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1.0 out of 5 starsAbsolutely terrible - AVOID THIS EDITION!!!
Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2019
I can't understand how this edition ever came into being. It's like somebody translated the original into Chinese and then back into English again. For example Algernon's line "I don't know that I am much interested in your family life, Lane" (from Google Books), in this edition is "I don't realise that I am a good buy interested in your own family lifestyles, Lane". Lane replies (in Google Books) "No, sir; it is not a very interesting subject. I never think of it myself." But this edition has him saying "No, sir; it isn't always a very exciting scenario. I in no way reflect onconsideration [sic] on it myself"!!! WHO CREATED THIS AWFUL EDITION!?
1.0 out of 5 starsGreat Play. Get a different edition!
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2016
The poor review is for the edition and not the material. Avoid this Smith and Brown edition. As with many plays that are old enough to be in the public domain, there are numerous editions, some better than others. In fact, anyone with a Xerox machine can make their own edition of this play, and this is pretty close to that. This is the worst edition I have ever seen of a script. The formatting is ponderous and poorly done. Character names are barely differentiated from the text that they speak; Stage directions are often buried in the text with little to differentiate them. In addition, the text goes so close to the edges that one sometime needs to break open the binding just to read it. There is not introduction, no annotations, nothing of interest to make up for the fact that this edition is annoying to read. If this were the only edition available, that'd be one thing, but there are so many options. I went to a bookstore and picked up this edition: The Importance of Being Earnest
It's fine. It's easy to read. It has introcutory material and other frills if you're into that sort of thing, and it's cheaper. Get that one or some other, not this one.
5.0 out of 5 starsIf humour comes in a spectrum and slapstick is at one end of that spectrum, then this is the other end.
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2016
It would be all too easy to dismiss this play as a light romantic comedy. Although it is about a series of near thwarted romances – the stuff of a million ‘chick-flicks’ and romantic comedies going back as far as the eye can see in drama – this is also something much, much more. It is also a delightfully amusing commentary on human sexual relations, the English class system and (much more importantly) a perfect mirror on the amusing excesses of human selfishness. In fact, some of the best lines in the play, and the funniest lines in the play, highlight our near infinite capacity to love ourselves. To quote only a few and without hardly looking:
“If you are not too long, I will wait for you all my life.”
“Oh! Not at all, Gwendolen. I am very fond of being looked at.”
“If I am occasionally overdressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated.”
“I don’t play accurately – anyone can play accurately – but I play with wonderful expression.”
“You see, it (her diary) is simply a very young girl’s record of her thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication.”
The other terribly interesting thing in this play is the role of family. Not only are the families quite dysfunctional, even when people know who their parents are, but the title character is about as confused about how he fits into the complex world of family relations as it is possible to make someone. The thing that makes the line about the handbag quite so funny is that this handbag is about the closest thing he has to family in the entire world. As Pascal once said, we laugh and cry about the same things.
Wilde is, it hardly needs to be said, the closest thing to a God we are likely to have visit us on this planet. There are, for example, even now, more than 100 years after his death, entire companies that produce desk calendars that would not be in business if not for the endless supply of quotes he provides for the foot of Monday the Ninth of February and so on.
If humour comes in a spectrum and slapstick is at one end of that spectrum, then this is the other end.
5.0 out of 5 starsMacmillan collectors library edition
Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2017
Of Wilde's plays I have only seen The Importance of Being Earnest which is wonderfully witty and ridiculous. Collected in this volume are the title play along with Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and Salome. The first four are light entertainment filled with witty dialogue. The last, Salome, is macabre and dark. I was curious about that one because of the hubbub over it being a play based on scripture but laced sexual overtones. I'm glad I read it because its not something I would want to go to see like the other four but in Wilde's defense, the Herods were a nasty, incestuous and murderous bunch and he does not do injustice to John the Baptist or Christ. The most disturbing part about the play is when Salome kisses the severed head of the prophet. She does this because he refused her advances while alive.
The illustrations in the book are the originals done by Aubrey Beardsley and they are only in Salome. I liked his illustrations in Macmillan's The Happy Prince and Other Stories but I found the ones for Salome nasty, grotesque and bordering on porn. Not to my taste at all.
The rest of the book still merits my five star rating both in content and quality.
Macmillan's Collectors library editions are well made beautiful pocket sized hard covers. There are two other Oscar Wilde books in the collection: Picture of Dorian Gray and The Happy Prince and Other Stories.
3.0 out of 5 starsStory is great, this publication of it is not
Reviewed in the United States on July 11, 2018
We recently saw Importance of Being Ernest in the theater. I enjoyed the witty play so much that I decided to get a copy of my own. This book contains Wilde work in the first 76% of the content, the remaining 25% is marketing material about leading a Book Club. This filler material inflated the size of the book. The filler material hides that this an abbreviated version of the book.
Short, sweet, beautifully written and full of punchlines that stick into the mind, Oscar Wilde's greatest work is a living example of quality, rather than quantity. 65-odd pages are all Wilde needs to ensnare and capture a reader into the upper class society of his day and all of their ludicrous mannerisms. There are hints of Wilde himself aplenty in Algernon and his dashing flamboyancy.
The play follows a standard three act structure, and can be read casually easily in one sitting. I can imagine, and indeed would love to have the opportunity to perform what would be an exceptionally enjoyable play to rehearse.
It is not overly long, it is not overly pretentious and the language is beautiful. It knocks some of Shakespeare's overblown works for six and then some. This should be standard order for every classroom in the country. Wilde is a great, and is simply not revered enough.
The cheap Penguin edition is for my needs perfect. Clearly set out, nice handy size, good typeface and a brilliant £2 price tag. It's worth £2 of anyone's money. And I also like having the opportunity to have Wilde's plays in individual editions, rather than the bulky anthologies.
Concrete 5 stars, please read it, you certainly won't regret it.
This Play never palls. Oscar Wilde's witty and amusing dialogue remains a perennial delight and it is a play which can be listened to over and over again with enjoyment.
This particular recording features a strong cast, with Jeremy Clyde, Richard Pasco and Prunella Scales taking the main parts.
It is also the first broadcast of the original four-act version of the play. The extra dialogue is not often met with in most modern productions.
It is ideal for listening to while doing a long, boring job, (such as the ironing!). And I am sure it will give equal pleasure, whether the listener is already familiar with the play, or whether it comes as an entirely new experience.
It remains a tragedy that the author of such a delicious light comedy should have met with such a disastrous fall from grace.
i bought this copy as i have lost my hard copy of the book and already i have noticed a few discrepancies in wording and quotes. if you are using this for study purposes, as i am, be wary of the quotes you take as it could cause problems for you. (in place of "the country" this copy states "the u.s" or "the united states", this is just one example of potential mistakes and discrepancies). i have no complaints against the play itself, i am just aware of the problems that can be caused through the differences in this copy and the original.
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )Verified Purchase
Yes, this is Oscar Wilde's deliciously camp, ferociously witty comedy of errors & incisive observations on the social mores of the day. This presentation of the 1977 radio play offers pristine sound, excellent production values, & has a star-studded British cast, headed by Maurice Denham & the marvellous National Treasure that is Prunella Scales. I placed it on the CD tray & lay back on the bed, box of chocolates & glass of wine resting on the bedside table, & enjoyed every second of its 140 minutes' playing time (over 2 CDs). It's amazing to realise that this play was first performed in 1895, & that this particular broadcast is now 33 years old as it still sounds as vibrant, fresh, funny, perceptive & relevant today. Excellent entertainment, & these CDs can be played over again as there is such a richness to the writing & this production. Highly recommended.
Alright, this is not the best production of this play ever, however it is amusing; Emily Bergl plays a delightful Cecily, and Sarah Zimmerman is a good Gwendolen, but Jill Gascoine is a joy as Miss Prism. Algernon and Jack are played with gusto by Matthew Wolf and James Marsters, but I think Charles Busch had the hardest job playing Lady Bracknell, as everyone thinks automatically of Dame Edith Evans in the part and makes it a hard act to follow. He did let us down a bit with the handbag speech, but other than that he was very good.The play jogs along briskly and is still very funny, although it would take a very bad cast to spoil Wilde's brilliant writing.So sit back and put your feet up and prepare to be entertained by this brilliant farce,one of my particular favorites from the pen of the brilliant Oscar Wilde you won't be disappointed the 2 hours just fly by.