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A classic satire of Victorian society, Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” is one of the author’s most frequently performed works. The story trivializes its characters, who through a series of deceptions pretend to be people that they are not in order to escape the burdensome demands of social conventions. When John Worthing visits his best friend Algernon Moncrieff, to whom he is known as Ernest, Algernon notices the curious inscription on his cigarette case which reads, “From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack.” John, who has come to visit in order to propose to Algernon’s cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax, must explain his deception before Algernon will consent to the proposal. The discovery prompts Algernon to reveal a similar deception of his own; he pretends to have an invalid cousin whom he can visit in the country in order to escape any unwelcome social obligation. What follows is a scheme between the two to assume each other’s imaginary personas in order to enable the ruse. A roaring farce which plays upon the consequences of deception and the social absurdities of Victorian society, “The Importance of Being Earnest” remains to this day as one of Wilde’s most popular plays. This edition includes a biographical afterword.