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The Importance of Being Earnest
by Oscar Wilde

Published: 2014-11-29
Paperback : 58 pages
2 members reading this now
8 clubs reading this now
3 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 6 of 6 members
The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personæ to escape burdensome social obligations. Working ...
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Introduction

The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personæ to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways. Contemporary reviews all praised the play's humour, though some were cautious about its explicit lack of social messages, while others foresaw the modern consensus that it was the culmination of Wilde's artistic career so far. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde's most enduringly popular play. The successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde's career but also heralded his downfall. The Marquess of Queensberry, whose son Lord Alfred Douglas was Wilde's lover, planned to present the writer with a bouquet of rotten vegetables and disrupt the show. Wilde was tipped off and Queensberry was refused admission. Soon afterwards their feud came to a climax in court, where Wilde's homosexual double life was revealed to the Victorian public and he was eventually sentenced to imprisonment. His notoriety caused the play, despite its early success, to be closed after 86 performances. After his release, he published the play from exile in Paris, but he wrote no further comic or dramatic work.

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Book Club Recommendations

Have fun with it
by mhabrych (see profile) 02/12/11
At our club we did a "reader's theatre" and read it aloud together. So much fun!

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by ChelseaRathke (see profile) 08/14/17

 
  "Fun with friends!"by MomB96 (see profile) 02/14/11

We did this book as a readers' theater and had so much fun with all of the characters! There's not much depth to the book, so having fun with it was the way to go. It was a nice change of pace! It was... (read more)

 
  "Many laughs"by mhabrych (see profile) 02/12/11

Sophisticated humor, witty dialogue, so much fun! I listened to it as an audio since it is a play, then enjoyed the movie.

 
  "Very entertaining!"by wmcunitz (see profile) 02/12/11

This is a terrific book to read aloud with club members taking on the various roles. Lots of fun!

 
  "The Importance of Being Earnest"by Maurice (see profile) 02/12/11

We decided to do it as 'reader's theatre'and we had a blast!!!

 
  "Oscar Wilde Importance of Being Earnest"by tmaurer (see profile) 11/18/09

Be sure to read a little about Wilde's life before your discussion. That will help provide some context and additional discussion points.

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