Importance of Being Earnest (Norton Critical Edition)
The text of this Norton Critical Edition of The Importance of Being Earnest is the established three-act version. Originally in four acts, Wilde shortened it to three at the urging of George Alexander, the owner of the St. James Theatre and first actor to play Jack Worthing. The play is accompanied by explanatory annotations and by an appendix of excised portions.
"Backgrounds" includes essays on Wilde and the 1890s by prominent cultural critics Joseph Donohue, Regenia Gagnier, and Karl Beckson. "Reviews and Reactions" collects contemporary responses to The Importance of Being Earnest, among them George Bernard Shaw’s famous dissenting view and the American assessment by H. F.
"Essays in Criticism" includes six diverse assessments of Wilde and the play by E. H. Mikhail, Camille Paglia, Christopher Craft, Michael Patrick Gillespie, Peter Raby, and Richard Haslam.
A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.