Monday, August 20, 2012

the importance of being earnest

Today is the first day of school for my siblings. And my first non-first day of school in about fifteen years. And honestly, it doesn't even feel weird. Maybe that's cause I'm used to doing nothing...haha. ANYWAY. This morning I had the luxurious pleasure of curling up on my bed in my jeans and a hoodie (it's a little cool over here today) and listen to my period drama soundtracks while reading a play on my Kindle.

I love reading plays. I LOVE it. Maybe because I can picture them being acted out, and so much is left to the imagination without wordy descriptions. Just dialogue. I love it.

So today I read "The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People" by Oscar Wilde. I chuckled the whole way through, and finished it with the feeling that I read something worthwhile that was fun. Sometimes classics make you work hard and you feel tired. But I only felt happy. *grin*

Here are some of the choicest tidbits from this hilarious play:

Algernon: As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.
Algernon: My dear fellow, the way you flirt with Gwendolen is perfectly disgraceful. It is almost as bad as the way Gwendolen flirts with you.
Jack: I am in love with Gwendolen. I have come up to town expressly to propose to her.
Algernon:I thought you had come up for pleasure?....I call that business.
Jack:  How utterly unromantic you are!
Algernon: I really don't see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal. Why, one may be accepted. One usually is, I believe. Then the excitement is all over.
Algernon: Well, in the first place girls never marry the man they flirt with. Girls don't think it right.
Algernon: More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read.
Algernon: Yes. But why does your aunt call you her uncle? 'From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack.' There is no objection, I admit, to an aunt being a small aunt, but why an aunt, no matter what her size may be, should call her own nephew her uncle, I can't quite make out. Besides, your name isn't Jack at all; it is Ernest. [....]
Jack: [....] Well, my name is Ernest in town and Jack in the country, and the cigarette case was given to me in the country.
Algernon: Yes, but that does not account for the fact that your small Aunt Cecily, who lives at Tunbridge Wells, calls you her dear uncle. Come, old boy, you had much better have the thing out at once.
Lady Bracknell: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
Cecily: Yes, you've wonderfully good taste, Ernest. It's the excuse I've always given for your leading such a bad life. And this is the box in which I keep all your dear letters.
Algernon: My letters! But, my own sweet Cecily, I have never written you any letters.
Cecily: You need hardly remind me of that, Ernest. I remember only too well that I was forced to write your letters for you. I wrote always three times a week, and sometimes oftener.
Algernon: Oh, do let me read them, Cecily?
Cecily: Oh, I couldn't possibly. They would make you far too conceited.
Lady Bracknell: who is that young person whose hand my nephew Algernon is now holding in what seems to me a peculiarly unnecessary manner?

And my inevitable film investigation proved very fruitful - turns out there's a very popular 1952 version, as well as 2002 remake with Judi Dench (Lady Catherine - '05) and Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy - '95). Both look fanastic - the clips I've found on YT have kept me in stiches. Maybe I'll get to be in this play sometime... #theaterproblems (oops, you don't use hashtags in blogger...oh well)

What's a recent favorite literary work of yours? Have you read anything by Oscar Wilde?


  1. I LOVE Earnest!! It make me laugh every time I read it. :)

  2. Hey Jo! I have never read the play, but I've seen the 2002 version and really liked it! (and from the excerpts you posted, the dialogue is pretty much exactly the same!) I'd definitely recommend it, but there are two times where a certain image flashes on screen that isn't totally appropriate. **cough cough** it isn't in any way important, so I wish it were left out. :P

  3. The Importance of Being Earnest is hysterical. I haven't read it in its entirety, but I was Cecily in a play given by my acting class several years ago, so I am familiar with the story. I love the scene in the garden with the muffins:

    Jack: How can you 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.

    Algernon: 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.

    Brilliant. :D

    Love you,
    Elizabeth Rose

  4. Haha! I do so love the movie, though I've yet to read the play. Silly me--every time I've gone in a bookstore since I've forgotten the author and never had the courage to ask. :P

  5. Hehe. :O) Love the quotes you chose. I haven't seen any film adaptations, but I've read the play who knows how many times. The quote about playing the piano with great expression is right up there with Lady Catherine's announcment that she should have been a great proficient, had she ever learnt. :)