Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: The Importance of Being Earnest
- When Written: Summer 1894
- Where Written: Worthing, England
- When Published: First produced as a play on February 14, 1895; published in 1899
- Literary Period: Aestheticism; Victorian Era
- Genre: play; Victorian melodrama; comedy of manners; intellectual farce; satire
- Setting: The 1890s in London, England (Act I), and then Hertfordshire, a rural country outside of London (Acts II and III).
- Climax: Gwendolen and Cecily discover that neither Jack, nor Algernon holds the name of “Ernest.”
- Antagonist: Lady Bracknell
Just dandy: Known for his long hair and the ever-present flower in his button-hole, Wilde popularized the figure of the “fop,” or “dandy,” a man devoted to his personal appearance, style, and dress.