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The Importance Of Being Earnest And Other Plays (2001)

The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays (2001)
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Rating
4.24 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
0140436065 (ISBN13: 9780140436068)
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English
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penguin classics
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The Importance Of Being Earnest And O...
The Importance Of Being Earnest And Other Plays (2001)

About book: "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 have already missed five if not six trains. To miss any more might expose us to comment on the platform." Well--it's uproarious.Basically, OW was a prude, hence he went to court to clear his name. "Earnest," w the central male using a double name (one for London society, another for private weekends), has even been called his true "De Profundis" -- without the sentiment. By contrast, his 3 earlier "comedies" with creaking plots involving blackmail, scandal and duplicity loom as shoddy Victorian mellerdramas redeemed by the brilliance of his epigrams. Wilde uses mellerdrama as an escape, to take him out of himself into a misplaced reality. In "Lady Windermere's Fan," the cynical repartee covers the sticky sentimentalism in which the "bad" woman turns out to be the heroine's Mum. He capably linked his escritoire to the box office. In "An Ideal Husband," it's the hero who has a shady past. High-flying chatter relieves the moralizing. "A Woman of No Importance" shows off his worst writing and finest wit : "The Book of Life begins with a man and a woman in a garden; it ends with Revelations." His plot turns on smother love when the Mum who erred cries out to her son, "How could I repent of my sin when you, my love, were its fruit." O, Oscar.All in all, OW was surely a good-natured gent without malice or spite. At the time of His Fall he was the reigning Playwright and Personality in London. A worldly superstar, he toyed with a deep fear of scandal in 3 plays while the characters seek to protect their social position and careers. After "Earnest," which tossed a concern for provincial virtue into the dustbin, we can only guess at the OW comedies that never got written.

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 expect. His plays often contained misunderstandings, misrepresentations, people masquerading as others, theft of inheritance, and con artists of both high and low caliber, and people filled with age old guilt. My favorite character is the half blind, half dead " Lady Bracknell" who has no idea who she is talking to, and no idea what the hell is going on, and is an equal opportunity bully to everyone. These plays are so much fun to read. I mistakenly reviewed this as another " importance of being Earnest" so I cleared that up here.Each play is a wild romp through the madness of " adult hood" and what people really want. Even if they don't know they want it, some how he makes sure they end up with whatever it is.... Even if its the worst thing possible.
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Reviews
Gibin Mathew
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 that Salome desired/loved John and his rejection filled her heart with vengence and eventually led to this request. Salome is a beauty with the devil's heart.Lady Windmeres Fan : Lady Windmere is a devoted wife,who happens to doubt his husband (because of the circumstances) and fell in trouble with her stupid decisions. The story takes place at the end of Victorian era (in a transition period),hence have strong criticism on principles of morality,marriage and the class divide in English society.Some characters in it are well advanced to the modern age .One among then is Mrs Erlynne who doesnt respect institution of marriage,shows no love/remorse for her child(except in one circumstance).She is a character living for her pleasure and convinience. Wide also point to fake morality and hipocracy of the elite class society.The Importance of being Earnest : This is wonderful romantic comedy,with charming wits,love and a nice suspense.Here again Wide questions the morality and upper class hipocracy.For its charming wit and wonderful dialogues I will rate this 4/5
Marialyce
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 to the hypocrisy of the time. Men say silly things, woman fall in love with illusions, and the whole thing becomes a farce, is clearly seen throughout this hysterical story which makes the reader oftentimes lol. Short and to the point, this play must have ruffled a few Victorian feathers as I am sure that was the intent. Earnestness was the avenue to reform at the time and to make the poorer class better. Oscar takes this word and has his way with it and ultimately makes this satirical piece flick its nose at the staid and proper British mores of Victorian times.
Jenny
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 novel and the essays for me. I enjoyed the tone and the language, especially Herod's descriptions of his jewels and other wealth. Overall, I'm a Wilde fan, and I appreciate the different aspects that his writing takes on. My favorite is when he's serious, though, or at least blending comedy with a darker side. I think it showcases his true skill much better.
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