the importance of being earnest

Quote It Saturday

Quote It Saturday is hosted at Freda’s Voice.

Add as many quotes as you wish, from whom ever you wish. It can even be lyrics to a song.
Just tell us who it is. Anonymous welcome too.
Don’t forget to Link up at Freda’s site.

Today’s Quotes come from one of my favourite plays, The Importance of Being Earnest.

…Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven’t got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die.

* … Her mother is perfectly unbearable. Never met such a Gorgon . . . I don’t really know what a Gorgon is like, but I am quite sure that Lady Bracknell is one. In any case, she is a monster, without being a myth, which is rather unfair . . 

JACK: How can you sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this 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.

~ Oscar Wilde from The Importance of Being Earnest

Five Best Books: Genre Reads

In this week’s 5 Best Books we are asked to list our Five Best Books: Genre Reads.

As everyone pretty much knows my favourite genre is mystery, more precisely Golden Age cosy mysteries. I am also rather fond of reading classics. I am very much tempted to do a mystery or a classic top 5 but have decided against it. Seriously, how many more lists can I make with Pride and Prejudice topping the list and Cards on the Table popping up here and there?

Instead I would like to do a list on another one of my favourite genres, plays. Not many people like reading plays. They find all the dialogue going back and forth to be too distracting.  I know of only three people, besides me, who like reading plays! So here’s to a frequently neglected genre that deserves more appreciation from the readers,

1.  L’Avare (The Miser) by Jean-Baptiste Molière– 

L’Avare (The Miser) is a satire written in 1668 by French playwright Jean Baptiste Molière. It was first performed in 1668, in which Molière played the central role of the miser himself.

The first time I read it, I started off intending to read only a few pages. But I ended up reading the whole thing in just two hours. It is so quirky and funny and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

2.  Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller– 

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller premiered in 1949 at the Morosco Theatre, New York City. The original production was directed by Elia Kazan and ran for 742 performances. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play in 1949.

I was and still am greatly impressed by how as the state of Willy Loman’s mind deteriorates the line between the past and present fades away. Towards the end the past and present begin to coincide with one another. This is not a happy play but still it remains a favourite because of Arthur Miller’s incredible writing and strongly portrayed characters.

3.  The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan– 

Sheridan’s first and arguably most famous play, The Rivals, was first staged in 1775. The play was an utter failure on its first night. Undaunted by this calamity Sheridan radically re-wrote and re-cast the play. The play’s second performance was a hit with the public and made the young writer an instant success.

I still laugh at the same jokes even after many re-reads. I particularly like the scenes leading up to the proposed duel between Jack Absolute, Bob Acres, Faulkland and Sir Lucius O’Trigger. Bob’s and his servant David’s nervousness about the duel is hilarious!

4.  The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde– 

The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, first performed in 1895 at London.

The Importance of Being Earnest is my favourite play written by Wilde. The dialogues are so witty that I cannot read even two pages without finding something funny and laughing out loud. An unbelievably crazy and highly quotable play.

5.  Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw– 

Mrs. Warren’s Profession was a highly controversial play. It was banned by the Lord Chamberlain’s office on grounds of ‘glorifying’ prostitution. It was first performed at London’s New Lyric Club, a private club performance for members only and so in no need of censorship. In 1905 the whole crew and cast giving a public performance of it in New York City were arrested.

Interestingly, the play never mentions what Mrs. Warren’s profession actually is. We are able to draw inferences about it from the way the other characters of the play react to her and when she herself recalls the story of her youth. The Victorian society declined to acknowledge that such people (people like Mrs. Warren and her patron Sir George Crofts) exist. Even if they do such women were not to be discussed in public.

The atmosphere of the play is charged with intensity. Frank Gardner’s behaviour with Mrs. Warren and his relationship with her daughter Vivie and Sir Crofts’ attitude towards both of the Warren women are fascinating to watch.

I wouldn’t call this a light, entertaining play that one can read often. But I just find it to be a very interesting piece of literature.

Weekly Geeks 2011-19: Quotables!

Weekly Geeks this week asked us to share our favourite bookish quotes. We all have our favourite bookish quotes. Some well-known, and some not so well-known. This week’s geeky assignment for us is to share some of those favourites. It can be just one favourite that we’d like to highlight, or a whole list. It can be quotes from books, or quotes about books and reading. We can tell everyone where the quote is from, and/or who said it …. or we can create a quote quiz and make the readers guess. (Guessers! No fair googling!) Whatever we decide to do, we should have fun doing it!

The first quote comes from a book I read last year. The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson. Jim Thompson was ahead of his time. For those who don’t know what the book is about it is the story of Lou Ford, a small town sheriff’s deputy. He is an ordinary (if slightly dull) man. Except no one knows that behind his benign exterior there lies a dark secret. Once he meets a woman called Joyce Lakeland though his time is up. Soon things spiral out of control and the dead bodies start piling up. A must read for fans of crime fiction!

There is a nightmarish quality to the narrative. It’s because Lou’s life is somewhat of a nightmare. As he describes it,

“It was like being asleep when you were awake and awake when you were asleep. I’d pinch myself, figuratively speaking–I had to keep pinching myself. Then I’d wake up kind of in reverse; I’d go back into the nightmare I had to live in. And everything would be clear and reasonable.”

This heartbreaking one from the  short story Magdalena Looking from the book Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland,

“She thought of all the people in all the paintings she had seen that day, not just Father’s, in all the paintings of the world, in fact. Their eyes, the particular turn of a head, their loneliness or suffering or grief was borrowed by an artist to be seen by other people throughout the years who would never see them face to face. People who would be that close to her, she thought, a matter of a few arms’ lengths, looking, looking, and they would never know her.”

And then there is one of my favourite comic plays by the wicked Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, which is a treasure trove of quotable quotes like this one,

JACK. … Her mother is perfectly unbearable. Never met such a Gorgon . . . I don’t really know what a Gorgon is like, but I am quite sure that Lady Bracknell is one. In any case, she is a monster, without being a myth, which is rather unfair . . .

And finally my favourite quote about reading is the one by Arthur Christopher Benson I use as my tagline,

“All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality — the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.”

This has been a fun week at the Weekly Geeks! Can’t wait to read what quotes everyone else has posted!