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The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)

af Oscar Wilde

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10,705177643 (4.16)2 / 374
Drama. Fiction. HTML:

The Importance of Being Earnest is the last play Oscar Wilde ever wrote, and remains his most enduringly popular. It makes fun of social graces in the late Victorian era. Two seemingly unrelated parties are thrown into ridiculous entanglement when their fake identities, maintained in order to escape social responsibilities, grow ever more complicated to uphold.

.… (mere)
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Engelsk (162)  Italiensk (3)  Catalansk (2)  Spansk (2)  Fransk (1)  Portugisisk (Portugal) (1)  Portugisisk (1)  Hebræisk (1)  Svensk (1)  Hollandsk (1)  Alle sprog (175)
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4.5 stars

Short and funny. I loved the muffin dialogue. The whole thing was very tightly written, which I appreciated. The ending was somewhat… disconcerting… as it showed its age. ( )
  RachelRachelRachel | Nov 21, 2023 |
Short and sweet, Oscar Wilde's popular play The Importance of Being Earnest packs a lot into its three brief acts. On the surface it seems frivolous, a mere satire of Victorian social mores, and even on this level it is entertaining. Its farcical nature – a man invents a brother named 'Ernest' to disguise his second life, and hilarity ensues when 'Ernest' comes to visit his country home – has the sort of fun, easy chaos of a sitcom episode in which similar shenanigans might occur. Though less quotable than Wilde's other works, Earnest still has dialogue that sparkles, as the author enlivens the prattle of these stuffy people with lines that they would not have the wit to conjure themselves.

But beyond this crowd-pleasing level, The Importance of Being Earnest endures. Its characters' determination to take trivial matters seriously and serious matters trivially reminds one disconcertingly of how many real people indeed behave, and while the insufferably snobby airs of the likes of Lady Bracknell are still unappealing to me, it's satisfying to see them skewered. And Wilde's play is nothing so trite as a parody – rather, it's as though Wilde wrote a straightforward play but recognised and delighted in the absurdity of such things, and just couldn't help but sprinkle his own genius on it. What would be contrived in a run-of-the-mill farce – for example, the two women both determined to be attracted only to men named 'Ernest' – takes on additional layers against the backdrop of such authorial genius, and we find ourselves comparing the ways and importance of being earnest/Ernest.

There's also a charmingly human integrity behind the play. It was Wilde's last smash hit before his spectacular downfall; the play being pulled due to his infamous conviction for homosexuality. It's rather touching to see him shine so bright and carelessly here, and rather tragic to know his ascension would soon see him fly too close to the sun (or rather, to Queensberry's son). I remember reading somewhere that 'earnest' was code among Wilde's gay scene for 'homosexual', and while this is disputed by literary detectives, it is rather fantastic to think of that and know that 'The Importance of Being Earnest' was up there in lights in London's West End, with Wilde smiling secretly, even as the unwitting crowds who poured through the doors would not have accepted the importance he placed on being, well, 'earnest'. Even if this speculation is not true – though I hope it is – the play still finds good eating in showing its characters living a double life and riding over the conniptions this causes among the duller people around him. Both feather and maul, The Importance of Being Earnest hides a lot of steel beneath its silk. In keeping with its themes, there's a serious weight beneath its triviality. ( )
1 stem MikeFutcher | Sep 30, 2023 |
Oscar Wilde es un genio del diálogo. Me encantó El Retrato de Dorian Gray y decidí leer esta obra de teatro, que me ha parecido también maestra. ( )
  InigoAngulo | Sep 2, 2023 |
Probably one of the best books (or plays) I’ve ever read. Wilde’s style is infectiously delightful, and almost every paragraph had me in splits. His grasp of the very upper class he was later part of for a while is unparalleled, and the satire is all the more perfect for it. The characters are a blast, the story’s premise is so ludicrous that it reads like a Bollywood masala movie (except infinitely better), and the ending is such a cute one too!
It’s such a short and simple read that I’d recommend this to anyone of any age, no matter what your preferences in reading are. ( )
  SidKhanooja | Sep 1, 2023 |
Immaginate di essere uno scrittore e di avere a cuore un certo tema. Vorreste che la società – e forse il mondo intero – vi ponesse attenzione e migliorasse i propri comportamenti di conseguenza. Un obiettivo ambizioso, non c'è dubbio, ma questa questione è per voi davvero molto importante e siete abbastanza onesti da essere consapevoli del vostro talento.

Cosa fare? Qual è il modo migliore per veicolare un messaggio? Un saggio? Troppo elitario. Un romanzo? Certo garantirebbe un ampio pubblico. Ma una commedia, una commedia frivola per persone serie, è in grado di raggiungere chiunque. Il lazzo, la battuta di spirito, l'arguzia possono essere apprezzate dal colto e dall'incolto.

Oscar Wilde aveva ben pochi rivali in arguzia nel 1895, quando The Importance of Being Earnest debuttò. La sua capacità di ribaltare il luogo comune e l'ipocrisia del suo tempo generava prima risate, poi malinconica riflessione sulla sua veridicità. D'altro canto, Wilde era un animale mondano e conosceva a fondo la società della quale parlava ed era troppo intelligente per non vederne i difetti – troppo intelligente, purtroppo per lui, anche per sottomettersi alle sue falsità.

The Importance of Being Earnest è stato l'ultimo capolavoro teatrale di Wilde, forse il suo acme. Per lo più incompresa dai suoi contemporanei, ha avuto un successo strepitoso in seguito alla morte dell'autore, tanto che è una delle commedie più amate, tanto rappresentata quanto lo sono le opere di Shakespeare. Tanto amata da travalicare i confini del palco e approdare anche al cinema. Tanto amata da farci rimpiangere la decisione di condannare Wilde a due anni di lavori forzati, che ci hanno anticipatamente privati del suo genio. ( )
  lasiepedimore | Aug 30, 2023 |
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Wilde, Oscarprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
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LADY BRACKNELL: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
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Drama. Fiction. HTML:

The Importance of Being Earnest is the last play Oscar Wilde ever wrote, and remains his most enduringly popular. It makes fun of social graces in the late Victorian era. Two seemingly unrelated parties are thrown into ridiculous entanglement when their fake identities, maintained in order to escape social responsibilities, grow ever more complicated to uphold.

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