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The Importance of Being Earnest (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Oscar Wilde
4.9 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (14 commentaires client)

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The young Robert Louis Stevenson suffered from repeated nightmares of living a double life, in which by day he worked as a respectable doctor and by night he roamed the back alleys of old-town Edinburgh. In three days of furious writing, he produced a story about his dream existence. His wife found it too gruesome, so he promptly burned the manuscript. In another three days, he wrote it again. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published as a "shilling shocker" in 1886, and became an instant classic. In the first six months, 40,000 copies were sold. Queen Victoria read it. Sermons and editorials were written about it. When Stevenson and his family visited America a year later, they were mobbed by reporters at the dock in New York City. Compulsively readable from its opening pages, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is still one of the best tales ever written about the divided self.

This University of Nebraska Press edition is a small, exquisitely produced paperback. The book design, based on the original first edition of 1886, includes wide margins, decorative capitals on the title page and first page of each chapter, and a clean, readable font that is 19th-century in style. Joyce Carol Oates contributes a foreword in which she calls Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde a "mythopoetic figure" like Frankenstein, Dracula, and Alice in Wonderland, and compares Stevenson's creation to doubled selves in the works of Plato, Poe, Wilde, and Dickens.

This edition also features 12 full-page wood engravings by renowned illustrator Barry Moser. Moser is a skillful reader and interpreter as well as artist, and his afterword to the book, in which he explains the process by which he chose a self-portrait motif for the suite of engravings, is fascinating. For the image of Edward Hyde, he writes, "I went so far as to have my dentist fit me out with a carefully sculpted prosthetic of evil-looking teeth. But in the final moments I had to abandon the idea as being inappropriate. It was more important to stay in keeping with the text and, like Stevenson, not show Hyde's face." (Also recommended: the edition of Frankenstein illustrated by Barry Moser) --Fiona Webster

Extrait

First Act

Scene—Morning-room of Lord Windermere’s house in Carlton House Terrace.Doors C. and R. Bureau with books and papers R. Sofa with small tea-table L. Window opening on to terrace L. Table R. (Lady Windermere is at table R., arranging roses in a blue bowl.) (Enter Parker.

Parker. Is your ladyship at home this afternoon?

Lady Windermere. Yes—who has called?

Parker. Lord Darlington, my lady.

Lady Windermere. (Hesitates for a moment.) Show him up—and I’m at home to any one who calls. Parker. Yes, my lady. (Exit C.

Lady Windermere. It’s best for me to see him before to-night. I’m glad he’s come. (Enter Parker C.

Parker. Lord Darlington. (Enter Lord Darlington C. (Exit Parker.

Lord Darlington. How do you do, Lady Windermere?

Lady Windermere. How do you do, Lord Darlington? No, I can’t shake hands with you. My hands are all wet with these roses. Aren’t they lovely? They came up from Selby this morning.

Lord Darlington. They are quite perfect. (Sees a fan lying on the table.) And what a wonderful fan! May I look at it?

Lady Windermere. Do. Pretty, isn’t it! It’s got my name on it, and everything. I have only just seen it myself. It’s my husband’s birthday present to me. You know to-day is my birthday?

Lord Darlington. No? Is it really?

Lady Windermere. Yes, I’m of age to-day. Quite an important day in my life, isn’t it? That is why I am giving this party to-night. Do sit down. (Still arranging flowers.)

Lord Darlington. (Sitting down.) I wish I had known it was your birthday, Lady Windermere. I would have covered the whole street in front of your house with flowers for you to walk on. They are made for you. (A short pause.)

Lady Windermere. Lord Darlington, you annoyed me last night at the Foreign Office. I am afraid you are going to annoy me again.

Lord Darlington. I, Lady Windermere? (Enter Parker and Footman C., with tray and tea things.

Lady Windermere. Put it there, Parker. That will do. (Wipes her hands with her pocket-handkerchief, goes to tea-table L., and sits down.) Won’t you come over, Lord Darlington? (Exit Parker C.

Lord Darlington. (Takes chair and goes across L.C.) I am quite miserable, Lady Windermere. You must tell me what I did. (Sits down at table L.)

Lady Windermere. Well, you kept paying me elaborate compliments the whole evening.

Lord Darlington. (Smiling.) Ah, now-a-days we are all of us so hard up, that the only pleasant things to pay are compliments. They’re the only things we can pay.

Lady Windermere. (Shaking her head.) No, I am talking very seriously. You mustn’t laugh, I am quite serious. I don’t like compliments, and I don’t see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn’t mean.

Lord Darlington. Ah, but I did mean them. (Takes tea which she offers him.)

Lady Windermere. (Gravely.) I hope not. I should be sorry to have to quarrel with you, Lord Darlington. I like you very much, you know that. But I shouldn’t like you at all if I thought you were what most other men are. Believe me, you are better than most other men, and I sometimes think you pretend to be worse.

Lord Darlington. We all have our little vanities, Lady Windermere.

Lady Windermere. Why do you make that your special one? (Still seated at table L.)

Lord Darlington. (Still seated L.C.) Oh, now-a-days so many conceited people go about Society6 pretending to be good, that I think it shows rather a sweet and modest disposition to pretend to be bad. Besides, there is this to be said. If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn’t. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.

Lady Windermere. Don’t you want the world to take you seriously then, Lord Darlington?

Lord Darlington. No, not the world. Who are the people the world takes seriously? All the dull people one can think of, from the Bishops down to the bores. I should like you to take me very seriously, Lady Windermere, you more than any one else in life.

Lady Windermere. Why—why me?

Lord Darlington. (After a slight hesitation.) Because I think we might be great friends. Let us be great friends. You may want a friend some day.

Lady Windermere. Why do you say that?

Lord Darlington. Oh!—we all want friends at times.

Lady Windermere. I think we’re very good friends already, Lord Darlington. We can always remain so as long as you don’t——

Lord Darlington. Don’t what?

Lady Windermere. Don’t spoil it by saying extravagant silly things to me. You think I am a Puritan, I suppose? Well, I have something of the Puritan in me. I was brought up like that. I am glad of it. My mother died when I was a mere child. I lived always with Lady Julia, my father’s elder sister you know. She was stern to me, but she taught me, what the world is forgetting, the difference that there is between what is right and what is wrong. She allowed of no compromise. I allow of none.

Lord Darlington. My dear Lady Windermere!

Lady Windermere. (Leaning back on the sofa.) You look on me as being behind the age.—Well, I am! I should be sorry to be on the same level as an age like this.

Lord Darlington. You think the age very bad?

Lady Windermere. Yes. Now-a-days people seem to look on life as a speculation.8 It is not a speculation. It is a sacrament. Its ideal is Love. Its purification is sacrifice.

Lord Darlington. (Smiling.) Oh, anything is better than being sacrificed!

Lady Windermere. (Leaning forward.) Don’t say that.

Lord Darlington. I do say it. I feel it—I know it. (Enter Parker C.

Parker. The men want to know if they are to put the carpets on the terrace for to-night, my lady?

Lady Windermere. You don’t think it will rain, Lord Darlington, do you?

Lord Darlington. I won’t hear of its raining on your birthday!

Lady Windermere. Tell them to do it at once, Parker. (Exit Parker C.

Lord Darlington. (Still seated.) Do you think then—of course I am only putting an imaginary instance—do you think that in the case of a young married couple, say about two years married, if the husband suddenly becomes the intimate friend of a woman of—well, more than doubtful character, is always calling upon her, lunching with her, and probably paying her bills—do you think that the wife should not console herself?

Lady Windermere. (Frowning.) Console herself?

Lord Darlington. Yes, I think she should—I think she has the right.

Lady Windermere. Because the husband is vile—should the wife be vile also?

Lord Darlington. Vileness is a terrible word, Lady Windermere.

Lady Windermere. It is a terrible thing, Lord Darlington.

Lord Darlington. Do you know I am afraid that good people do a great deal of harm in this world. Certainly the greatest harm they do is that they make badness of such extraordinary importance. It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious. I take the side of the charming, and you, Lady Windermere, can’t help belonging to them.

Lady Windermere. Now, Lord Darlington. (Rising and crossing R., front of him.) Don’t stir, I am merely going to finish my flowers. (Goes to table R.C.)

Lord Darlington. (Rising and moving chair.) And I must say I think you are very hard on modern life, Lady Windermere. Of course there is much against it, I admit. Most women, for instance, now-a-days, are rather mercenary.

Lady Windermere. Don’t talk about such people.

Lord Darlington. Well then, setting mercenary people aside, who, of course, are dreadful, do you think seriously that women who have committed what the world calls a fault should never be forgiven?

Lady Windermere. (Standing at table.) I think they should never be forgiven.

Lord Darlington. And men? Do you think that there should be the same laws for men as there are for women?

Lady Windermere. Certainly!

Lord Darlington. I think life too complex a thing to be settled by these hard and fast rules.

Lady Windermere. If we had “these hard and fast rules,” we should find life much more simple.

Lord Darlington. You allow of no exceptions?

Lady Windermere. None!

Lord Darlington. Ah, what a fascinating Puritan you are, Lady Windermere!

Lady Windermere. The adjective was unnecessary, Lord Darlington.

Lord Darlington. I couldn’t help it. I can resist everything except temptation.

Lady Windermere. You have the modern affectation of weakness.

Lord Darlington. (Looking at her.) It’s only an affectation, Lady Windermere. (Enter Parker C.

Parker. The Duchess of Berwick and Lady Agatha Carlisle. (Enter the Duchess of Berwick and Lady Agatha Carlisle C. (Exit Parker C.

Duchess of Berwick. (Coming down C., and shaking hands.) Dear Margaret, I am so pleased to see you. You remember Agatha, don’t you? (Crossing L.C.) How do you do, Lord Darlington? I won’t let you know my daughter, you are far too wicked.

Lord Darlington. Don’t say that, Duchess. As a wicked man I am a complete failure. Why, there are lots of people who say I have never really done anything wrong in the whole course of my life. Of course they only say it behind my back.

Duchess of Berwick. Isn’t he dreadful? Agatha, this is Lord Darlington. Mind you don’t believe a word he says. (Lord Darlington crosses R.C.) No, no tea, thank you, dear. (Crosses and sits on sofa.) We have just had tea at Lady Markby’s. Such bad tea, too. It was quite undrinkable. I wasn’t at all surprised. Her own son-in-law supplies it. Agatha is looking forward so much to your ball to-night, dear Margaret.

Lady Windermere. (Seated L.C.) Oh, you mustn’t think it is going to be a ball, Duchess. It is only a dance in honour of my birthday. A small and early.

Lord Darlington. (Standing L.C.) Very small, very early, and very select, Duchess.

Duchess of Berwick. (On sofa L.) Of course it’s going to be select. But we know that, dear Margaret, about your house. It is really one of the few houses in London where I can take Agatha, and where I feel perfectly secure about dear Berwick. I don’t know what society is coming to. The most dreadful people seem to go everywhere. They certainly come to my parties—the men get quite furious if one doesn’t ask them. Really, some one should make a stand against it.

Lady Windermere. I will, Duchess. I will have no one in my house about whom there is any scandal.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
25 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ma pièce préférée 6 avril 2004
Format:Broché
C'est léger, terriblement anglais et absolument drôle.
Les personnages sont profonds sous leur esthétisme forcené. C'est une pièce moderne, facile à lire, bourrée d'images devenues des clichés, bref, un must à lire absolument et n'hésitez surtout pas à aller voir cette pièce au théâtre en VO, jamais un traducteur ne pourra rendre les jeux de mots savoureux du grand maître.
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5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Humour et esprit 23 mars 2009
Par Koalanath
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Un vaudeville plutôt classique, mais où brille l'humour particulier d'Oscar Wilde. Sur un fond d'intrigue amoureuse, l'on décèle à travers son ironie mordante, une critique sous-jacente de l'hypocrisie de son époque. Dans ce mariage de l'humour et de l'intelligence, on passe un bon moment (avec un happy end en prime), grâce aussi à un langage accessible (ce qui n'est pas négligeable), l'auteur fait passer beaucoup de finesse d'esprit et on se sent un peu plus intelligent après l'avoir lu.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 La plus belle comédie d'Oscar Wilde 26 mars 2014
Par RAS TOP 500 COMMENTATEURS
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
C'est la pièce la plus connue, la plus jouée et souvent la plus appréciée d'Oscar Wilde. C'est très anglais, très léger et l'humour est basé surtout sur les jeux de langue comme l'anglais les permet. Une traduction ne pourra pas rendre ces nuances toutes particulières. En plus, on a une ironie mordante et une satire sans pareil de l'hypocrisie de la société de l'époque. Oscar Wilde ne rate pas une occasion pour décocher des flèches acidulées au mariage traditionnel. On le lui fera payer plus tard. Mais Wilde n'est pas un critique social qui veut faire passer un message, il dira plutôt: «L'artiste est le créateur de belles choses. […] il n'y a pas de livre moral ou immoral. Les livres sont bien ou mal écrits. Voilà tout. […] Aucun artiste ne désire prouver quoi que ce soit. Même une vérité générale peut être prouvée. […] Tout art est plutôt inutile.»
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Une oeuvre à avoir dans sa bibliothèque 3 août 2014
Par Selphie
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Tout le génie et le "wit" d'Oscar Wilde est condensé dans cette pièce de théâtre qui est aussi une critique sociale de la société victorienne.

L'édition Norton, qui comprend des articles universitaires et des critiques contemporaines et plus récentes, permet de mieux comprendre l'oeuvre afin d'en saisir toutes les subtilités.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Savoureux ! 23 octobre 2014
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
J'ai adoré dès les premières pages les répliques percutantes et modernes de cette pièce ! Un régal d'humour fin et burlesque. Cela donnerait envie de mentir dans notre quotidien pour le rendre plus drôle ! Le dénouement est en revanche trop "facile" : que de coïncidences qui tombes bien pour résoudre les problèmes ! J'imagine que l'auteur voulait garder un ton "léger" du début à la fin !
Bref, je le recommande, surtout en anglais (parce qu'en VF, point de jeu de mot avec le titre et un prénom dans la pièce et les réparties ne doivent pas être les mêmes...).
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Un génie! 1 mars 2012
Par myrideale
Format:Broché
Oscar Wilde, ici encore, nous fait rire et expose encore son ingéniosité et son savoir-faire concernant l'écriture. Une comédie courte mais délicieusement drôle.
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6 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 du fou rire à la critique grinçante 25 avril 2002
Format:Broché
Une édition un peu (trop?) dépouillée mais en même temps il est vrai que l'oeuvre se passe de commentaires. Sans doute la plus aboutie des pièces de Wilde. Au programme: rires, cynisme, et bien plus: critique sociale, étude sur les sexualités,avec à la clé quelques uns des aphorismes les plus grinçants de Wilde sur le mariage. A accompagner d'une lecture des autres pièces du même genre de Wilde à savoir an Ideal Husband, a Woman of no importance essentiellement.
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Commentaires client les plus récents
5.0 étoiles sur 5 un régal
Pour les amateurs d'humour anglais en anglais, une pièce de théâtre aux répliques subtilement comiques et pétillantes. Je recommande. Lire la suite
Publié il y a 5 mois par cilouille3
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I <3 Wilde
I enjoyed reading this and would recommend it to anyone. The jokes are timeless and you really do have a great time reading it.
It was well packed and delivered quickly.
Publié il y a 5 mois par Camila
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The importance of being Earnest.
J'ai pas mal ri en lisant cette pièce. Cette pièce est vraiment amusante. En même temps, c'est Oscar Wilde qui l'a écrite ( sic ) . Lire la suite
Publié il y a 7 mois par idomenee
5.0 étoiles sur 5 super
Livres de très bonne qualités
je suis très contente de mon achat.
Je vais devorer ce livre tout de suite !
Publié le 28 novembre 2012 par Nat
5.0 étoiles sur 5 chaudement recommandé
Même avec un niveau d'anglais moyen,cette courte pièce est tout simplement un régal! l'humour est mordant, cynique et léger à la fois et l'intrigue... Lire la suite
Publié le 20 janvier 2012 par Céhel
5.0 étoiles sur 5 parfait
L'édition est très complète, le livre est neuf, de bonne qualité, reçu rapidement, très peu cher. Je le recommande à tous.
Publié le 26 octobre 2011 par mufour
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The importance of being earnest
Livre en parfait état, livraison un peu longue. Pièce de theatre courte mais divertissante, agréable et facile à lire si ce n'est le langage parfois... Lire la suite
Publié le 27 août 2011 par Nat
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