The Importance of Being Earnest

Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(4.4 stars; 320 reviews)

The Importance of Being Earnest is a classic comedy of manners in which two flippant young men, in order to impress their respected beloveds, pretend that their names are “Ernest,” which both young ladies believe confers magical qualities on the possessor. It was first performed for the public on February 14, 1895 at the St. James’ Theatre in London, and is regarded by many critics and scholars as being the wittiest play in the English language. (Summary from

John Worthing, J.P. - Read by John Gonzalez
Algernon Moncrieff - Read by Gord Mackenzie
Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D. - Read by Chris Goringe
Merriman, Butler - Read by Peter Yearsley
Lane, Manservant - Read by Hugh McGuire
Lady Bracknell - Read by Kristen McQuillin
Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax - Read by Deana
Cecily Cardew - Read by Kara Shallenberg
Miss Prism, Governess - Read by Sureka
Narrator - Read by Betsie Bush
Project Editor - Paula Berinstein

(2 hr 18 min)


Act 1 50:46 Read by LibriVox Volunteers
Act 2 56:33 Read by LibriVox Volunteers
Act 3 30:22 Read by LibriVox Volunteers


(5 stars)

very very historical evergreens set of saints and sinners perspective multi comparative in an outstanding position, he found a lot what is to discuss today - lovely traditional way of thinking -so friendlier Oscar Wilde set the words the actrices are speaking so harder the solution of this special time he lived in follows. So his stil doesl a noble conversation of a time which does not know more about each others like they just want to know.

Silly play with ridiculous characters

(2 stars)

If you are looking for a light chuckle this will do. Not for the serious. Readings seem a bit choppy as each character is read my a different person and play is pieced together recordings. It was a bit annoying at first, but I got used to it. This is written as a play, so that also adds to the choppy-ness of the readings. Not my favorite , but ok. Not sure how this became a classic....

i realy like it

(4.5 stars)

i have enjoyed the story it is a piece of art the one who read this story or listen to it can easely feel as if a part of it well done !nice work from the narrators especially john's voice

Light-hearted and Witty

(5 stars)

I cannot imagine how many times I have heard this title and dismissed it as a stuffy, Victorian play. The wordplay and comedic timing of the script produced multiple "LOL" moments, despite being restricted to volunteers whose voices were spliced together. The technical limitations of volume and background noises quickly fade and allow the listener to enjoy the play, even if not as Oscar Wilde originally intended. Thank you, Librivox and readers for your contribution. This is now on my short list of must-sees.

Have always loved this story,

(4.5 stars)

was now even better listening to it, but some of the readers... It was good to listen to one of my favourite stories.

Read well

(4 stars)

Overall, a good reading. The women are a little monotone at times and the narrator's voice is choppy a couple times, but definitely worth a listen!

What a worth while rendition. The cast was inspired.

(5 stars)

What a worthwhile rendition. The cast was definitely inspired. Every character brought to life, every jest and pun sincere. Oscar Wilde would have been proud.

Stilted & boring

(3 stars)

As well read as this may be, I was turned off by the lack of wit (sarcasm?) in much of the dialog. I repeatedly found myself having to stop & rethink the lines to incorporate any kind of emotion & "get" what Wilde was trying to share. The with just didn't come through.