Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (and a bit of other stuff)

Rest assured, I am still reading (and writing/brainstorming/plotting).

Right now I'm in the middle of:

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (for probably the 7th time)
The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 2: The Spirit Rebellion (fascinating!) by Rachel Aaron
How to Be A Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play by Barbara Baig


I just read the entirety of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde -- out loud (with an attempt at a British accent).

A friend and I discovered we both loved a) reading out loud and b) Oscar Wilde plays so a few nights ago we each grabbed our own copies (electronic, both of them -- something funny about that) and a chair and picked our parts. My favorite character in any Oscar Wilde play is the witty, pretend-to-be-flighty-but-actually-wise character.  So of course I wanted to read Algernon.  Since there were two of us, I also got to read Gwendolen and Miss Prism's lines.

Here's a taste of the delectable words:

"The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!"  -- Algernon (Act 1)

"It is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read." -- Algernon (Act 1)

"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." -- Gwendolen (Act 2)

"The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means." -- Miss Prism (Act 2)

The movie adaptation is just wonderful -- apart from a few changes here and there, it is faithful to the original and the cast is lovely (Rupert Everett plays Algernon, Colin Firth plays Jack/Ernest).

My favorite play of Oscar Wilde's, however, is An Ideal Husband, and that movie adaptation is also my favorite.

I highly recommend picking up a copy of either of those (or Lady Windermere's Fan).  They're hilarious and insightful and his writing is such that even while you're taking in the deep societal insights, there's a lightness to the story that keep the insights from being too plain.  (And there's a bit of absurdity that I love as well)

I will be back in a few days with a review of some kind.

For now, I leave you with these words from the book on writing I'm perusing at the moment:

"Creativity is simply the ability to make things, not by following a read-made recipe or a pattern, but by taking materials and combining them in one's own way."

1 comment:

  1. I love Oscar Wilde! Those two plays were definitely my favorites, though I haven't read either in a long time. I have a copy of his completed works - I should really read those all at some point.

    Anyway, I mostly stopped by to let you know that I've nominated you for The Booker Award. You can find details here: