The Importance of Being Earnest

I have this plan for this year. It involves writing lots, reading lots, and crafting lots. And it involves talking about all three here. My plan on the reading front is to get through at least one book a week, to review on the Wednesday slot. Since I am by habit lazy and by nature solar-powered, it remains to be seen whether my earnest intentions will overcome my current, wintry, lethargy.

My choice this week is Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, for possibly obvious reasons, which I first read many years ago. I think it needs no real review, since Wilde’s reputation as a sparkling wit and writer precedes him and is, I think, well-deserved, and if you haven’t come across him or his work before, I urge you to hunt one down. Or, perhaps, to hunt a film-adaptation of his plays. I would particularly recommend the 2002 Colin Firth/Rupert Everett version of Earnest. Or maybe the 1998 film of An Ideal Husband with Sadie Frost and James Wilby (and, incidentally, Colin’s brother Jonathon as one of the supporting characters).

It is, basically, the story of two young men – the one more sensible and responsible, the other irresponsible and light-hearted – wooing young women. But, while it having dashings of romance might put some people off, it is so much more than just a romantic tale. If you want technicalities, it’s a satire on Victorian London society, but really: it’s just so funny! It is, I suppose, something in the style of W.S.Gilbert, of Gilbert & Sullivan fame, but without the music.

One of my favourite lines from Earnest is one of Lady Bracknell’s, dashing Mr Worthing’s hopes of being allowed to court her daughter Gwendoline: “You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter – a girl brought up with the utmost care – to marry into a cloak-room and form an alliance with a parcel? Good morning, Mr Worthing!” Best said by Judi Dench, in the aforementioned 2002 film, although it probably means very little without the context of Worthing having been a foundling, discovered in the cloak-room of Victoria station in a hand-bag.

Anyway, do, I urge you, read or watch The Importance of Being Earnest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s