Vanity Fea

The importance of Being Earnest

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature:

The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, a play by Oscar Wilde, first performed at the St James's Theatre, London, on 14 Feb. 1895.

Wilde's most dazzling and epigrammatic work, it describes the courtships and betrothals of two young men about town, John Worthing (Jack) and Algernon (Algy) Moncrieff, who are in pursuit respectively of Gwendolen Fairfax (Algy's cousin) and Jack's ward, Cecily Cardew. Both young men lead double lives, in that Jack is known in town under the name of Ernest, while representing to his ward Cecily in the country that he has a wicked brother Ernest. Algy, to cover his own diversions, has created a fictitious character, the sickly Bunbury, whose ill health requires a visit whenever engagements in town (particularly those with his formidable aunt Lady Bracknell) render his absence desirable. After many confusions of identity, during which it transpires that Cecily's governess, Miss Prism, had once mislaid Jack as a baby in a handbag at Victoria Station, it is revealed that Jack and Algy are in fact brothers, and that Jack's name is indeed Ernest. All objections, both financial and genealogical, to both matches, are thus overcome and Gwendolen's addiction to the very name of 'Ernest' is satisfied, so all ends happily.


BBC TV production, 1986:


The Life and Loves of Oscar Wilde:

Wilde entre líneas

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