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The Importance of Being Earnest

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  163,380 ratings  ·  4,517 reviews
Oscar Wilde's madcap farce about mistaken identities, secret engagements, and lovers entanglements still delights readers more than a century after its 1895 publication and premiere performance. The rapid-fire wit and eccentric characters of The Importance of Being Earnest have made it a mainstay of the high school curriculum for decades.

Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax
Paperback, 76 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Prestwick House Inc. (first published February 14th 1895)
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When I was quite young – I guess, if you were of a mind to, you might say it was a generation ago – I was listening to a radio program and for some reason they decided to do the handbag scene from The Importance of Being Earnest. I’d heard of the play before, obviously, but only the name. I had thought it would be some terribly dreary thing, having no idea just how funny a man Wilde was. The guy on the radio gave it quite a build up – saying something to the effect that this scene is not just on ...more
May 06, 2012 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: blog
I have come to a basic conclusion: Oscar Wilde was the man. And this play proves it. Full of zingers, witty banter, the well-crafted insult, and all things that make Wilde, well, Wilde, the play had me laughing out loud at lines like "The only way to behave to a woman is to make love to her, if she is pretty, and to someone else if she is plain" or, as a resigned Jack realizes none of them may be married, "Then a passionate celibacy is all that any of us can look forward to."

Also characteristic
Oscar Wildre was pretty darn quotable, wasn't he:

The only way to behave to a woman is to make love to her if she is pretty and to someone else if she is plain.

To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.

In married life, three is company, and two is none.

I have always been of opinion that a man who desires to get married should know either everything o
Emily May
“If you are not too long, I will wait for you all my life.”

Ah, Mr Wilde can always be counted on to make me laugh, to poke fun at the ridiculousness of human behaviour, to tell a story that is both incredibly clever and undeniably silly. The Importance of Being Earnest is a play about mistaken identity, lies, the English class system, and the never-ending vanity and selfishness of high society members. And it's hilarious. It's one of few pre-20th century comedies to have maintained it's laugh fa
Arthur Graham

I'm Ernest P. Worrell, and I approve this message.


Now, there's been an awful lotta discussion goin' on 'round these parts, lotsa blow-hards and no-brains spoutin' off their own uninformed, silly-ass opinions on the matter, but me I'm fixin' to put an end to all this nonsense, right here right now. Yessiree Bob, that's right -- I'm about to explain to y'all knuckleheads the TRUE importance of being Ernest, so listen up!

Lemme ask you somethin' -- Have you ever survived the Kikakee warrior initiati
Every line in The Importance of Being Earnest is an absolute gem. Remember these?

“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.”

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

“No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.”

Just three for a start - I had not realised quite how many of Oscar Wilde's bon mots originated in this particular play, which is subtitled, "A
Henry Avila
Algernon(Algy) Moncrieff, is being visited .By his enigmatic friend,Ernest Worthing. That is Ernest in town. And Jack(John),in the country.It's a long story.But we have time. Mr.Worthing,likes to go to town!Get as far as possible.From his responsibilities at home.Change his name to Ernest.Becomes his fake, younger brother.And do the wrong things.Everybody has secrets.Lies in fact flow like maple syrup on pancakes.That's the charm of this play.Finding out the truth.Strange but the facts. Will eve ...more
Comedy is tough to do well, even by those who create it, but it is even tougher to go back and restage past comedies for modern audiences. The easy explanation is that humour is such a product of its time that audiences are simply not capable of getting the jokes -- not truly. There may be something to that, but I think the real problem is more complex, and I think it can be remedied.

Most comedies, particularly those that hold up and become memorable classics, tell their jokes to make a point. G
Apr 27, 2015 Denisse rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Denisse by: Lau
Read for the 2015 Reading Challenge: #47 A play.
And for my 2015 Reading Resolutions: 5 classics

Is there anything more fun than mocking about the upper classes and how they used to think?

Archibaldo es un partido extremadamente aceptable. No tiene nada, pero aparenta mucho. ¿Que mas puede desearse?

Lau dijo que me iba a reir montones con este libro, así que ayer en la noche lo empecé!

Muy buena lectura, bastante amena y sumamente divertida si te gusta burlarte de las clases sociales. *ins
May 22, 2012 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Men named Earnest. Or Jack. Or Bunbury.
Plays are generally better heard than read (I find Shakespeare dull as dirt to read, though I enjoy watching his plays), and that is certainly true of this Victorian comedy of misdirection and misunderstanding. Oscar Wilde was in full satiric mode though his humor was perhaps gentler than usual, even though he was sending up Victorian manners and hypocrisy.

Lady Bracknell. [Pencil and note-book in hand.] I feel bound to tell you that you are not down on my list of eligible young men, although I
I started reading this play on the train while commuting, and had to stop myself after reading few pages because I found it impossible to suppress my laughter and as a result of it, I noticed I was attracting reproving looks from my fellow travelers. I can't remember reading anything as hilarious as this play. Wilde is the undisputed master of sardonic wit, which is cleverly employed in his characters' terse and opportune dialogues.

Some savouring quotes inculde:

"To lose one parent may be regard
May 24, 2007 Kelly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone, fans of comedies of manners.
One of the best plays I've ever read/been in. This review is going to be remarkably short, because I think experiencing Oscar Wilde is really not something to be done except by actually doing so. The joke of it is ruined otherwise. I will say the play is fast, witty, extremely bright, and incredibly perverse. It is possible to actually make people roll in the aisles on this one. I've read in several sources that even George Bernard Shaw did when he saw this for the first time. The muffins scene ...more
Oscar Wilde is my backup husband, after William Shakespeare.

I don't care that he was gay; he's also dead, but I'm not really making that an issue, am I?
Sumirti Singaravel
* Never read this book in a crowd.
* Never read this book when you are not alone.
* Never read this book after mid-night.
* Never read this book with the doors of your room kept open.
* Never read this book sitting down on the floor.

...because when I read this book in my room, with the doors open at 1.00 am, my mother woke up from her sleep and got awe-shocked at the manner I was rolling on the floor laughing, asked me, "It's been a long time I saw you laughing this way. What happened? Are you
I don't know what I was expecting when I opened this book. Something broody and serious and deep. Well, it certainly wasn't what I got.

I never expected it too be so funny, and I read it. Plays are so very rarely funny - I mean laugh out loud funny - when you read them, but this one was.

Oscar Wilde is an excellent writer (wow, who knew?) and I'll definitely be more active in reading his stuff. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Though I suspect he might have written this whole thing just so he co
Sanjay Gautam
Some times it makes me wonder that this play was written ages ago. This book seems to be a contemporary classic! It has all the spices of an Indian comedy movie.

p.s: It seems there are lots of movies, based on the theme of this play.
I don’t think there’s much I have to say about this that hasn’t been said. Like, gee, did you know Wilde was really witty and satirical? I know, it shocked me too… But in all seriousness, even reading this rather than seeing it performed, it has a wonderful flow and wit, and it’s really funny. I don’t normally have much patience with plays, because they’re so much flatter on the page, and you don’t get the fun of watching actors/directors interpreting them, but I really enjoyed this anyway.

And y
Anthony D Buckley
When the frivolous Jack Worthing visits the country, he disguises himself as “Earnest” to escape from London Society. Unfortunately, he loves Gwendolyn, but she will never marry him if he is not truly Earnest. Her mother, Lady Bracknell, has parallel concerns. She wants her daughter to marry a man of good family. Unfortunately, not only is Jack not “Earnest”, it also turns out that he is a foundling. He was found in a handbag in the left luggage department at Victoria Station, on the Worthing li ...more
Sep 19, 2007 Mark rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
I think my take on Oscar Wilde plays is this: He is a man who wrote mildly amusing (really -- when was the last time you guffawed during a Wilde play?) plays in which the Wilde character always said wittily epigrammatic things which no casual partygoer could ever pull off on the spur of the moment. I believe I read someplace that Wilde himself would create and then practice these epigrams for hours in preparation for sprinkling them into conversations.

In other works, when characters are impossi
Can everything I ever read be like this? Sparkly and caustic and just kind of alive? I would spend my days lost in words.

Oscar Wilde is undoubtedly one of those rare real life quotemachines whom I'm undyingly jealous of. You know, those people who manage to speak as though their words were meant to be graven for the ages and not just immediately swallowed up by the void. From profundity to wittiness, he has a knack for presenting small truths in exquisite packages.

I suspect that every review of
“In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing.”

Here is a quote in a truly Wildean spirit, one of those sayings that Umberto Eco called “aforismi cancrizzabili” (how the heck do you translate this into English?); in other words, a reversible aphorism (and you seem to be able to reverse it all right: “In matters of grave importance, sincerity, not style is the vital thing”), a second-hand aphorism somehow, since the interest for “jeu de mots” outmatches the need to expre
"Viviamo, mi spiace doverlo dire, in un'epoca superficiale."

E Oscar Wilde che fa, quindi? Scrive una commedia teatrale per prendere un po' in giro i suoi contemporanei. Con la loro mania dell'etichetta, del trovare il giusto consorte per i propri figli, e tutte le fissazioni superficiali degli inglesi dell'Ottocento. Con tanto di thé bevuto con molto garbo, ma quello non poteva mancare.
Io non impazzisco per Wilde, che diciamocelo, è uno degli autori "classici" più in voga, specie a scuola. Lo l
Almost every line is a gem. Yes, it's all very self-consciously clever, and there are holes in the plot, but that's not the point. Try to pick your favourite 5 quotes from it, or even two dozen - impossible as there are too many contenders.
Magrat Ajostiernos

Derroche de ingenio, ironía, diversión…
Me he reído a carcajada limpia un buen número de veces, y eso no es fácil
Eti Mishra
Holy Mother! I must say that this play is hilarious.

This is one of that book that I can read over and over again and still can enjoy every bit of it.And I want more books like this,really.

To be true I never expected this to be so damn funny, like funny from the beginning to the end.This play has it all,humor, fun, good dialogues( good :/ no,best dialogues), witty characters and people full of amusement. I loved everything.

And now I can say, I'm in love with this man's writing, Oscar Wilde, he re
This short little play is hysterical. I found myself laughing out loud several times, and giggling like a crazy person in between. Seriously fun. :D
Compared to The Picture of Dorian Gray this is simple, succinct and witty. The medium is an effective foil to Wilde's excesses, and his mockery of the hypocritical aristocracy is often enjoyable. However, Wilde does not seriously question the right of his characters to their privilege - his criticism is light-hearted and his target is the way upper classes behave, not their existence. Also, the sexism of the day might excuse Wilde for creating stereotypical female characters, but not so much for ...more
Ah, Oscar Wilde. He always seems to be more contemporary that he really is ... a man of the 1900s rather than the 1800s. If he were around today, he'd probably write irreverent sitcoms rather than plays.

This one had me chuckling quite a bit at its silliness. I love how everyone is on the absurd side of reality. It was fun to finally experience the context of some of the well-known quotes from this play. And the ending was quite perfect, from being a lost baby in a handbook to being Ernest. Ha.

Every line was perfect.
ياسر أحمد
The story-line takes a backseat to the Wilde's dry wit, irreverent humour, and sarcastic witticisms.

Despite the fact that the play was written over a century ago, it remains very relevant even today, maybe even more so than when it was originally penned.

Funnily enough, the lead female characters in Wilde's play are portrayed to be shrewd and greedy, whereas, the gents are rather naive and lovestruck.

Most of the funny one-liners and epigrams are highly quotable even outside the context of the pla
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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
More about Oscar Wilde...
The Picture of Dorian Gray The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays   An Ideal Husband The Canterville Ghost The Happy Prince

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“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” 12689 likes
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” 4734 likes
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