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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 anymight 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. [[ Ebook ]] ☠ The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays ↿ Combining Epigrammatic Brilliance And Shrewd Social Observation, The Works Collected In Oscar Wilde S The Importance Of Being Earnest And Other Plays Are Edited With An Introduction, Commentaries And Notes By Richard Allen Cave In Penguin Classics To Lose One Parent May Be Regarded As A Misfortune To Lose Both Looks Like Carelessness The Importance Of Being Earnest Is A Glorious Comedy Of Mistaken Identity, Which Ridicules Codes Of Propriety And Etiquette Manners And Morality Are Also Victims Of Wilde S Sharp Wit In Lady Windermere S Fan, A Woman Of No Importance And An Ideal Husband, In Which Snobbery And Hypocrisy Are Laid Bare In Salom And A Florentine Tragedy, Wilde Makes Powerful Use Of Historical Settings To Explore The Complex Relationship Between Sex And Power The Range Of These Plays Displays Wilde S Delight In Artifice, Masks And Disguises, And Reveals The Pretentions Of The Social World In Which He Himself Played Such A Dazzling And Precarious PartRichard Allen Cave S Introduction And Notes Discuss The Themes Of The Plays And Wilde S Innovative Methods Of Staging This Edition Includes The Excised Gribsby Scene From The Importance Of Being Earnest I used to be an inveterate playgoer one year, 1989 I think, I saw 52 plays.The action and dialog on stage can be pretty quick And if you re seeing a play that was written in another time for a different culture, that might be too quick to catch.For example, the first line of Lady Windermere s Fan is from a butler stepping up to the lady of the house and asking Is your ladyship at home this afternoon Our modern minds would probably surmise from such a question that the butler is asking whether the lady was going out later But no the question is asking whether she is receiving visitors at this moment The notes tell me that this would have been a clue to Victorian audiences that someone is calling that causes social difficulties for the butler in fact, it is a gasp man to whom the lady is neither married nor related This is why commentary is so valuable when we re bridging cultures It s all very nice to dive straight into Shakespeare and claim to get it , for example, but how many of our contemporaries would quickly grasp that a moveable , for example, is an old term for a small piece of furniture If you are going to get all of the jokes in Taming of the Shrew, that s something you ll need to be aware of as the banter zips by.Oscar Wilde is closer to us in time but even better known for his subversive use of humor, so a guide is just as valuable Don t believe me Take this quiz Here s some dialog middle of the second Act of Lady Windermere s Fan Hint Mrs Erlynne is a figure of scandal nothing has been made too explicit yet, but it seems she might have committed adulteryLady Plymdale to Mr Dumby What an absolute brute you are I never can believe a word you say Why did you tell me you didn t know her What do you mean by calling on her three times running You are not going to lunch there of course you understand that Dumby My dear Laura, I wouldn t dream of going Lady Plymdale You haven t told me her name yet Who is she Dumby coughs slightly and smooths his hair She s a Mrs Erlynne.Lady Plymdale That woman Dumby Yes, that is what everyone calls her.Lady Plymdale How very interesting How intensely interesting I really must have a good stare at her Goes to the ball room and looks in. I have heard the most shocking things about her They say she is ruining poor Windermere And Lady Windermere, who goes in for being so proper, invites her How extremely amusing It takes a thoroughly good woman to do a thoroughly stupid thing You are to lunch there on Friday Okay, what was subversive in this snippet Time s up The answer My dear Laura Use of her given name indicates this couple is having an adulterous affair of their own And yet here they are discussing the moral foibles of others with much amused cynicism and very little sympathy.Conclusion Read the play Read the notes and commentary Go see the play Repeat as necessary Lady Windermere s Fan Leaving the beneficiary of a sacrifice ignorant is somehowgraceful I liked this one Salome Very strange It felt like a play from a different time, and a different author The others at least so far have been plays of manners, with a hidden examination of morality and hypocrisy Salome isimpressionistic and abstract the treatment seemsamenable to the opera it later became A Woman of No Importance Far too preachy, it seemed muchamateurish than Lady Windermere s Fan Entire pages devoted to overwrought monologue, and others devoted to one sided dialogues, where one character acts the straight man for the other s constant stream of aphorisms and quips, which in the end signify nothing An Ideal Husband Curious how almost all of Wilde s plays deal with infidelity This one has a femme fatale, but it is about a fallen man, not a fallen woman Good and possibly better crafted, but therefore not as juicy A Florentine Tragedy Short and excellent A deadly m nage trois, very tense in its few pages The Importance of Being Earnest When absorbed after the forgoing, this play is that muchimpressive It is certainlyenjoyable a condensed nugget of brilliant cleverness but it also is remarkably different.Besides this one, all of Wilde s plays deal, to some extent, with the transgression of social norms, and specifically with disgrace They are also alldramatic Even those that are arguably comedies have a tension borne of the fear of disgrace, and the maneuvering to evade it Well, A Florentine Tragedy isn t actually about avoiding it, but artfully confirming it In Earnest, the tension is completely absent It would be difficult to imagine ainnocuous play Or one so charmingly silly How and why Wilde came up with the forename Earnest as the target surname is quite miraculous I suppose in 1895 the name might have actually been quite popular In the United States at the time it was the 24th most popular name see WolframAlpha , and has suffered ever since.As the dictionary illustrates ear nest ur nist adjective1 serious in intention, purpose, or effort sincerely zealous an earnest worker.2 showing depth and sincerity of feeling earnest words an earnest entreaty.3 seriously important demanding or receiving serious attention noun4 full seriousness, as of intention or purpose to speak in earnest.The philosophy of the play is that of the dandy, someone with eyes steadily averted from anything serious and turned, instead, towards one s own and lesser, one s friend s superficial pleasantness Definitely not earnest.It is too bad Wilde didn t take his own advice Even though we now think of him as the personification of the dandy, if he had merely averted his eyes from the unpleasantness of the Marquess he wouldn t have come to the unpleasant fate that he did.In reading The Importance of Being Earnest, again the footnotes were helpful, but less so The usage of given names andformal surnames was highlighted, and quite deliciously so The two young women adroitly switch usage back and forth to punish, reward, fend off, tease and prod their men, and each other.My favorite character was Cecily Despite the handicap of being raised in the country, she has somehow manage to elevate herself to the same level of cleverness as her city counterpart, Gwendolyn.About that cleverness We aren t very clever these days, I think Or at least not in that ironic way Wilde and Dorothy Parker made so infamous And while it is a marvelous thing to witness from a distance, I m fairly sure I don t regret its absence In both Wilde s and Parker s eras the s and standards of the day were like protected but weak currencies a few risky artistes profited greatly in arbitrage shortly before those unsustainable parts of their society collapsed That we don t have a tiny and irrelevant subculture throwing mordantly funny barbs at the rest of society probably means that, for all our faults, we re not yet ripe for revolution.Ah, my favorite quote Jack I am sick to death of cleverness Everybody is clever nowadays You can t go anywhere without meeting clever people The thing has become an absolute public nuisance I wish to goodness we had a few fools left.Algernon We have.Jack I should extremely like to meet them What do they talk about Algernon The fools Oh about the clever people, of course.Jack What fools 3.5 starsI love Oscar Wilde so much and I m so glad I finally ended up reading his most famous plays, they were so ironic and funny, I also adored the social satire he did I d love to see them on stage, it must be amazing.The Importance of Being Earnest, 4 5 starsLady Windermere s Fan, 4 5 starsSalom , 3 5 starsA Woman of No Importance, 3.5 5 starsAn Ideal Husband, 3.5 5 stars Es, sin duda, una obra divertida y llena de absurdos, como tambi n, una clara cr tica de la sociedad de su tiempo La obra est estructurada en tres actos, y fue estrenada en el teatro de St James en 1895 Poco a poco se van introduciendo los personajes, Jack, quien se ha inventado un hermano llamado Ernesto para poder escapar de las responsabilidades y de su aburrida vida en el campo y Algernon, que vive en Londres y quien se ha inventado tambi n un personaje para justificar sus escapadas al campo Ambos hombres se enamoran de dos mujeres que est n convencidas de que deben casarse con alguien llamado Ernesto.Wilde juega a lo largo de la obra con el doble significado de la palabra Earnest , que significa tanto Ernesto como formal La narraci n est repleta de iron as y sarcasmos que ridiculizan las convenciones sociales tan r gidas de la poca y la hipocres a con la que viv an los miembros de la alta sociedad, especialmente en lo referente a la sexualidad y al matrimonio La esencia del romance es la incertidumbre Si alg n d a me caso, tratar de olvidarlo. So hilarious There s this How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can t make out You seem to me to be perfectly heartless Well, I can t eat muffins in an agitated manner The butter would probably get on my cuffs One should always eat muffins quite calmly It is the only way to eat them I say it s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances And This To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up AND THIS This ghastly state of things is what you call Bunburying, I suppose Algernon Yes, and a perfectly wonderful Bunbury it is The most wonderful Bunbury I have ever had in my life.Jack Well, you ve no right whatsoever to Bunbury here.Algernon That is absurd One has a right to Bunbury anywhere one chooses Every serious Bunburyist knows that AND FINALLY THIS JackNo, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed It does not thrill It produces absolutely no vibrationsI have known several Jacks, and they all, without exception, werethan usually plain Besides, Jack is a notorious domesticity for John And I pity any woman who is married to a man called John She would probably never be allowed to know the entrancing pleasure of a single moment s solitude The only really safe name is Ernest. I don t read plays Maybe I am the only human being who hasn t read Shakespeare I tried Honesty When I was a teenager, decided to read Romeo and Juliet Well, teenager RJ, quite a good start I got irritated by Romeo just in the middle of the book and left it Then I started Hamlet I don t even remember why I left it.I hated plays and was getting confused in the list of maybe 20 people presented at the front page of the play Hated this theatrical long monologues and conversations of 10 people at the same time I didn t understand why everybody is in love with Shakespeare, why Wilde s gravestone was lipstick covered Why people loved him so much Ok, The Picture of Dorian Gray was quite a sensation, but, I mean, Shaw s or Shakespeare s graves are free from lipsticks of all possible colors.And then I read plays of Wilde.Attention Do not read this book in transport or in public places, where people can think you are high, because, oh boy, you are going to laugh Now I want to go to Paris to leave my kiss for this amazing play writer while he sits there and rolls eyes, saying to himself one .And immediately after that I want to go to GB to see all the plays from this collection played by British actors. I haven t read a play in a while I think the last play I read was Homecoming by Harold Pinter a few years back So, I decided to read a few plays this year The first one I got hold of was The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde I have always admired Oscar Wilde s wit and humour and so I was really looking forward to reading his most famous play I finished reading it a couple of days back Here is what I think.What I think The Importance of Being Earnest is about two friends John Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff Worthing loves Moncrieff s cousin Gwendolen, and proposes to her and she accepts it But Gwendolen s mother Lady Bracknell refuses to approve their match, because John was adopted and doesn t know anything about his biological parents Algernon falls in love with John s ward Cecily and proposes to her and she accepts it Lady Bracknell has a problem with that too, till she discovers that Cecily has good investments in her name But there is a catch in all this John calls himself Ernest Worthing when he comes to the city Gwendolen knows him as Ernest John also tells his ward Cecily that he has a brother called Ernest in the city who is not a good guy and who is whiling away his time Algernon, when he meets Cecily for the first time, takes advantage of the situation and introduces himself as Ernest Worthing So Cecily thinks that he is Ernest Then comes a situation when John, Earnest, Gwendolen and Cecily all end up in John s home in the countryside, and both Gwendolen and Cecily think that they are engaged to Ernest This leads to some funny situations and when the truth is finally revealed, that neither John nor Algernon is Ernest, Gwendolen asks JohnWhere is your brother Ernest We are both engaged to be married to your brother Ernest, so it is a matter of some importance to us to know where you brother Ernest is at presentJohn repliesI will tell you quite frankly that I have no brother Ernest I have no brother at all I never had a brother in my life, and I certainly have not the smallest intention of ever having one in the future On hearing this, Gwendolen tells CecilyI am afraid it is quite clear, Cecily, that neither of us is engaged to be married to anyone Gwendolen and Cecily walk off into the house after this conversation Do John and Algernon manage to win back the trust of Gwendolen and Cecily What does Lady Bracknell say to all this subterfuge What happens in the end The answer to all these form the rest of the story.I enjoyed reading The Importance of Being Earnest It made me some of old Hollywood Bollywood Tamil movies that I have seen, which had similar plots It looks like Oscar Wilde inspired many filmmakers I loved the way earnest is interpreted in different ways throughout the play taking on multiple meanings I was also surprised to discover that Oscar Wilde was Irish I didn t know that before The play had many of my favourite Oscar Wilde lines, like theseit is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn t More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn t read That, my dear Algy, is the whole truth pure and simple The truth is rarely pure and never simple Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility All women become like their mothers That is their tragedy No man does That s his I am sick to death of cleverness Everybody is clever nowadays You can t go anywhere without meeting clever people The thing has become an absolute public nuisance I wish to goodness we had a few fools left I never travel without my diary One should always have something sensational to read in the train Cecily That certainly seems a satisfactory explanation, does it not Gwendolen Yes, dear, if you can believe him.Cecily I don t But that does not affect the wonderful beauty of his answer.Gwendolen True In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.Lady Bracknell Is this Miss Prism a female of repellent aspect, remotely connected with education Chasuble She is the most cultivated of ladies, and the very picture of respectability.Lady Bracknell It is obviously the same person.One of my favourite Oscar Wilde lines was not there in the play or rather it was there in its original form, which in my opinion, didn t have the same effect The notes to the play said that this line was modified later The modified line, which I like, goes like this To lose one parent, Mr.Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune to lose both looks like carelessness. Algernon has a manservant called Lane, who is smart and intelligent, and who reminded me of Jeeves from the P.G.Wodehouse books Here is one scene which I liked Algernon I hope tomorrow will be a fine day, Lane.Lane It never is, sir.Algernon Lane, you re a perfect pessimist.Lane I do my best to give satisfaction, sir.I have seen a movie version of the play, which had Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Frances O Connor, Reese Witherspoon and Judi Dench I remember the movie having a twist in the tail kind of surprising ending, which the play didn t have I liked the movie but now after reading the play, I want to watch it again I also have a movie version starring Michael Redgrave, Edith Evans and others, and I want to watch that too There are also four other Oscar Wilde plays in the collection I have I want to read them next Have you read The Importance of Being Earnest or seen it performed or seen a movie version What do you think about it 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 s of Victorian times. 4.5 Was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed all three of these stories