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The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

Written by Oscar Wilde

Narrated by Ensemble Cast


The Importance of Being Earnest

Written by Oscar Wilde

Narrated by Ensemble Cast

ratings:
4/5 (73 ratings)
Length:
1 hour
Released:
Mar 4, 2002
ISBN:
9781598872545
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Known as one of the greatest comedies written in English, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest attacks Victorian manners and morals in what can only be described as the most maliciously delicious way. A witty satire of Victorian social hypocrisy, Wilde pulls the strings on his cast of late-Victorian characters making them appear, first and foremost, exactly as they are—superficial, upper class Englishmen bound and cinched by an artificial code of manners.

Jack Worthington has invented a rakish brother, Ernest, who calls Jack away from family duties and gives him an excuse to travel to London. Similarly, Algernon Moncrieff has created the persona of Bunbury, an invalid friend, who periodically requires his services in the country. Both young men cleverly use their invented alter egos to disguise their misdemeanors until Jack discovers that Algernon has been impersonating Ernest, to woo Jack's young ward, Cicely. To make things just a bit more complicated, Algernon's cousin Gwendolyn loves Jack, but thinks Jack's name is Ernest. This enduring comedy of manners rises on a farcical crescendo until true identities are revealed and both couples end up happily united.

This full-cast reading coaxes every nuance of pretension, self-importance, and double entendre from Wilde's lines.

Released:
Mar 4, 2002
ISBN:
9781598872545
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Oscar Wilde was born in 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. He is best known for his poetry, plays, including The Importance of Being Earnest, and the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde also wrote a popular collection of stories for children called The Happy Prince and Other Tales. In the years since their publication, the stories in that collection–including The Selfish Giant–have been dramatized through radio, film, and dance worldwide.

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Reviews

What people think about The Importance of Being Earnest

4.1
73 ratings / 97 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (1/5)
    A cute little trifle, just a middle-of-the-road blip, though. At least now I can say I’ve been exposed to it, and exposure is good - unless you’re arrested for it, or die from it.
  • (4/5)
    I've always enjoyed this play and couldn't turn down the opportunity to listen to this audio production with James Marsters (SPIKE!) in one of the lead roles. The play remains as funny and charming as ever, and while not all of the actors rocked the English accent as well as others, it was a delightful and fast listen. Highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    Very funny, in the ridiculous sense, and often quotable. (I think Wilde could go further into illogic and non-sequiturs, and should try some longer-running gags.) Edited nicely; the humor doesn't overstay its welcome. Jack: You never talk anything but nonsense. Algernon: Nobody ever does.
  • (4/5)
    The 2 narrators on this version were incredible, immediately switching voices without missing a beat. I don't know how they did it. The book was amusing in a stuffy English way. Silly can be fun.
  • (2/5)
    man pretends to be ernest; comedy
  • (3/5)
    I found the play amusing, so I'm giving the book three stars. However, I have to give one star to the homophobic creator biography and literary analysis that is contained in the edition I actually read, a 1959 book in the Barron's Educational Series. When it wasn't offensive, the literary analysis was just boring as hell and written in dry, tortured, overly academic prose that contrasted greatly with the witty dialogue in Wilde's play. Wilde's work stands the test of time, while the introductory matter is best left in the past.
  • (2/5)
    zeer flauw, vol klassieke Wilde-oneliners. Misschien moet ik het nog eens herlezen.
  • (5/5)
    As scrumptious a play as was ever penned.
  • (5/5)
    After encountering references to this play in a book I recently read, I decided it was high time I "took in the play", which was rather easy to do with access to the audiorecording of a L.A. Theatreworks production. Now I understand why this play is considered by some to be the apogee of Wilde's work and such a wonderful precursor to the English farcical comic novel style perfected by P.G. Wodehouse. An entertaining Victorian story of courtship and manners, assumed names, mistaken lovers and the epitome of the "dragon" aunt. A whimsical mayhem romp!
  • (5/5)
    This is a hilarious and quick play centered around two couples and the name Ernest.
  • (4/5)
    Oscar Wilde is a very witty Sass Master. This was a great comedy, and I'm sure it'd be even better on stage.
  • (5/5)
    After what feels like a millennium, I have read The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and I totally get the hype now. Oscar Wilde's play focuses on two men who independently of the other have invented alternate personas that allow them to cut loose without (hopefully) any repercussions. One of the men has created Ernest who is by all rights a scoundrel and his creator has finally decided to do away with him so that he can settle down and get married. The problem is that his friend (the other deceitful man) has decided to take on the mantle of Ernest so that he can win the heart of a girl that he's just met. (I recommend reading this in one sitting because otherwise you're liable to get confused.) Wilde uses word play and absolutely ridiculous circumstances to discuss the folly of youth and poke fun at the whims and fancies of people who believe they are really truly in love even if they don't truly know the other person. For instance, the two women of the play are determined that they will only marry someone named Ernest but as it turns out no one is named Ernest there is a bit of a kerfuffle. After all is said and done, no one comes out on top and everyone is depicted as foolish and unimpressive. It was thoroughly amusing and I guess now I'll have to see the movie that was based on it. :-P If you haven't read it yourself and you'd like a quick, fun read this will do just the trick. 9/10I was staring at the book's title and then it hit me: "Oh because it's about two men proclaiming to be Ernest and they do it will all earnestness." *facepalm*
  • (2/5)
    zeer flauw, vol klassieke Wilde-oneliners. Misschien moet ik het nog eens herlezen.
  • (5/5)
    Probably Oscar Wilde's most famous play, and certainly one of his best works. The story revolves around a couple of society gentlemen who have fallen in love with women who have the idea that they should marry a man by the name of Ernest. Since neither of the young men are named Ernest, this leads to a lot of pretense, and suddenly the world is blessed with two Ernest Worthingtons. The resolution might seem somewhat contrived, but since the entire play is a satire, this can be forgiven, since it is intended to appear that way. A fun work, and a quick read.
  • (5/5)
    An entertaining play full of wit and charm. I found myself laughing out loud now and then, wearing a constant smile. I thoroughly enjoyed the absurd humor and cleverly entangled story line.
  • (5/5)
    This play is a delight. It's filled with Oscar Wilde's wonderful humor. The only thing that could be better than reading this gem is seeing it performed live.
  • (4/5)
    A classic.
  • (5/5)
    So glad I had to read this for my AP British Literature class. This satire of Victorian England made me laugh more than most books and plays I have read. The humor is just unbeatable... I can't wait to read more from Oscar Wilde!
  • (4/5)
    5442. The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde (read 8 Feb 2017) I have read this before now but never in its own book, and have seen the movie and seen it performed. But I wanted it to be in my list of books read so when I came across a booklet containing only the work itself I decided to read it in that form. It is outrageously funny, but of course not as funny as seeing it performed. But one can't help laughing. A masterpiece indeed.
  • (5/5)
    I've read the screen play.
    It is an absolute gem of characterisation and dialogue. Full of humour and wit and worth reading again every once in a while. An uplifting experience I can't recommend highly enough.
    Go ahead and treat yourself, it not a lot to buy on ebook readers.
  • (5/5)
    I love this more with each rereading...
  • (4/5)
    This farce follows the entanglements of two men, each posing as a man named "Earnest" in order to woo a woman. It's the only written work that's ever had me laughing out loud in public--Oscar Wilde is an incredibly witty man. He makes great use of snappy banter, the occasional satirical reference to real-world social issues, and puns (such as the one in the title itself), but never comes on too strong, as many comedies can tend to do. If you've never read Wilde before, this is an excellent place to start.
  • (5/5)
    One of my favorites
  • (5/5)
    While reading The Importance of Being Earnest, I kept wondering how I managed to skipped over this one. It seems like something that should have been part of my curriculum in college. Or at the very least I should have seen one of the movie versions of the play. But somehow I did not.And yet, as I read it recently, it felt very familiar. Part of the familiarity comes from the use of tropes common to comic writing. We have cases of mistaken identity, intentional deceit, unlikely coincidences and more. The dialog is witty and playful but with a biting undertone that gets at the heart of the theme.The play centers on the interactions of two young men, Earnest and Algernon. At the onset we encounter the two men discussing the merits and virtues of life. During the discussion, we learn that Earnest’s real name is Jack but that he assumes the name Earnest while in London. He seems ready to give up his duplicity but when he proposes to Gwendolen, she admits that she really loves him most because of his name. So instead of making a clean slate and killing off Earnest, he decides to wholly accept the name. Meanwhile, Gwendolen’s mother opposes their marriage on the grounds that Earnest does not come from an appropriate aristocratic heritage.Thus we have a young man caught between two identity problems. His fiancé only loves him because of his fake first name and his would-be mother-in-law refuses to acknowledge his potential because he has the wrong last name. Wilde presents these two obstacles as counterpoints to showcase the absurdity of each. Just as it’s absurd that young Gwendolen only loves her man because of his name, it’s equally absurd that he be inadequate for marriage because of his status in society as shown by his last name.The story continues to play with these ideas through some hilarious moments to come. Algernon and Jack each struggle with their identities both in relationships and in society. We’re shown how ridiculous we can appear when we place too much importance on trivial things. At the same time, there are many things that we trivialize that perhaps we should look at more closely.The language of the play is fabulous and is a great example of Wilde’s genius. The dialog is sharp and smart with some great quips and repartee. While the character types and the plot elements feel very similar to other plays (I was especially reminded of scenes from Twelfth Night), the writing feels fresh and fun. This is a super fun story. Well written and hilarious. I really need to seek out a movie version (or see it performed live). It’s got plenty of laugh out loud moments while also providing a thoughtful satire on our impressions and assumptions about society and each other.*****4.5 out of 5 stars
  • (4/5)
    I'm not sure how I made it through an MA in English without reading this. Finally dove into the script when I was cast to play Algernon in a local community theatre production.So much of this is witty and relevant and speaks with a modern sensibility. But dear lord, let's pick up the pace. Every line can be cut by a third, and several sections could be cut completely.
  • (5/5)
    So funny! Did it as a high school play
  • (5/5)
    This drama is absolutely fantastic! It is fast-paced, wonderfully witty, replete with double entendres, and full of rapid about-faces. The moral of the story, of course, is never to forget "the importance of being ernest"!
  • (5/5)
    This comedy reminds me of a episode of Friends.

    Making fun of human nature at it's most ridiculous moments. It is a play about nothing just everyday moments.

    I absolutely loved this theatre version of the play done by the LA Theatre company. Funny, Funny, Funny

  • (5/5)
    I felt I needed a lighter read, and this was time for a re-read of this classic play that I have loved since childhood, one of my all time favourites. Huge portions of the dialogue are imprinted on my mind, and I can hear and see the actors in the 1952 film version as I am reading. Wonderful stuff (though I still get Jack and Algernon mixed up in my mind, probably as they are both trying to be earnest!)
  • (5/5)
    So very thoroughly enjoyable!!!It has much of the same style of humor of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, so if you enjoyed that, this is almost a guaranteed win.