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The Plays of Oscar Wilde
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The Plays of Oscar Wilde

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  948 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: Act in A Broad Corridor In The Duke's Palace To left, a window affording a view over Padua by moonlight. To right, a flight of steps leading to a door, before which hangs a curtain of crimson ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by General Books (first published 1908)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,857)
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Vera; or, The Nihilists 3,5/5
The Duchess of Padua 3,5/5
Salome 5/5
Lady Windermere's Fan 4.5/5
A Woman of No Importance 4/5
An Ideal Husband 4/5
The Importance of Being Earnest 5/5
La Sainte Courtisane 4.5/5
A Florentine Tragedy 3/5

Giving the book a 5/5 because I love living in a world where I can buy every play Oscar Wilde's ever written, including excerpts from unfinished works, in a single book for ~2€; and also because some of the plays are truly brilliant.
I find it difficult to rate collections, as the individual parts almost always vary in quality. For this collection, I thought that I would give a very brief review & a rating for each play...

Lady Windermere's Fan - 4 stars; funny play about the importance (or lack thereof) of appearances re married women & their virtue

Salomé - 3 stars; I like the satire but the Biblical setting just wasn't my thing.

A Woman of No Importance - 2½ stars; to be quite honest, this play made so little impress
I have read almost everything Wilde wrote, and other than his last work, "De Profundis" (his letter to his once-boyfriend from JAIL, where he was imprisoned for being gay), he generally annoys the shit out of me.

Yes, he's witty, and he's amusing to hear people quote at a cocktail party, but his plays are melodramatic (worse than an episode of "One Life to Live") and his works deny all real human feelings that aren't pretty, scandalous, or quotable, like self-loathing or ennui. This makes me feel
NinaRene Soreco
What can I say? It's Oscar Wilde! I love how entertaining he is even now. You can really see the genesis of Monty Python in his writing.
Since it's not a book, but a collection, I'll try to write a bit about every play.

Vera; or, the Nihilists – 4/5 – a political tragedy, where a bunch of conspirators want to assassinate the Tzar. I loved the commentary on power and monarchy, as well as some subtle digs at Russia that have not lost any of their accuracy ("nothing is impossible in Russia, except for reform"). The story of love blooming between people who should be mortal enemies (the titular Vera and the Tzarevitch) was also great.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
My introduction to Oscar Wilde was the 1999 film made of An Ideal Husband with Rupert Everett and Minnie Driver. I loved it! Witty, romantic. So one day when I saw this book in a used book store, I grabbed it. As it turned out, I had read, or rather experienced another of these plays before--Salome. It's the outlier among the five plays included here. The rest are light comedies set in England among the titled rich in the present day of the plays' writing. Salome is an overwrought verse Biblical ...more
محمد عبادة
- Vera - or The Nihilists - is the first (apprentice) play written by Wilde .. Can be called primitive within the context of the Wildean Evolution ..
- The Duchess of Padua is seemingly the only verse play in this collection, being written in Iambic Pentameter in blank verse after the fashion of Shakespeare .. Neo-Classicist in many senses .. Nonetheless, studded with epigrams ushering the development of the general mood in which Wilde will later write his great plays and his solitary novel ..
- S
I've always rather felt, in regards to Wilde, that he writes fabulously about very witty people with whom I'd completely hate to be stuck in a room. There's a posed, surface quality to his work that's indicative of both the author and the time he wrote in - and, like both, much going on beneath that polished facade.

Reading Wilde's dramatic work at one go the way this collection presents them draws attention both to his obvious claim to the title of Founding Member of the Green Party (the man ne
On account of my edition,
"Lady Windermere's Fan"
I had a few dissappointments in this play. The dialogues were clever etc, but the morality and the conclusion were celarly pushed upon by Wilde.
"A Woman Of No Importance"
I really liked the play, esp. the two characters Lord Illingworth and Mrs. Allonby.
"An Ideal Husband"
Very witty and enjoyable, a really good one. Lord Goring as the voice of Wilde himself, is very entertaining.
"The Importance of Being Earnest"
As a re-read this marvellous play again
Bronwen Barton
only had to read the importance of being earnest for uni but I think at some point I might delve into the rest of these as it was really good
I love reading compendiums, but perhaps I should start to avoid reading Victorian/Edwardian compendiums. While it may well be my favorite English literature time period; the is a wearying sameness that burns away some of the delight. For me in the palys, it is the setup/outrageous rejoinder that was tiresome. Read a play, put it aside and read something else. Come back later, and you will be much happier. The plays were wonderful, and witty, and worthy of a read or see.
Kurt Simmons
Read The importance of Being Earnest. It was a humorous, lighthearted, madcap comedy. Worth reading if you are at all interested in literature - a good study of dialogue.
I understand now why The Importance of Being Earnest is his famous play. That one was great, and I also liked A Woman of No Importance and An Ideal Husband. Many of the others were just bad -- melodramatic, hollow. Vera and the fragments were a bit embarrassing. I read the plays between other novels, though, and it was a good way to take a break from all of the Zadie Smith, DFW, and George Saunders I've been reading this summer.
A. Mary
There are those who say Wilde shouldn't be considered an Irish author, for a variety of reasons, but his facility with satire trumps all that, in my opinion. His plays are sizzling satires on Victorian high society--he mocks them in their faces. That's what satire is. It's a potent weapon and has a significant presence in Irish writing since the mythic poets used it against their enemies.
This is the expurgated version. One of my favourite lines has been edited out. In The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Bracknell's response below loses everything before the semi-colon. What a shame.[return][return][return]Jack: I have lost both my parents.[return][return]Lady Bracknell: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
I read two of the plays from this book for book club - "Lady Windemere's Fan" and "The Importance of Being Earnest." Wilde has an excellent writing style and great wit. These plays are satires about the upper class in London during the Victorian era. These were very quick, fun reads and had you laughing at their absurdness. There are some great one-liners in the plays.
Oscar Wilde lives up to his name. His plays are always a pleasure, with unexpected surprises. He likes to mask passion (small wonder given his charge of indecency!) in a variety of ways: good manners, nonchalance, outlandish and improbable schemes, irony, and wit.

These are worth multiple readings, spaced a few years apart.
The plays included

Vera (didn't like)
Duchess of Padua (really didn't like)
Salome (didn't like)
Lady Windermere's Fan (liked)
A Woman of No Importance (really liked)
An Ideal Husband (liked)
The Importance of Being Earnest (liked)
La Sainte Courtisane (okay)
A Florentine Tragedy (okay)

--Lady Windermere's Fan
--An Ideal Husband
--The Importance of being Earnest
--A Woman of No Importance
--The Duchess of Padua
--Vera, or The Nihilists
--A Florentine Tragedy
--La Sainte Courtisane
Oscar Wilde is my favorite playwright. Reading certain lines still make me laugh out loud. A delight to spend an afternoon or evening on.

From best to worst: The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, Salome
My reviews/synopses of the plays can be read at
One of my favorite playwrights. He wrights such empowered female leads. My favorite play in the book is Vera.
Hehe, he's so witty! I've only read a 4 of the plays so far, but every one has made me chuckle. A lot.
Jordan Simmonds
Absolutely loved it. Written with Wit and a moral tone that only one such as Wilde could muster.
James Violand
Uneven, but mostly humorous, especially the Importance of Being Earnest.
Kelly Walters
Wonderful. But I expected nothing less from this gentleman.
The Importance of Being Earnest - 5/5
Desaid Van
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Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being E ...more
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