So let’s just take a minute here and be like: “Seriously? A book published before I was born? The only way that could difficult is if I was born before the Gutenberg Press”. But then again, English major nerd alert. I always forget that people tend to gravitate towards the latest and greatest and I’m like: “Hey, you old book I can get for free through the Gutenberg Project”…
But making my life even more difficult for this one is the fact that I like old books that tend to be L-O-N-G, and when you’ve forgotten about your challenge for MONTHS, brevity is key. Which is where one of my favourite playwrights comes in. I could take or leave his fiction, but his plays always have me tittering quietly over his witty repartee (Miriam-Webster informs me that “witty repartee” is redundant, since repartee by definition is a quick and witty response). And the best part is that plays read up so quickly it feels like cheating. An ideal situation to read An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde.
The banter is the number one reason to read any of Wilde’s play. Afterall, the plots are obvious. Take a socially sanctioned arrangement. Have someone issue an ultimatum, which launches the play into action. A comedy of errors ensues before all pieces of the puzzle come together and re-align the characters into socially sanctioned arrangements, but with audience feeling quietly smug that the socially sanctioned arrangement is actually socially subversive in some small, private way.
And as a result, I have nothing interesting or enlightening to say about Wilde’s play. It’s kind of like that pair of jeans that you just can’t get rid of. They are wonderfully comfortable, always fit just so, but aren’t the most remarkable thing in your wardrobe.