowing rhythm to the storyline's pace, allowing for an entertaining and engaging adaptation of this humorous classic.

Jeremy Clyde's exceptional performance as Algernon Moncrieff is one of the strongest elements to the production. His comically playful voice adds a joyful quality to each line. Indeed, every time Clyde speaks of Moncrieff's fictional friend 'Bunbury' or the art of 'Bunburying', the listener can't help but snigger at the whole elaborate affair.

All in all this is a triumphant adaptation of a much loved and enjoyed comedy classic by such a literary great. The pace and flow of the storyline is spot on, and the delivery from each member of the cast is simply superb. The recording itself is flawless, making an altogether excellent presentation. This is an item that is well worth purchasing.

The audio book runs for a total of 2 hours and 20 minutes.
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