Classics | Audio | Drama | Historical | Humour

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, Review: True genius

Review Summary: In The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde turns the absurd and farcical into sheer brilliance. Highly recommended in audio.

The Importance of Being Earnest Synopsis:

This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, “that name which inspires absolute confidence.”

Wilde’s effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language. 

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde Audiobook

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BOOK REVIEW

It is not hard to see why Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is considered a classic – it is true genius.

Despite the many years since its publication, its underlying acerbic commentary on the vacuousness of class-based society packs a real punch. Wilde turns the absurd and farcical into sheer brilliance. I was also impressed by just how complex and clever the plot and character linkages were.

I strongly recommend experiencing this classic The Importance of Being Earnest in the play format Oscar Wilde originally intended.

Audiobook dramatization

The audiobook dramatization I listened to was performed by a very talented cast from L.A. Theatre Works: James Marsters, Charles Busch, Emily Bergl, Neil Dickson, Jill Gascoine, Christopher Neame, Matthew Wolf. Their comedic timing was razor-sharp.

I found myself laughing out loud while listening. The rapid-fire banter between the characters was hilarious. At just under 2 hours in length, this audiobook was a real treat that left a big smile on my face.

I will definitely be seeking out more dramatizations of Oscar Wilde’s plays and in particular those produced by LA Theatre Works.

BOOK RATING: The Story 5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5

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Genre: Drama, Humour, Classic, Historical, Audio

* I have since also enjoyed Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost and his plays Lady Windermere’s Fan and An Ideal Husband.

This review counts towards my participation in the Classics Challenge 2012.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde - Book Quote

About the Author, Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingall O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford where, a disciple of Pater, he founded an aesthetic cult. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and his two sons were born in 1885 and 1886. His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and social comedies Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), established his reputation. In 1895, following his libel action against the Marquess of Queensberry, Wilde was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for homosexual conduct, as a result of which he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), and his confessional letter De Profundis (1905). On his release from prison in 1897 he lived in obscurity in Europe, and died in Paris in 1900. (Amazon)

Plot and character summaries and other useful study materials for The Importance of Being Earnest can be found at CourseHero.