The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde


“In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.”

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
First Performed on February 14, 1895
Format: audiobook (table reading); 1 hour 46 minutes
Also By This Author: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gewndolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend, the “rivals” to fight for Ernest’s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds, pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!


One of my favorite book synopses ever belongs to The Importance of Being Earnest: “A trivial comedy for serious people.” It just fits it so perfectly! I decided to read this book last month because I wanted a short classic and I had never read anything by Oscar Wilde before. I was very pleasantly surprised. The Importance of Being Earnest isn’t a deep story that will leave you pondering over the dialogue for days, but it is fun and very enjoyable. I laughed out loud and even gasped a few times while listening to an audio recording of this book. Wilde’s writing is witty and his characters are entertaining. And if you need another reason to read/listen to/watch this story, today is the 120th anniversary of its first performance!

Yes, The Importance of Being Earnest premiered on Valentine’s Day in 1895. So if you still need date night or hang out plans for later, you can watch one of the film adaptations or, if you’re lucky, find theater tickets for a local performance. It’s sure to be a fun evening whether you spend it with friends or a special someone :)

Read This Book If…

…you love trivial comedies! (and you’re a serious person)
…you enjoy witty banter, puns and pranks, and clever disguises.
…you’re looking for a short read that can be enjoyed in one sitting.
…you like Classics or would like to “ease” your way into the genre.

Final Musings

I listened to a table recording of The Importance of Being Earnest during my commute to work and back one day. It’s a very quick read but it’s fun and uplifting. The production of this particular recording did a very superb job, actually. They had four different actors who also read the stage directions to make up for the fact that it wasn’t a staged performance. Here’s the link to the YouTube video, but there are also taped performances online to watch as well!

And, of course, there’s the movie adaptation featuring Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Francis O’Conner, and Reese Witherspoon.



14 thoughts on “The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

  1. That muffin scene cracks me up. I wasn’t a big fan of the movie, but I loved the book. After that, I appreciated the movie a bit more. It was a such a different role for Colin Firth.

  2. I read The Importance of Being Earnest back in high school and really enjoyed it! So glad you did too! You’ll definitely have to read more Oscar Wilde. And I’m going to have to check out the movie sometime!

  3. Oscar Wilde is one of my favourites! I liked the film when I saw it, but I think that they have to tone down things that can be played up a lot in an actual staged version so that it doesn’t seem completely stupid on film. Actually seeing the play on stage is definitely better.

  4. I love this play – it’s so fun to watch, but I have not actually read the original which I should remedy! I really love the Firth/Everett version, I should read it and compare it to the film since I was under the impression the film was true to the original?

    • The film doesn’t stray. I’d say it’s a pretty pure adaptation. They leave some things out and they change a few things, but nothing huge. I did enjoy the play more, but Firth and Everett are such amazing actors that they did have me laughing out loud several times, too :)

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