The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays: Salome; Lady Windermere's Fan (Signet classics)
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A universal favorite, The Importance of Being Earnest displays Oscar Wilde's theatrical genius at its brilliant best. Subtitled "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People", this hilarious attack on Victorian manners and morals turns a pompous world on its head, lets duplicity lead to happiness, and makes riposte the highest form of art. Also included in this special collection are Wilde's first comedy success, Lady Windermere's Fan, and his richly sensual melodrama, Salome.
difficult to meet one. LORD DARLINGTON. How can you be so conceited, Dumby? DUMBY. I didn’t say it as a matter of conceit. I said it as a matter of regret. I have been wildly, madly adored. I am sorry I have. It has been an immense nuisance. I should like to be allowed a little time to myself now and then. LORD AUGUSTUS (looking round). Time to educate yourself, I suppose. DUMBY. No, time to forget all I have learned. That is much more important, dear Tuppy. (LORD AUGUSTUS moves uneasily in
1890 the French painter Maurice Denis—who was a close friend of the actor-manager who gave Salomé its first public performance—wrote words that were to become famous: “Remember that a picture—before being a war horse, a nude woman, or some anecdote—is essentially a plane surface covered with colors arranged in a certain order.” That is, a work of art first of all is an independent creation, not an imitation of nature. In some of Wilde’s comments on art, this comes to mean that subject matter is
horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless. ALGERNON. Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them. JACK. I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances. ALGERNON. When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed, when I am in really great trouble, as anyone who knows me intimately
Augusta. CECILY. Thank you, Aunt Augusta. LADY BRACKNELL To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other’s character before marriage, which I think is never advisable. JACK. I beg your pardon for interrupting you, Lady Bracknell, but this engagement is quite out of the question. I am Miss Cardew’s guardian, and she cannot marry without my consent until she comes of age. That consent I absolutely decline to give. LADY
BRACKNELL (rising and drawing herself up). You must be quite aware that what you propose is out of the question. JACK. Then a passionate celibacy is all that any of us can look forward to. LADY BRACKNELL. That is not the destiny I propose for Gwendolen. Algernon, of course, can choose for himself. (Pulls out her watch.) Come, dear, (GWENDOLEN rises) we have already missed five, if not six, trains. To miss any more might expose us to comment on the platform. (Enter DR. CHASUBLE.)