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The Importance of Being Earnest

818 of 1164 nominations


The Importance of Being Earnest

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The Importance of Being Earnest

“It is exquisitely trivial, a delicate bubble of fancy, and it has its philosophy… that we should treat all the trivial things in life seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality.”

On a snowy St Valentine’s Day in 1895, London was buzzing with excitement. Tonight was the premiere of (please note) Irish playwright Oscar Wilde’s new comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, at the St James Theatre and high society was out in force. The very people, in fact, Wilde was so famous for lampooning in his plays. The show was an immediate success, outstripping his three previous hits, a success repeated two months later in New York. Despite a short period where Wilde’s name was deemed too scandalous to mention (a 1902 production discreetly omitted the disgraced playwright’s name) the popularity of the play with audiences and critics has remained undimmed, testified by innumerable productions all over the world. The play’s international reputation is somewhat surprising considering the extreme complexity of the wordplay – just translating the pun in the title successfully is a feat few accomplish. You can’t argue, however, with the brilliance of the wit or the skill of the structure and you certainly wouldn’t want to tangle with the immortal Lady Bracknell!


Your comments

Oscar Wilde is the typcial eccentric Englishman, the play itself shows the beauty of the English language, with spledid play on words and the excellent and unique English sense of humour that sets us apart from other European countries.

Neil Lambert

Oscar Wilde would have been the typical eccentric Englishman (Oxford etc.) except that he was Irish...
Paul Ryan



I nominate the red pillar box.

Donna Spencer