“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
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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.
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.