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The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde

Book Overview: 

Oscar Wildebwas an Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and author of short stories. Known for his barbed wit, he was one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day.

In Wilde’s classic play The Importance of Being Earnest, Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff discover the perils of love, assumed identities, and telling the truth.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .more expensive monthly magazines, and has reached the provincial pulpits, I am told; and my ideal has always been to love some one of the name of Ernest.  There is something in that name that inspires absolute confidence.  The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you.

Jack.  You really love me, Gwendolen?

Gwendolen.  Passionately!

Jack.  Darling!  You don’t know how happy you’ve made me.

Gwendolen.  My own Ernest!

Jack.  But you don’t really mean to say that you couldn’t love me if my name wasn’t Ernest?

Gwendolen.  But your name is Ernest.

Jack.  Yes, I know it is.  But supposing it was something else?  Do you mean to say you couldn’t love me then?

Gwendolen.  [Glibly.]  Ah! that is clearly a metaphysical speculation, and like most met. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Some times it makes me wonder that this play was written ages ago. This book seems to be a contemporary classic! It seems there are lots of movies based on the theme of this play. And one more thing I noticed that it has all the spices of an Indian comedy movie.

It's full of witticism and humour,...more

This 1895 play about mistaken and hidden identities is my favorite by Oscar Wilde. One of the wittiest plays ever!

Algernon is visited in his town home by his friend Ernest, who intends to propose to Algernon's cousin Gwendolen. Algernon manages to dig out his friend's secret: his name is actuall...more

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, away from his stifling, depressing, responsibilities at h...more

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 t...more

“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 id...more

If you try to take this literally, it is ludicrous, so don’t. It is a delicately crafted confection of spun sugar: sweet but sharp, beautiful, brittle, and engineered to amuse. “An iridescent filament of fantasy”, as critic William Archer described the opening performance on Valentine’s Day 1895....more

To lose one parent may be regarded as misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness
I wish, with all my heart, someone would ask me “Hey have you read anything by Oscar Wilde?”

Just so I could emphatically say “YES. Yes I have!”

I did feel like I have accomplished some unknown personal reading...more

Hilarious and entertaining read, the wit and sarcasm in this book was outta this world

I read The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde as part of classics bingo to satisfy my satire square. Educated at Oxford in the late 19th century, Wilde was a product of strict upper class British social mores. He married and fathered two children and then came out as homosexual. Wilde's p...more

“We live in an age of ideals”

Wilde is a genius. This play is genius. What a penetrating critique of high Victorian society this becomes; but rather than being a dull argument or essay, it takes on the body of a hilarious play. This is just absurd, outrageous and straight to the point. This pict...more

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