The Importance of Being Oscar Wilde.

So I have this bookshelf app. (or something like that) for my iPod. I think it’s meant more for the iPad because, while not impossible, it’s a little impractical to try to read on such a small screen as has the iPod touch. All the same, it works. There are a lot of free books available, most being classics. One book that I downloaded today was The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. I first came across this play when I saw the movie by the same name. Colin Firth and Rupert Everett play the main two men (Jack and Algernon) who at one point or another both claim to be called Ernest. There are two women (Gwendolen – Frances O’Conner and Cecily – Reese Witherspoon) who are obsessed with the name Ernest and swear they can only love someone with that name. Eventually they find out the men really aren’t called Ernest and have to decide if they can still marry them. Of course they are all connected – Jack and Algy are friends, Gwendolen is Algy’s cousin, and Cecily is Jack’s ward – and in the hub-bub Gwendolen and Cecily think they are both engaged to the same man. If you’ve never heard of the play, seen the movie, or seen the play (I’ve been fortunate enough to have done all 3) I enthusiastically suggest you check it out. It’s not that long of a read and the movie (2002) is very well done (in my humble opinion). I think Rupert Everett and Colin Firth play off each other very well and are able to capture the essence of the characters they portray. Hilarity ensues! And the wonderful Judi Dench is not to be left out. She plays Lady Bracknell (Gwendolen’s mother). So please, if you value humour at all, consider checking out the movie, you won’t be disappointed! Well, you might be if you don’t like British humour, British accents, or Oscar Wilde, but I’m confident that most people will be able to find something funny about it.

Now I want to go watch it. I honestly found it funnier after reading the play because of course I missed some of the nuances in the dialogue while watching the movie. That happens sometimes even when there’s no ‘foreign accent’ to contend with.

Some updates with the kiddies; Sylvain has learned how to clap. It’s so cute watching him wave and applaud. He does so at the most random times and that’s what makes it so special. Also, at some point today Bastien commented to Adeline that he has 3 parents; Maman, Papa, and Holly. She had to correct him of course, but can you blame him? I know I haven’t always been here, but I’ve been here for a while, especially to a 3-year-old. Although I doubt he’s going to be overly broken heart-ed when I leave – he might not even understand completely that I won’t be coming back.

After I’ve finished re-reading The Importance of Being Earnest I’m going to check out another of Oscar Wilde’s books: An Ideal Husband. Mostly I’m curious. I have a copy of one of his other books at home and I started reading it, but I didn’t get very far before something got in the way and I put it away with all of my other books. I’m pretty sure I was enjoying it so far. I figure if I liked one thing of his I’m bound to enjoy more!

Really. If you have a chance. Go check out the movie! I will now leave you with an excerpt from the play:

Act 1: Just after Jack enters the scene:

Algernon: How are you, my dear Ernest? What brings you up to town?

Jack: Oh, pleasure, pleasure! What else should bring one anywhere? Eating as usual, I see, Algy! (He’s eating all the cucumber sandwiches that were made for his aunt.)

A: I believe it is customary in good society to take some slight refreshment at five o’clock. Where have you been since last Thursday?

J: In the country.

A: What on earth do you do there?

J: When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people. It is excessively boring.

A: And who are the people who amuse?

J: Oh, neighbours, neighbours.

A: Got nice neighbours in your part of Shropshire?

J: Perfectly horrid! Never speak to one of them.

*I cut out a few lines here*

A: Oh! Merely Aunt August and Gwendolen. (on who is coming to visit)

J: How perfectly delightful! 

A: Yes, that is all very well; but I am afraid Aunt Augusta won’t quite approve of your being here. 

J: May I ask why?

A: My dear fellow, the way you flirt with Gwendolen is perfectly disgraceful. It is almost as bad as the way Gwendolen flirts with you.

J: I am in love with Gwendolen. I have come up to town expressly to propose to her.

A: I thought you had come up for pleasure?… I call that business.

J: How utterly unromantic you are! 

A: I really don’t see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal. Why, one may be accepted. One usually is, I believe. Then the excitement is all over. The very essence of romance is uncertainty. If ever I get married, I’ll certainly try to forget the fact. 

J: I have no doubt about that, dear Algy. The Divorce Court was specifically invented for people whose memories are so curiously constituted. 

A: Oh! there is no use speculating on that subject. Divorces are made in Heaven. Please don’t touch the cucumber sandwiches. They are ordered specially for Aunt Augusta. [takes one and eats it]

J: Well, you have been eating them all the time.

A: That is quite a different matter. She is my aunt. Have some bread and butter. The bread and butter is for Gwendolen. Gwendolen is devoted to bread and butter. 

Of course I’d love to just include the whole play, but that is entirely out of the question. And I’m always going to think of something I’d like to include, but one liners won’t always make sense without a bit of surrounding dialogue and we’d be here forever. This gives you a little taste of what it’s like though.

                                                                                                                      

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© 2010-2011 hollyjb

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8 Comments

  1. Sites like Project Gutenberg are wonderful for public domain books. I discovered free book apps when I had my iTouch … saved me lots of money.

    Reply
    • I’ve been there before. This app was just a spur of the moment thing. I don’t actually use it that often and almost forgot I had it!

      Reply
  2. I know the play. Believe it or not, it was my Senior Class play back in 1975. UGH I’m old!

    Great comedy!

    Reply
  3. I’ve heard the movie was good, but never actually got to watching it, and I never new it was based on a book! Wow, thanks for enlightening me 🙂
    Will check it out soon, and let you know! 🙂

    Reply
    • Yeah, it’s based on a play :D. I didn’t know it was either when I saw the movie. I don’t even remember why I watched the movie I’m just glad I did! I hope you like it ^_^.

      Reply
  4. The T

     /  September 20, 2011

    Look at you being all deep and stuff…. I want the shallow from you… I love you as the commenter…that girl deserves an oscar of her own…and I can only give you the highest award I know…the hemingway… the man after whom I pattern myself… if only you knew…the influences are astounding… yet here I am blogging…when i should be writing….

    adore you holly… you deserve to be famous…in a nun kinda way… if you’re turning to the darkside…let me know… I can assist….lmao…

    T.

    Reply
    • All deep because I’ve read a bit of Oscar Wilde? So far he’s hilarious! I don’t try to be particularly deep, I just try to be me, lol, but I know there’s shallowness floating around here… I don’t actually know much about Hemingway, although I feel like I should. Famous in a nun kind of way? Lol. It depends what you mean by darkside…..a part of me might already be there, it’s just hiding in the shadows :P. But if I need a hand I’ll definitely come calling! Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments. I hope you had a great day with those kids!

      Reply

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