The Importance of Being Earnest

Courier Corporation
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Here is Oscar Wilde's most brilliant tour de force, a witty and buoyant comedy of manners that has delighted millions in countless productions since its first performance in London's St. James' Theatre on February 14, 1895. The Importance of Being Earnest is celebrated not only for the lighthearted ingenuity of its plot, but for its inspired dialogue, rich with scintillating epigrams still savored by all who enjoy artful conversation.
From the play's effervescent beginnings in Algernon Moncrieff's London flat to its hilarious denouement in the drawing room of Jack Worthing's country manor in Hertfordshire, this comic masterpiece keeps audiences breathlessly anticipating a new bon mot or a fresh twist of plot moment to moment.
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About the author

Flamboyant man-about-town, Oscar Wilde had a reputation that preceded him, especially in his early career. He was born to a middle-class Irish family (his father was a surgeon) and was trained as a scholarship boy at Trinity College, Dublin. He subsequently won a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was heavily influenced by John Ruskin and Walter Pater, whose aestheticism was taken to its radical extreme in Wilde's work. By 1879 he was already known as a wit and a dandy; soon after, in fact, he was satirized in Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience. Largely on the strength of his public persona, Wilde undertook a lecture tour to the United States in 1882, where he saw his play Vera open---unsuccessfully---in New York. His first published volume, Poems, which met with some degree of approbation, appeared at this time. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, the daughter of an Irish lawyer, and within two years they had two sons. During this period he wrote, among others, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), his only novel, which scandalized many readers and was widely denounced as immoral. Wilde simultaneously dismissed and encouraged such criticism with his statement in the preface, "There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all." In 1891 Wilde published A House of Pomegranates, a collection of fantasy tales, and in 1892 gained commercial and critical success with his play, Lady Windermere's Fan He followed this comedy with A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and his most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). During this period he also wrote Salome, in French, but was unable to obtain a license for it in England. Performed in Paris in 1896, the play was translated and published in England in 1894 by Lord Alfred Douglas and was illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley. Lord Alfred was the son of the Marquess of Queensbury, who objected to his son's spending so much time with Wilde because of Wilde's flamboyant behavior and homosexual relationships. In 1895, after being publicly insulted by the marquess, Wilde brought an unsuccessful slander suit against the peer. The result of his inability to prove slander was his own trial on charges of sodomy, of which he was found guilty and sentenced to two years of hard labor. During his time in prison, he wrote a scathing rebuke to Lord Alfred, published in 1905 as De Profundis. In it he argues that his conduct was a result of his standing "in symbolic relations to the art and culture" of his time. After his release, Wilde left England for Paris, where he wrote what may be his most famous poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), drawn from his prison experiences. Among his other notable writing is The Soul of Man under Socialism (1891), which argues for individualism and freedom of artistic expression. There has been a revived interest in Wilde's work; among the best recent volumes are Richard Ellmann's, Oscar Wilde and Regenia Gagnier's Idylls of the Marketplace , two works that vary widely in their critical assumptions and approach to Wilde but that offer rich insights into his complex character.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Courier Corporation
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Published on
Feb 29, 2012
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Pages
64
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ISBN
9780486110189
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Language
English
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Genres
Drama / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
History / Europe / Ireland
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This carefully crafted ebook is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents of the complete works of Oscar Wilde, containing more than 150 works. Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854 – 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams and plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment which was followed by his early death. At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). The opportunity to construct aesthetic details precisely, and combine them with larger social themes, drew Wilde to write drama. He wrote Salome (1891) in French in Paris but it was refused a licence. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, prosecuted for libel, a charge carrying a penalty of up to two years in prison. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years' hard labour. In 1897, in prison, he wrote De Profundis which was published in 1905, a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. Upon his release he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six. Content: The Plays: VERA, THE DUCHESS OF PADUA, LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN, A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, SALOMÉ, SALOME (English Version), AN IDEAL HUSBAND, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. The Poetry: more than 100 poems. The Novel: THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, including THE REVISED 20 CHAPTER VERSION. The Short Stories: THE PORTRAIT OF MR. W. H., THE HAPPY PRINCE AND OTHER TALES, A HOUSE OF POMEGRANATES, LORD ARTHUR SAVILE’S CRIME AND OTHER STORIES. The Non-Fiction: THE DECAY OF LYING, PEN, PENCIL AND POISON — A STUDY IN GREEN, THE CRITIC AS ARTIST, THE TRUTH OF MASKS, THE RISE OF HISTORICAL CRITICISM, THE ENGLISH RENAISSANCE OF ART, HOUSE DECORATION, ART AND THE HANDICRAFTSMAN, LECTURE TO ART STUDENTS, LONDON MODELS, POEMS IN PROSE, THE SOUL OF MAN UNDER SOCIALISM, PHRASES AND PHILOSOPHIES FOR THE USE OF THE YOUNG, A FEW MAXIMS FOR THE INSTRUCTION OF THE OVER-EDUCATED, DE PROFUNDIS, OSCAR WILDE’S LETTER TO ROBERT BROWNING, PERSONAL IMPRESSIONS OF AMERICA, THE DECORATIVE ARTS, THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL, THE TRUTH OF MASKS. The Journalism: A HANDBOOK TO MARRIAGE, A RIDE THROUGH MOROCCO, ARISTOTLE AT AFTERNOON TEA, BALZAC IN ENGLISH, DINNERS AND DISHES, HAMLET AT THE LYCEUM, LONDON MODELS, MR MORRIS ON TAPESTRY, MR WHISTLER’S TEN O’CLOCK, MRS LANGTRY AS HESTER GRAZEBROOK, OLIVIA AT THE LYCEUM, THE AMERICAN INVASION, TWO BIOGRAPHIES OF KEATS, TWO LETTERS TO THE DAILY CHRONICLE, WOMAN’S DRESS. Apocrypha: TELENY.
This Complete Works of Oscar Wilde is a truly complete and authoritative single-volume edition of Oscar Wilde’s works. It contains his only novel, 'The Portrait of Dorian Gray', as well as his plays, stories, poems, essays and letters, all in their most authoritative texts. For easier navigation, there are tables of contents for each section and one for the whole volume.

This ebook contains his complete works in a new, easy-to-read and easy-to-navigate format. With this beautiful Collectible Edition, you can enjoy Wilde's enduring literary legacy again and again.

This collection features the following works:

Novel : The Picture of Dorian Gray

Short Stories :

1. The Birthday of the Infanta

2. The Canterville Ghost

3. The Devoted Friend

4. The Fisherman and His Soul

5. The Happy Prince

6. Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime

7. The Model Millionaire

8. The Nightingale and the Rose

9. The Portrait of Mr. W. H.

10. The Remarkable Rocket

11. The Selfish Giant

12. The Sphinx without a Secret

13. The Star-Child

14. The Young King

Poetry :

1. The Ballad of Reading Gaol

2. Collection of Poems

3. Miscellaneous Poems

4. Poems in Prose

5. Ravenna

6. The Sphinx

Essays :

1. Art and the Handicraftsman

2. Children in Prison and Other Cruelties of Prison Life

3. The Critic as Artist

4. De Profundis

5. The Decay of Lying

6. The English Renaissance of Art

7. House Decoration

8. Impressions of America

9. Lecture to Art Students

10. London Models

11. Miscellaneous Aphorisms

12. Pen, Pencil and Poison

13. The Rise of Historical Criticism

14. Selected Prose

15. Shorter Prose Pieces

16. The Soul of Man

17. The Truth of Masks

Plays :

1. A Florentine Tragedy — A Fragment

2. A Woman of No Importance

3. An Ideal Husband

4. The Duchess of Padua

5. For Love of the King

6. The Importance of Being Earnest

7. La Sainte Courtisane or, the Woman Covered with Jewels

8. Lady Windermere’s Fan

9. Salomé

10. Vera, or the Nihilists

Non-Fiction :

A Critic in Pall Mall


(The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde, 9788180320200)

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