by Oscar Wilde, Avon Books, 1895, 1965, 0-380-01277-4
Extremely funny play. Book has commentary about Wilde's life
which is interesting. Reviews by George Bernard Shaw and others.
Includes some of Wilde's letters begging for money. Satire of
people's seriousness about trivialities.
[p14] With intending to do so, Wilde virtually states the
rationale for his sinners in ``The Critic as Artist'':
What is termed Sin is an essential element of progress. Without it
the world would stagnate, or grow old, or became colorless. By its
curiosity Sin increases the experience of the race. Through its
intensified assertion of individualism, it saves us from monotony of type.
[p35] Jack: When one is placed in the position of guardian, one
has to adopt a very high moral tone on all subjects. It's one's duty
to do so. And is as a high moral tone can hardly be said to conduce
very much to either one's health or one's happiness, in order to
get up to town I have always pretended to have a younger brother of
the name of Ernest, who lives in the Albany, and gets into the most
[p45] Lady Bracknell: I do not approve of any thing 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.
[p48] Lady Bracknell: To be born, or at any rate bred, in a
hand-bag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a
contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one
of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.
[p49] Algernon: My dear boy, I love hearing my relations abused.
It is the only thing that makes me put up with them at all.
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.
[p51] Algernon: The only way to behave to a woman is to make love
to her, if she is pretty, and to someone eles, if she is plain.
[p133] An Old New Play, George Bernard Shaw. [Commentary] If the
public ever becomes intelligent enough to know when it is really
enjoying itself and when it is not, there will be an end of farcical