Review: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

20 Books of Summer 2023: Book 1

I’m not into plays generally; had I realized The Importance of Being Earnest was a play, it would probably have been left off my queue. However, the dialog is so bright and lively that it reads more easily than most plays I’ve read. I’ve always struggled to visualize plays since there’s rarely much description of the physical scenes. Here though, there’s no vague “Elsinore. A platform before the castle” to imagine. There are minimal stage directions, and most describe the tone or gesticulations of the characters. Since the play is more about delivering a string of witticisms than a heavy plot, it’s easy to imagine. The only issue is that much of the play revolves around a single joke, but it wraps up before this joke turns stale. read more