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The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  39,161 Ratings  ·  358 Reviews
The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, Salome, An Ideal Husband)

Oscar Wilde was already one of the best-known literary figures in Britain when he was persuaded to turn his extraordinary talents to the theatre. Between 1891 and 1895 he produced a sequence of distinctive plays which spearheaded the dramatic renaissance of the 1890s
Paperback, 462 pages
Published May 25th 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1895)
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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtDubliners by James JoyceDracula by Bram StokerThe Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by W.B. Yeats
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8th out of 444 books — 527 voters
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157th out of 887 books — 4,873 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 07, 2013 Sketchbook rated it it was amazing
Shelves: currently
"Prism, where is that baby?" demands the damndest dowager in theatre history in OWs farcical masterpiece. Feeling blue ? Reread this comedic milestone for the most preposterous merriment outside of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit," with a bow to WS Gilbert and Sheridan. Wilde found his playwrighting voice just before The Fall. He turned unreal drawing-room nonsense into Art. Muffins, cucumber sandwiches, a handbag left at Victoria Station and a grande dame who burbles about train schedules : "We ha ...more
Luís Blue Yorkie
"Vulgarity is what others do, not us."

Three pieces that are worth be read, in my case, just for fun. Despite demonstrate impudence in satirizing the moral and ethics of the society of his time, Wilde was also somewhat moralistic toward the outcomes of his plays, ironically..
Apr 12, 2015 Richard rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Richard by: Trevor McCandless
I used to be an inveterate playgoer (one year, 1989 I think, I saw 52 plays).

The action and dialog on stage can be pretty quick. And if you're seeing a play that was written in another time for a different culture, that might be too quick to catch.

For example, the first line of Lady Windermere's Fan is from a butler stepping up to the lady of the house and asking "Is your ladyship at home this afternoon?" Our modern minds would probably surmise from such a question that the butler is asking whet
Jun 14, 2012 Marialyce rated it really liked it
Oscar Wilde is such joyous fun! He makes us look at ourselves in the most ironic and funny ways. Certainly he was a master of satire and in this play, he has presented the characters in what I have come to think of as the stiff British way. I loved that is poked a great deal of fun at the staid Victorian period. Mr Wilde himself was certainly everything else but staid and perhaps in thinking of him, we see a man born before his time.

The play on the words "Earnest" is fun and yet its does point t
May 02, 2016 Casey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads, favorites
So hilarious!

There's this:
“How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless."

"Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."

"I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.”

And This:

“To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.”

Apr 06, 2011 Zan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wrote my masters thesis on Wilde's society plays so this text was something like my Bible for a year. Wilde's genius lays not just in his wit but also in his undermining of the social structure he wants so desperately to belong to even as he knows he never will. I think his first two society plays are underrated as I think some of his best drawing room twaddle occurs in A Woman of No Importance. A full act of nearly no action is absolute genius. Many brilliant lunatics.

I just read Lady
Jan 27, 2012 Vishy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t read a play in a while – I think the last play I read was ‘Homecoming’ by Harold Pinter a few years back. So, I decided to read a few plays this year. The first one I got hold of was ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde. I have always admired Oscar Wilde’s wit and humour and so I was really looking forward to reading his most famous play. I finished reading it a couple of days back. Here is what I think.

What I think

‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is about two friends John
Yossor Jamal
Nov 21, 2015 Yossor Jamal rated it it was amazing
I am glad that sir Oscar lived up to his reputation
Ahmad Sharabiani
Salome, the importance of being earnest and lady windermer,s fan, Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)
عنوان: سالومه، اهمیت ارنست بودن و بادبزن خانم ویندرمر؛ اثر: اسکار وایلد؛ مترجم: محمد سعیدی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، بنگاه ترجمه و نشر کتاب، 1336، در 302 ص، چاپ دیگر: شرکت انتشارات علمی و فرهنگی، 1378، موضوع: نمایشنامه های نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن 19 م
مجموعه ی سه نمایشنامه: 1 - سالومه در 62 صفحه؛ 2- اهمیت ارنست بودن در 123 صفحه؛ 3 - بادبزن خانم ویندرمر در 116 صفحه
The Book Queen
May 28, 2015 The Book Queen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, classics
Witty, very intelligent, sharp and very funny: a wonderful collection. Absolute classic.
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
I have an undying adoration for The Importance of Being Earnest. It's the most fabulously ridiculous play, and I can't help but giggle every time I read it. It's hilarious from start to finish, from lines about handbags to Bunburying to aggressive muffin eating. Also, I always end up wanting muffins after I read this, and if it weren't absolutely pissing with rain right now, I would walk the three blocks to the supermarket to buy a packet of (English) muffins.

The other plays compiled in this vol
Oscar Gonzalez
Sep 18, 2013 Oscar Gonzalez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sepan-cuantos
Este libro abarca las 4 obras más importantes de Wilde, o aparentemente, las que tuvieron mayor éxito. Habiéndolas leído, no puedo mas que desear verlas en teatro, pero eso resulta imposible en la práctica. Muchos diálogos ágiles, brillantes. Los personajes como Henry Wotton de El retrato de Dorian Gray se multiplican: hombres y mujeres con un enorme cinismo llenan con aforismos de fina ironía las escenas, siempre ambientadas en la aristocracia británica. Las primeras cuatro obras tienen todo ...more
Mar 26, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: big-white-square
Lady Windermere’s Fan: "Do you want answers?" "I think I'm entitled to it." "You want answers?" "I want the truth!" "You can’t handle the truth!" Switch and repeat.

Salome: "They'll love it in Pomona." Mishima directed it in Japan!

A Woman of No Importance: A bit preachy and hysterical.

An Ideal Husband: "Do you want answers?" "I think I'm entitled to it." "You want answers?" "I want the truth!" "You can’t handle the truth! Oh, wait. It seems that you can." Switch and repeat.

A Florentine Tragedy: I
Mohammad Ali
ترجمه ترجمه ی متوسطی است - حتی در جاهایی منطق حکم می کند که جمله باید برعکس باشند ( حتی طبق اواخر داستان عمه آگوستا در واقع خاله آگوستا است ).

از بین سه نمایشنامه اهمیت ارنست بودن را به دلیل فضای طنرش دوست داشتم و بادبزن خانم میندرمر را به دلیل جدیت و حتی تا حدی تراژیک بودنش . اما سالومه به نظرم چیز خاصی نیامد.

محمود صناعی در مقدمه ی این کتاب حرفی زده که بعد از خواندن کتاب حس می کنم باهاش همدلم: طنزهای وایلد بیشتر طنزهای زبانی و لحظه ای اند و نه اینکه مفهوم و معنایی عمیق داشته باشند.
Rea K
Aug 26, 2015 Rea K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was bored one day over the summer and read the other plays in this book. We were only required to read The Importance of Being Earnest in English, but I read the other ones, which is unusual because I don't really read plays.
I plan to reread this some day. Oh, my very own Ernest, you're in a box somewhere. I really don't know where.
Jul 09, 2011 kelly rated it really liked it
Whoa. I didn’t realize the original versions would be so politically incorrect. Same sharp, shocking wit as ever, though. ("Salome" is the only odd outlier I couldn't get into--no traces of the familiar Wilde there.) I’m pretty sure I would totally have fallen for Oscar if I’d known him.
Nov 14, 2015 Elaina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fun reading plays. I think the last time I read a play was in Junior High School students in drama class. My favorite was The Importance of Being Earnest. love the book and the movie.
Mar 31, 2016 Ana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Oscar Wild depicts a society that shows us how little we have evolved when it regards ways of thinking, men/women relationships, the importance of others thoughts, and how forgetful we are of the importance of trivial things. Of course one must remind oneself constantly that one is reading plays written in the late XIX century.

I simple adored reading all the plays and would have read them in a single breath if I could.
"Lady Windermere's fan" and "Salomé" are my least favorites. In "A woman of no
Sophie (The Uneducated Reader) Aylmore
I'll be dipping in out of this one whenever it takes my fancy.
Mar 12, 2013 Eyehavenofilter rated it really liked it
I've been involved with "The Importance of Being Earnest" in several theaters, and it always brings me pause since the 2 people who are in love and end up together are first cousins, (?) WTF? Seriously? Evidently that's what happened a lot at the time this play was written. I gives me the creeps, and makes me wonder if this the reason for the term " blue blood" when it comes to the royals? HELL YES!
But Oscar Wilde is known for being one to push the norms of society beyond the limits people expec
Azariah Alfante
May 26, 2013 Azariah Alfante rated it it was amazing
Wilde, the master of paradox, has never failed to impress me with his excellent writing. Yet it's been years since I read his classic novel, a dark favourite of mine, "The Picture of Dorian Gray". This novel scared me, moved me, taught me. I loved it even though it got me shivering. So you can imagine the excitement I felt after getting my hands on a lighter and hearty play which recaptured my interest in the world of Wilde. I found "The Importance of Being Earnest" extremely enjoyable to read a ...more
Nov 22, 2010 Cori rated it it was amazing
Because our October book club is going to be a retreat where we will discuss all three books in the Hunger Games trilogy, we decided to go for something light and airy for September. We chose The Importance of Being Earnest, with the option to not read it at all and just come to book club and enjoy the movie version while eating a selection of British food — cottage pie, scones, cucumber sandwiches (“not available, even for ready money”) tea, etc. The movie version (staring Colin Firth, Rupert E ...more
Note: Though this is a collection of Oscar Wilde's plays, I only read The Importance of Being Ernest. All I have to say, is that I was a bit disappointed.

I LOVED Picture of Dorian Gray, and I was expecting this play to be the comedy that people profess it to be. I'm not sure whether I was pressured to reading this, because this was a school-assigned read, or what, but I just had a bit of a hard time, especially with trying to connect to the characters, who acted so selfish and naive. I might giv
J. Bebbington
May 13, 2015 J. Bebbington rated it liked it
It was interesting, but the main problem with it is that is written by Oscar Wilde. Whenever I read something by him, all I can really take from it is Wilde bragging about being able to do things with words no one else can imagine. I'm blinded by his brilliance, if you will - for no description of Wilde would be complete without the word brilliant.
Still, if you want, as it is described "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People," then this is the book for you.
Apr 16, 2014 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere's Fan are fun and light reads, they made me smile and laugh out loud, and they were entertaining. I wish there was a little depth to Earnest, especially regarding the ending. It seemed trivial, and I know that it's a satire, but I couldn't get past the easily-fixed Shakespearean resolution.
Salome, on the other hand, was a different read from Wilde. I've read Dorian Gray, short stories, plays, and essays, and Salome falls more in line with the
Jan 06, 2013 Luis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some great masterpieces on this compilation, all of them very endearing and vibrating with the Wilde charm. My personal favorites are the importance of being earnest, because of how complex and round and exaggerated the characters end up while being superficially the same, and the second to favorite is an ideal husband, which although not as famos is very clear on presenting the idiosyncrasy of his society. This edition has a lovely cover and very simple presentation of the texts, incl ...more
Tarique Ejaz
May 30, 2016 Tarique Ejaz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The very essence of romance is uncertainty. If ever I get married, I’ll certainly try to forget the fact."

Oscar Wilde has penned innumerable classics which have been adored, criticized, loved and read over and over again. He has been termed a 'literary genius' of his age and very rightly so. From the Importance of Being Earnest to An Ideal Husband, the narration and the way in which he brings his characters to life is so simple and subtle that if you are invested in the story with even a mere q
Gibin Mathew
Mar 23, 2015 Gibin Mathew rated it really liked it

I loved it !

The book I read was a collection of his three plays namely 'Salome' 'Lady Windmeres Fan' and 'The importance of being Earnest'. The first one was a historic subject, whereas the later plays were romantic comedys.

Salome : As all we know this is the same Biblical story of Salome who ask's for the head of John the Baptist from the Judean king 'Herod' as a reward for her dance of seven veils.Herod was forced to grant her request.As a difference from Biblical versions Wilde had added tha
Charity Yoder
Aug 04, 2013 Charity Yoder rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I mean... there are no words... but I will try. first off, if you don't read this as sarcastic it doesn't come off right. and I've got to say... Wilde is some sort of savant when it comes to comedy, and I appreciate it greatly. however, mixed in is all if these great themes of the times. and its kind if amazing because it comes off in such a way that you don't think about it until a class discussion.

big two thumbs up!!!
Aug 31, 2011 Justina rated it it was amazing
Took me ages to read it, but that's no indication of the awesomeness of Wilde's plays. In fact, I think, it took me this long only 'cause one can only take in so much awesomeness at once. The wit, the absurdity and comedy! I'm amazed that very little seems to happen during those plays and yet I was trying to turn those pages as fast as I could without missing any hidden jokes, so that I could find out how each of the plays ends.
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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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“The very essence of romance is uncertainty.” 5619 likes
“Actions are the first tragedy in life, words are the second. Words are perhaps the worst. Words are merciless. . .” 192 likes
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