The Importance of Being Earnest and Four Other Plays (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

The Importance of Being Earnest and Four Other Plays (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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The Importance of Being Earnest and Four Other Plays (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley

The Importance of Being Earnest and Four Other Plays, by Oscar Wilde, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.


Oscar Wilde’s legendary wit dazzles in The Importance of Being Earnest, one of the greatest and most popular works of drama to emerge from Victorian England. A light-hearted satire of the absurdity of all forms and conventions, this comic masterpiece features an unforgettable cast of characters who, as critic Max Beerbohm observed, “speak a kind of beautiful nonsense—the language of high comedy, twisted into fantasy.”

This collection also includes Oscar Wilde’s most famous comedies, Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, and An Ideal Husband, as well as his poetic tragedy Salomé—all written between 1891 and 1895, Wilde’s most creative period. George Bernard Shaw said of Oscar Wilde that he is “our most thorough playwright. He plays with everything: with wit, with philosophy, with drama, with actors and audience, with the whole theater.”

Kenneth Krauss received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He teaches drama at the College of Saint Rose, where he also directs and produces. His most recent book is The Drama of Fallen France, on French theater under the German Occupation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593080594
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 12/01/2003
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 26,810
Product dimensions: 4.13(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.04(d)

About the Author

The ever-quotable Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet who delighted Victorian England with his legendary wit. He found critical and popular success with his scintillating plays, chiefly The Importance of Being Earnest, while his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, scandalized readers. Imprisoned for two years for homosexual behavior, Wilde moved to France after his release, where he died destitute.

Date of Birth:

October 16, 1854

Date of Death:

November 30, 1900

Place of Birth:

Dublin, Ireland

Place of Death:

Paris, France

Education:

The Royal School in Enniskillen, Dublin, 1864; Trinity College, Dublin, 1871; Magdalen College, Oxford, England, 1874

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The Importance of Being Earnest and Four Other Plays (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Recently many of the plays by Oscar Wilde have enjoyed a move to the silver screen. And done so with great praise. 'Importance of Being Earnest' is no different. While I love the move, especially Judy Dench, READING Oscar Wilde is what I like best. It's like a cool drink on a hot summer day, so poetic and fresh is his voice, his style. And even by today's standards he's funny. I enjoy his work on two levels: First, thinking about what it must have been like for those in the early part of the last century to watch these great plays, and second, seeing how they still hold up after all these years. 'Earnest' is filled with puns, plays on words, and a mind-bending plot. It's farce, fact, fiction, and fun. I highly recommend all Wilde's works, along with a book I recently picked up on Barnes and Noble titled 'katzenjammer' by J.T. McCrae which was also funny and well-written. Also, while still good, try Wilde's 'Picture of Dorian Gray' for another enjoyable read.
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Like this one, so witty and crazy!
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Bookworm95AO More than 1 year ago
Oscar Wilde is one of my favorite authors! I just love how he introduces and supports two totally different points of views on life with every subject the characters talk about! Like The Picture of Dorian Gray, every page is quotable!!! However, I think that adding Salome to the end of the book was a bit anticlimactic. It took away from the general grandeur of the book. I just didn't like the play. But overall, great book to get.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great edition. The plays in this collection are very entertaining. The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere's Fan are my favorites in this book. The print is easy to read and the value is exceptional. I have read it so many times already, and I look forward to reading it again...and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i havent read this yet, however, i have seen the movie version with collin firth, rupert everett, reese witherspoon, etc., and it inspired me to read it!! the characters are so funny, its just perfection acted, if you dont have a chance to see it as a play, watch the movie! worth every penny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago