The Vital Importance of Being Earnest

caricatures of the cast from the 1939 John Gielgud London production

Jotted halfway down today’s (rather terribly lengthy) to-do list was the reminder that  tomorrow we’re discussing Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest in Victorian Lit class. And just like that, my night got better. (It’s not really procrastination if you’re doing something else on your list. Right?)

Rereading Wilde promised to be vastly more enjoyable than any of the other terribly vital things that have yet to be accomplished today, so that’s what got done.

Here are some excerpts that made me giggle.

Algernon–“The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!”

Jack–“That wouldn’t be at all a bad thing.”

Algernon–“Literary criticism is not your forte, my dear fellow. Don’t try it. You should leave that to people who haven’t been at a University. They do it so well in the daily papers.”

(Yikes! reminds me that I have to write a paper for Lit Crit… because, you know, I am at University. Perhaps I should bring this argument to my prof’s attention.) (On second thought, I’m fairly certain she’s familiar with it.)

Lady Bracknell–“…and what do you know?”

Jack–“I know nothing, Lady Bracknell.”

Lady Bracknell–“I am pleased to hear it. I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.”

And finally, possibly my favorite…

Algernon–“If I am occasionally a little overdressed, I make up for it by being always immensely overeducated.”

What an absolutely smashing way to begin the week. I do hope yours proves quite as splendid.

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