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The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest


by Oscar Wilde

Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

When Wilde showed his completed play in four acts to the theater director George Alexander, the director advised him to cut it down to three acts. The result was that a scene featuring Mr. Gribsby—a debt collector—was cut. The 2002 film version, however, includes this scene. (Source)

On the night of Earnest’s debut, the Marquess of Queensbury (the father of Wilde’s male lover) tried to publicly reveal the details of Wilde’s private life, but was thrown out of the theater before he could make a scene. (Source)

In Spider-man 2, Mary Jane Watson plays Cecily in Earnest as her first play and almost forgets a line when she sees Peter Parker in the audience.

In October 2007, a first edition manuscript of Earnest was donated anonymously to a charity shop in England—placed appropriately in a handbag. (Source)

Fans anticipated Wilde’s new play so excitedly that Wilde had to give Earnest the working title of Lady Lancing to prevent any leaking of his work-in-progress. (Source)

Various actresses (and actors!) have given the most famous line in Earnest—Lady Bracknell’s "A handbag?"—different spins, all inspired by Edith Evans’s famous portrayal. (Source)

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