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The Internationale

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the 1990 folk album, see The Internationale (album). For the Brainiac EP, seeInternationale (EP).
The Internationale
Internationalen in Swedish.
International anthem of International Communist Movement
International Socialist Movement
International Social Democratic Movement
International Anarchist Movement
Also known as L'Internationale (French)
Lyrics Eugène Pottier, 1871
Music Pierre De Geyter, 1888
Adopted 1890s

Music sample

"The Internationale"



"The Internationale" (French: "L'Internationale") is a widely sung left-winganthem. It has been one of the most recognizable and popular songs of thesocialist movement since the late 19th century, when the Second International (now theSocialist International) adopted it as its official anthem. The title arises from the "First International", an alliance of socialist parties formed by Marx and Engels which held a congress in 1864. The author of the anthem's lyrics, Eugène Pottier, attended this congress.

The original French refrain of the song is C'est la lutte finale / Groupons-nous et demain / L'Internationale / Sera le genre humain.(English: "This is the final struggle / Let us group together and tomorrow / The Internationale / Will be the human race.") "The Internationale" has been translated into many languages. It is often sung with the left hand raised in a clenched fist salute and is sometimes followed (in English-speaking places) with a chant of "The workers united will never be defeated." "The Internationale" has been celebrated by socialists, communists, anarchists, democratic socialists, and some social democrats.

1 Original lyrics and copyright
2 Translations into other languages
2.1 Russian lyrics
2.2 English Lyrics
3 In popular culture
4 See also
5 References
6 External links

Original lyrics and copyright

The original French words were written in June 1871 by Eugène Pottier (1816–1887, previously a member of the Paris Commune)[1] and were originally intended to be sung to the tune of "La Marseillaise".[2] Pierre De Geyter (1848–1932) set the poem to music in 1888.[3] His melody was first publicly performed in July 1888[4] and became widely used soon after.

In an unsuccessful attempt to save Pierre De Geyter's job as a woodcarver, the 6,000 leaflets printed by Lille printer Bolboduc only mentioned the French version of his family name (Degeyter). In 1904, Pierre's brother Adolphe was induced by the Lille mayorGustave Delory to claim copyright, so that the income of the song would continue to go to Delory's French Socialist Party. Pierre De Geyter lost the first copyright case in 1914, but after his brother committed suicide and left a note explaining the fraud, Pierre was declared the copyright owner by a court of appeal in 1922.[5]

Pierre De Geyter died in 1932. The duration of copyright in France is 70 years following the end of the year when the author died. Previously, for musical works,[6] additional protection for 6 years and 152 days to compensate for World War I, and 8 years and 120 days to compensate for World War II,[7] was allowed, so his music of the "Internationale" would have been expected to remain copyrighted in France until October 2017.[8] However, the 1995 harmonization of copyright term across the European Union at 70 years without extension means that the musical composition fell into the public domain in France at the end of 2002. Nonetheless, in 2005, Le Chant du Monde, the corporation administering the authors' rights, asked Pierre Merejkowsky, the film director and an actor of Insurrection / résurrection, to pay €1,000 for whistling the song for seven seconds.[9] This position is inconsistent with a 2007 decision of the Cour de Cassation clarifying the matter.

As the "Internationale" music was published before 1 July 1909 outside the United States of America, it is in the public domain in the United States.[10] As of 2013, Pierre De Geyter's music is also in the public domain in countries and areas whose copyright durations are authors' lifetime plus 80 years or less.[11] As Eugène Pottier died in 1887, his original French lyrics are in the public domain. Gustave Delory once acquired the copyright of his lyrics through the songwriter G B Clement having bought it from Pottier's widow.[12]
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The Internationale (Pottier, French)

French lyricsLiteral English translation
First stanza

Debout, les damnés de la terre
Debout, les forçats de la faim
La raison tonne en son cratère
C'est l'éruption de la fin
Du passé faisons table rase
Foule esclave, debout, debout
Le monde va changer de base
Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|

Stand up, damned of the Earth
Stand up, prisoners of starvation
Reason thunders in its volcano
This is the eruption of the end.
Of the past let us make a clean slate
Enslaved masses, stand up, stand up.
The world is about to change its foundation
We are nothing, let us be all.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|
Second stanza

Il n'est pas de sauveurs suprêmes
Ni Dieu, ni César, ni tribun
Producteurs, sauvons-nous nous-mêmes
Décrétons le salut commun
Pour que le voleur rende gorge
Pour tirer l'esprit du cachot
Soufflons nous-mêmes notre forge
Battons le fer quand il est chaud
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|

There are no supreme saviours
Neither God, nor Caesar, nortribune.
Producers, let us save ourselves,
Decree the common salvation.
So that the thief expires,
So that the spirit be pulled from its prison,
Let us fan our forge ourselves
Strike the iron while it is hot.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|
Third stanza

L'État comprime et la loi triche
L'impôt saigne le malheureux
Nul devoir ne s'impose au riche
Le droit du pauvre est un mot creux
C'est assez, languir en tutelle
L'égalité veut d'autres lois
Pas de droits sans devoirs dit-elle
Égaux, pas de devoirs sans droits
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|

The State oppresses and the law cheats.
Tax bleeds the unfortunate.
No duty is imposed on the rich;
The rights of the poor is an empty phrase.
Enough languishing in custody!
Equality wants other laws:
No rights without duties, she says,
Equally, no duties without rights.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|
Fourth stanza

Hideux dans leur apothéose
Les rois de la mine et du rail
Ont-ils jamais fait autre chose
Que dévaliser le travail ?
Dans les coffres-forts de la bande
Ce qu'il a créé s'est fondu
En décrétant qu'on le lui rende
Le peuple ne veut que son dû.
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|

Hideous in their apotheosis
The kings of the mine and of the rail.
Have they ever done anything other
Than steal work?
Inside the safeboxes of the gang,
What work had created melted.
By ordering that they give it back,
The people want only their due.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|
Fifth stanza

Les rois nous saoulaient de fumées
Paix entre nous, guerre aux tyrans
Appliquons la grève aux armées
Crosse en l'air, et rompons les rangs
S'ils s'obstinent, ces cannibales
À faire de nous des héros
Ils sauront bientôt que nos balles
Sont pour nos propres généraux
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|

The kings made us drunk with fumes,
Peace among us, war to the tyrants!
Let the armies go on strike,
Stocks in the air, and break ranks.
If they insist, these cannibals
On making heroes of us,
They will know soon that our bullets
Are for our own generals.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|

Sixth stanza

Ouvriers, paysans, nous sommes
Le grand parti des travailleurs
La terre n'appartient qu'aux hommes
L'oisif ira loger ailleurs
Combien de nos chairs se repaissent
Mais si les corbeaux, les vautours
Un de ces matins disparaissent
Le soleil brillera toujours.
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|

Workers, peasants, we are
The great party of labourers.
The earth belongs only to men;
The idle will go to reside elsewhere.
How much of our flesh have they consumed?
But if these ravens, these vultures
Disappear one of these days,
The sun will shine forever.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|

Translations into other languages[edit]

The German version, Die Internationale, was adopted by the protesters on the streets of East Berlin in 1953 and again in October 1989, when East Germans taken prisoner by their own police following demonstrations in the wake of Mikhail Gorbachev's visit sang the hymn to embarrass their captors by suggesting that they had abandoned the socialist cause they were supposed to serve. Luckhardt's version, the standard German translation, of the final line of the chorus tellingly reads: "Die Internationale erkämpft das Menschenrecht". (The Internationale will win our human rights.) It was coupled with the chant: "Volkspolizei, steh dem Volke bei" (People's police, stand with the people!). The Internationale in Chinese (simplified Chinese: 国际歌; traditional Chinese: 國際歌; pinyin:Guójìgē), literally the International Song, has several different sets of lyrics. One such version served as the de facto anthem of the Communist Party of China,[13] the national anthem of the Chinese Soviet Republic,[14] as well as a rallying song of the students and workers at the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[15]

Versions of the song in Indian languages, particularly Bengali and Malayalam, have existed since the time of colonial rule. It was translated into Bengali by the radical poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and subsequently by Hemanga Biswas. The Malayalam version of the song has also existed since the 1950s with the translation of the song for the people of the Indian state ofKerala by actor and social activist Premji for the united Communist Party of India (CPI). In the 1980s, more translations appeared. Translations by Sachidanandan and Mokeri Ramachandran were sung by the activists of Janakeeya Samskarikavedi, an organisation connected with CPI(Marxist-Leninist) (CPI(ML). Translation by N. P. Chandrasekharan was for Students Federation of India (SFI), the student organisation associated withCPI(Marxist) (CPI(M) and published in the Student Monthly, the organ of SFI.

Nepali translations of the song have also been sung in various parts of Nepal, and Kathmandu and the song has been popularised by the Nepali Maoists.
Russian lyrics[edit]
ИнтернационалEnglish: The Internationale
National anthem of Russian SFSR
Soviet Union
Lyrics Arkady Yakovlevich Kots, 1902
Music Pierre De Geyter, 1888
Adopted 1918 (as anthem of Russian SFSR)
1922 (as anthem of Soviet Union)
Relinquished 1944

Music sample

"The Internationale"



The Russian version was initially translated by Aron Kots (Arkady Yakovlevich Kots) in 1902 and printed in London in Zhizn, a Russian émigré magazine. The first Russian version consisted of three stanzas (as opposed to six stanzas in the original French lyrics, and based on stanzas 1, 2 and 6) and the refrain. After the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the text was slightly re-worded to get rid of "now useless" future tenses - particularly the refrain was reworded (the future tense was replaced by the present, and the first person plural possessive pronoun was introduced). In 1918, the chief-editor of Izvestia, Yuri Steklov, appealed to Russian writers to translate the other three stanzas and in the end, the song was expanded into six stanzas.[16] In 1944, the Soviet Union adopted the "Hymn of the Soviet Union" as its national anthem. Prior to that time, the "Internationale" served as the principal musical expression of allegiance to the ideals of the October Revolution and the Soviet Union. (The "Internationale" continued to be recognized as the official song of theCommunist Party of the Soviet Union, and the post-1919 Soviet version is still used by theCommunist Party of the Russian Federation.) The three stanzas by Kots were as follows:
Russian translationLatin alphabet transliterationLiteral English translation
First stanza

Вставай, проклятьем заклеймённый,
Весь мир голодных и рабов!
Кипит наш разум возмущённый
И в смертный бой вести готов.
Весь мир насилья мы разрушим
До основанья, а затем
Мы наш, мы новый мир построим, —
Кто был ничем, тот станет всем.


|: Это есть наш последний
И решительный бой;
С Интернационалом
Воспрянет род людской! :|

Vstavay, proklyat'yem zakleym'yonny,
ves' mir golodnykh i rabov!
Kipit nash razum vozmushchyonny
I v smertniy boy vesti gotov.
Ves' mir nasilya my razrushim
do osnovanya, a zatem
my nash, my novy mir postroim, —
kto byl nichem, tot stanyet vsem.


|: Eto yest nash posledniy
I reshitelniy boy;
S Internatsionalom
vospryanet rod lyudskoy! :|

Stand up, ones who are branded by the curse,
All the world's starving and enslaved!
Our outraged minds are boiling,
Ready to lead us into a deadly fight.
We will destroy this world of violence
Down to the foundations, and then
We will build our new world.
He who was nothing will become everything!


|: This is our final
and decisive battle;
With the Internationale
humanity will rise up! :|
Second stanza

Никто не даст нам избавленья:
Ни бог, ни царь и не герой!
Добьёмся мы освобожденья
Своею собственной рукой.
Чтоб свергнуть гнёт рукой умелой,
Отвоевать своё добро, —
Вздувайте горн и куйте смело,
Пока железо горячо!
|: Это есть наш последний
И решительный бой;
С Интернационалом
Воспрянет род людской! :|

Nikto ne dast nam izbavlenya:
Ni bog, ni tsar i ne geroy!
Dobyomsya my osvobozhdenya
Svoyeyu sobstvennoy rukoy.
Chtob svergnut' gn'ot rukoy umyeloy,
Otvoyevat' svoyo dobro, –
Vzduvaitye gorn i kuitye smyelo,
Poka zhelezo goryacho!
|: Eto yest nash posledniy
I reshitelniy boy;
S Internatsionalom
vospryanet rod lyudskoy! :|

No one will grant us deliverance,
Not god, nor tsar, nor hero.
We will win our liberation,
With our very own hands.
To throw down oppression with a skilled hand,
To take back what is ours –
Fire up the furnace and hammer boldly,
while the iron is still hot!
|: This is our final
and decisive battle;
With the Internationale
humanity will rise up! :|
Third stanza

Довольно кровь сосать, вампиры,
Тюрьмой, налогом, нищетой!
У вас — вся власть, все блага мира,
А наше право — звук пустой !
Мы жизнь построим по-иному —
И вот наш лозунг боевой:
Вся власть народу трудовому!
А дармоедов всех долой!
|: Это есть наш последний
И решительный бой;
С Интернационалом
Воспрянет род людской! :|

Dovoľno krov sosať, vampiry,
Tyurmoy, nalogom, nischetoy!
U vas — vsya vlasť, vsye blaga mira,
A nashe pravo — zvuk pustoy!
My zhizn' postroim po-inomu —
I vot nash lozung boyevoy:
Vsya vlasť narodu trudovomu!
A darmoyedov vseh doloy!
|: Eto yest nash posledniy
I reshitelniy boy;
S Internatsionalom
vospryanet rod lyudskoy! :|

You've sucked enough of our blood, you vampires,
With prison, taxes and poverty!
You have all the power, all the blessings of the world,
And our rights are but an empty sound!
We'll make our own lives in a different way -
And here is our battle cry:
All the power to the people of labour!
And away with all the parasites!
|: This is our final
and decisive battle;
With the Internationale
humanity will rise up! :|
Fourth stanza

Презренны вы в своём богатстве,
Угля и стали короли!
Вы ваши троны, тунеядцы,
На наших спинах возвели.
Заводы, фабрики, палаты —
Всё нашим создано трудом.
Пора! Мы требуем возврата
Того, что взято грабежом.
|: Это есть наш последний
И решительный бой;
С Интернационалом
Воспрянет род людской! :|

Prezrenny vy v svojom bogatstve,
Uglya i stali koroli!
Vy vashi trony, tuneyadtsy,
Na nashikh spinakh vozvyeli.
Zavody, fabriki, palaty —
Vsyo nashim sozdano trudom.
Pora! My trebuyem vozvrata
Togo, čto vzyato grabezhom.
|: Eto yest nash posledniy
I reshitelniy boy;
S Internatsionalom
vospryanet rod lyudskoy! :|

Contemptible you are in your wealth,
You kings of coal and steel!
You had your thrones, parasites,
At our backs erected.
All the factories, all the chambers -
All were made by our hands.
It's time! We demand the return
Of that which was stolen from us.
|: This is our final
and decisive battle;
With the Internationale
humanity will rise up! :|
Fifth stanza

Довольно королям в угоду
Дурманить нас в чаду войны!
Война тиранам! Мир Народу!
Бастуйте, армии сыны!
Когда ж тираны нас заставят
В бою геройски пасть за них —
Убийцы, в вас тогда направим
Мы жерла пушек боевых!
|: Это есть наш последний
И решительный бой;
С Интернационалом
Воспрянет род людской! :|

Dovol'no korolyam v ugodu
Durmanit' nas v chadu voiny!
Voina tiranam! Mir Narodu!
Bastuitye, armii syny!
Kogda zh tirany nas zastavyat
V boyu geroiski past' za nikh —
Ubiytsy, v vas togda napravim
my zherla pushek boyevyh!
|: Eto yest nash posledniy
I reshitelniy boy;
S Internatsionalom
vospryanet rod lyudskoy! :|

Enough of the will of kings
Stupefying us into the haze of war!
War to the tyrants! Peace to the people!
Go on strike, sons of the army!
And if the tyrants tell us
To fall heroically in battle for them -
Then, murderers, we will point
The muzzles of our cannons at you!
|: This is our final
and decisive battle;
With the Internationale
humanity will rise up! :|
Sixth stanza

Лишь мы, работники всемирной
Великой армии труда,
Владеть землёй имеем право,
Но паразиты – никогда!
И если гром великий грянет
Над сворой псов и палачей, —
Для нас всё так же солнце станет
Сиять огнём своих лучей.
|: Это есть наш последний
И решительный бой;
С Интернационалом
Воспрянет род людской! :|

Lish' my, rabotniki vsemirnoiy
Velikoy armii truda,
Vladet' zeml'yoi imeyem pravo,
No parazity – nikogda!
I yesli grom velikiy gr'anyet
Nad svoroy psov i palachey, –
Dlya nas vsyo tak zhe solntse stanyet
siyat' ognyom svoikh luchey.
|: Eto yest nash posledniy
I reshitelniy boy;
S Internatsionalom
vospryanet rod lyudskoy! :|

Only we, the workers of the worldwide
Great army of labour,
Have the right to own the land,
But the parasites - never!
And if the great thunder rolls
Over the pack of dogs and executioners,
For us, the sun will forever
Shine on with its fiery beams.
|: This is our final
and decisive battle;
With the Internationale
humanity will rise up! :|

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The Internationale (Kots)

English Lyrics[edit]
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The Internationale (Pottier, English)

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The Internationale (Kerr)

The traditional British version of The Internationale is usually sung in three verses, while the American version, written by Charles Hope Kerr with five verses, is usually sung in two.[17][18] The American version is sometimes sung with the phrase "the internationale", "the international soviet", or "the international union" in place of "the international working class". In English renditions, "Internationale" is sometimes sung as /ɪntərnæʃəˈnæli/rather than the French pronunciation of [lɛ̃tɛʁnasjɔnal(ə)].

The English versions are known to be notoriously difficult to sing, as the lyrics may appear sometimes forced and unnatural[citation needed]. British musician Billy Bragg, after talking to the American folk singerand activist Pete Seeger, agreed that the old lyrics were "archaic and unsingable".[19]However, the Scottish musician Dick Gaughan takes a different view.[20] Bragg composed revised verses for the song, based on the British version. The recording was released on his album The Internationale along with reworkings of other socialist songs. A full, six-stanza translation can be found on the Wikisource page on The Internationale.
British TranslationBilly Bragg's Revision[21]American version
First stanza

Arise, ye workers from your slumber,
Arise, ye prisoners of want.
For reason in revolt now thunders,
and at last ends the age of cant!
Away with all your superstitions,
Servile masses, arise, arise!
We'll change henceforth the old tradition,
And spurn the dust to win the prize!
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

Stand up, all victims of oppression,
For the tyrants fear your might!
Don't cling so hard to your possessions,
For you have nothing if you have no rights!
Let racist ignorance be ended,
For respect makes the empires fall!
Freedom is merely privilege extended,
Unless enjoyed by one and all.
So come brothers and sisters,
For the struggle carries on.
The Internationale,
Unites the world in song.
So comrades, come rally,
For this is the time and place!
The international ideal,
Unites the human race.

Arise, the workers of all nations!
Arise, oppressed of the earth!
For justice thunders condemnation:
A better world's in birth!
No more tradition's chains shall bind us,
Arise, you slaves, no more in thrall!
The earth will rise on new foundations:
We, who were nothing, shall be all!
Forward, brothers and sisters,
And the last fight let us face;
The Internationale
Unites the human race!
Forward, brothers and sisters,
And the last fight let us face;
The Internationale
Unites the human race!

Second stanza

No more deluded by reaction,
On tyrants only we'll make war!
The soldiers too will take strike action,
They'll break ranks and fight no more!
And if those cannibals keep trying,
To sacrifice us to their pride,
They soon shall hear the bullets flying,
We'll shoot the generals on our own side.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

Let no one build walls to divide us,
Walls of hatred nor walls of stone.
Come greet the dawn and stand beside us,
We'll live together or we'll die alone.
In our world poisoned by exploitation,
Those who have taken, now they must give!
And end the vanity of nations,
We've but one Earth on which to live.
So come brothers and sisters,
For the struggle carries on.
The Internationale,
Unites the world in song.
So comrades, come rally,
For this is the time and place!
The international ideal,
Unites the human race.

We see through their disinformation:
Designs to turn us into war.
But soon, the soldiers in formation
Will break ranks and fight no more.
And if those cowards think it's their right
To sacrifice us to their dream,
They'll see the power of our own might;
It's time to end the old regime.
Forward, brothers and sisters,
And the last fight let us face;
The Internationale
Unites the human race!
Forward, brothers and sisters,
And the last fight let us face;
The Internationale
Unites the human race!

Third stanza

No saviour from on high delivers,
No faith have we in prince or peer.
Our own right hand the chains must shiver,
Chains of hatred, greed and fear.
E'er the thieves will out with their booty,
And to all give a happier lot.
Each at his forge must do their duty,
And we'll strike the iron while it's hot.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

And so begins the final drama,
In the streets and in the fields.
We stand unbowed before their armour,
We defy their guns and shields!
When we fight, provoked by their aggression,
Let us be inspired by life and love.
For though they offer us concessions,
Change will not come from above!
So come brothers and sisters,
For the struggle carries on.
The Internationale,
Unites the world in song.
So comrades, come rally,
For this is the time and place!
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

Just we, the workers of the world-wide,
The mighty army of labor,
To own the planet have a true right -
But the parasites — never!
For too long we've endured exploitation,
Too long we've been the vulture's prey.
Farewell to days of condemnation!
The red dawn brings a bright new day!
Forward, brothers and sisters,
And the last fight let us face;
The Internationale
Unites the human race!
Forward, brothers and sisters,
And the last fight let us face;
The Internationale
Unites the human race!

In popular culture[edit]

The Internationale has also featured in numerous examples of popular culture:
The novel Animal Farm, written in 1945 by George Orwell, alludes to the anthem with the song, Beasts of England, and its replacement (alluding to the National Anthem of the Soviet Union) being symbolic of betrayal of the ideas of the revolution.
In Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three (1961), the German version is sung by a group of marching demonstrators in East Berlin at the beginning of the film.
In David Lean's 1965 film Doctor Zhivago (based on Boris Pasternak's novel of the same name) a large number of protesters sing the Russian version of the song during a street protest.
In the 1967 film La Chinoise, Serge wakes up his flatmates by playing an instrumental version on a radio.
The 1974 film Sweet Movie, features two different versions of the melody, one being played in 6/8 time signature with an accordion, the other one, played in 4/4 at fast tempo with an organ.
Features in the 1981 epic film Reds; a biopic focusing on the life of American journalistJohn Reed, starring Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson.
In the 1984 film Red Dawn, the song's second stanza can be heard playing during a military parade led by Colonel Strelnikov. Some consider this anachronistic and inaccurately used since the song was used exclusively by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and they believe that this song is not designed to be a military march but a protest song.[clarification needed]
In the 1997 film Air Force One, the main antagonists' leader, General Alexander "Ivan" Radek, President of a neo-Soviet regime in Kazakhstan, is released from prison at the demand of the main antagonists. As Radek exits his cell, the other prisoners collectively sing the Russian version in honour of Radek and the Soviet Union.
The music video to the Manic Street Preachers' 1998 hit single, "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" features excerpts from De Geyter's melody at the beginning and end. The song itself makes numerous references to the Spanish Civil War; The Internationale having served as a popular Republican anthem during the conflict.
In the 1999 film Cradle Will Rock by Tim Robbins, Bill Murray's character Tommy Crickshaw sings one verse of the song (mostly from the "American Version" above) at the end. He's a ventriloquist at the end of his career, a man who once was a fiery radical, but who has now been reduced to a near nonentity. He can't even bring himself to sing it, so he sings it through his puppet.
The song "Hammerblow" from the 2008 album Susquehanna by American ska-swing band the Cherry Poppin' Daddies includes a verse of "L'Internationale" within its bridge ("L'Internationale/Sera le genre humain"). The song itself concerns an undergroundMarxist movement.
Michael Moore's 2009 documentary Capitalism: A Love Story has New Jersey lounge singer Tony Babino performing an English-language version of "L'Internationale" over the end credits.

#indyref, News, SCOTLAND, SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE, SNP, uk politics, POWER, The Internationale, THE SCOTTISH PEOPLE

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


news, Ian Paisley, #indyref, SCOTLAND, SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE, SNP, uk politics, IrishMan

Ian Paisley was known for his rhetoric. Here are some of his notable quotes.

"I would never repudiate the fact that I am an Irishman" - June 1991.

"Catholic homes caught fire because they were loaded with petrol bombs; Catholic churches were attacked and burned because they were arsenals and priests handed out sub-machine guns to parishioners" - at a loyalist rally in 1968 following attacks on Catholic homes. -

"They breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin" - talking about Catholics at a loyalist rally in 1969.

"Catholic homes caught fire because they were loaded with petrol bombs; Catholic churches were attacked and burned because they were arsenals and priests handed out sub-machine guns to parishioners" - at a loyalist rally in 1968 following attacks on Catholic homes.

"Save Ulster from sodomy!" - his slogan in a 1970s and 80s campaign against legalising homosexuality.

"Never, never, never, never ... " - outside Belfast City Hall as he addressed tens of thousands of loyalists protesting against the signing of the November 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.

"I am not going to sit down with bloodthirsty monsters who have been killing and terrifying my people" - opposing demands to sit down and talk with Sinn Féin."The scarlet woman of Rome" - his description of Pope John Paul II.Speaking in the House of Commons after the shooting dead of two British soldiers outside Massereene Barracks in March 2009.
"I say to the Dublin government, Mr Faulkner says it's "hands across the border to Dublin". I say, if they don't behave themselves in the South, it will be shots across the border!"
In responce to Northern Ireland Prime Minister Brian Faulkner's sigining of the Sunningdale Agreement with the Republic of Ireland in 1974
"People don't expect to die tomorrow, but they do take out insurance, don't they?"
Ian Paisley
"Don't come crying to me if your homes are attacked. You will reap what you sow".
After been forcibly carried out from the Assembly building by police(1986)
"We're on the verge of civil war in Northern Ireland. Why? Because if you take away the forums of democracy you don't have anything left."
After been forcibly carried out from the Assembly building by police(1986)
"I have read in the Book of Revelation the power of the word of testimony, but I never realised what power was in a martyr's testimony. If I had brought a ton of explosives and let them off in that Assembly it could not have had a greater effect. That vast Assembly erupted, and the books started to fly and the punches started to be thrown, and the kicking started, but I held my ground and maintained my testimony. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EUROPE TODAY AND EUROPE IN REFORMATION TIMES.

 This afternoon I read again the story of Luther, at the Diet of Worms. Who presided over the Diet of Worms? The Emperor Charles, Head of the Holy Roman Empire. Who was he? He was a Habsburg. It is interesting to note that one of the men who attacked me is the last of the Habsburgs-Otto Habsburg, the Pretender to the Crown of Austria and Hungary. I said to myself, 'The Habsburgs are still lusting for Protestant blood. They are still the same as they were in the days of Luther.' The members of the Roman Catholic Party of Mr. Le Pen of which John Taylor is a member were round me battering away at me as hard as they could"
None Dare Call Him Antichrist Sermon, Martyrs' Memorial Free Presbyterian Church, October 16, 1988.

"I was born in the island of Ireland. I have Irish traits in me - we don't all have the traits of what came from Scotland, there is the celtic factor... and I am an Irishman because you cannot be an Ulsterman without being an Irishman"
"Never confuse sitting on your side with being on your side."

"I will never sit down with Gerry Adams ... he'd sit with anyone. He'd sit down with the devil. In fact, Adams does sit down with the devil" - February 1997.

"We are not going into government with Sinn Féin" - after the confirmation of IRA's decommissioning of its arms.

"We do not know how many guns, the amount of ammunition and explosives were decommissioned, nor were we told how the decommissioning was carried out. There were no photographs, no detailed inventory, and no detail on the destruction of these arms. To describe today's statement as transparent would be the falsehood of the century" - on IRA decommissioning of weapons, September 2005.

"If anybody had told me a few years ago that I would be doing this, I would have been unbelieving" - inside Parliament Buildings, Stormont, after agreeing to enter a power-sharing government with former IRA leader Martin McGuinness as his Deputy First Minister.

"People have come out of a dark tunnel and they can see there is a path out there for us. I think it has put a lot of faith and hope into people" - on the eve of being sworn in as First Minister of the power-sharing government.

"I believe that Northern Ireland has come to a time of peace, a time when hate will no longer rule. How good it will be to be part of a wonderful healing in our province" - his inaugural speech as First Minister.

"I better shake hands with this man and give you a firm grip" - as he prepared to shake hands with Bertie Ahern in Dublin last April.

"Today, we can confidently state that we are making progress to ensure that our two countries can develop and grow side by side in a spirit of generous cooperation. Old barriers and threats have been, and are being, removed daily" - after the handshake.

"I might as well make hay while the sun shines" - 2007, saying he intended to defend his North Antrim seat at the next general election and remain as First Minister for the full term.

Extract of speech delivered at Stormont upon taking his seat as Northern Ireland first Minister.

"Winning support for all the institutions of policing has been a critical test that today has been met in pledged word and deed. Recognising the significance of that change from a community that for decades demonstrated hostility for policing, has been critical in Ulster turning the corner.

"I have sensed a great sigh of relief amongst all our people who want the hostility to be replaced with neighbourliness.

"The great king Solomon said:

'To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

'A time to be born and a time to die.

'A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

'A time to kill and a time to heal.

'A time to break down and a time to build up.

'A time to get and a time to lose.

'A time to keep and a time to cast away.

'A time to love and a time to hate.

'A time of war and a time of peace.'

"I believe that Northern Ireland has come to a time of peace, a time when hate will no longer rule.

"How good it will be to be part of a wonderful healing in our province.

"Today we have begun to plant and we await the harvest."

"I don't like the President of the Irish Republic because she is dishonest" - his description of the former President Mary McAleese.

"Mr Adams would have to repent from his evil ways. I am here tonight by the grace of God, a sinner saved by grace" - New York, 1994, when asked if he would shake Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams's hand.

"Talk about dancing at Christmas on the graves of Ulster dead, and to be given the facility so to dance by the British Prime Minister ... Here we saw the godfathers of those who planned the bombing of Downing Street, standing outside there and piously pretending they were engaged in a search for peace" - reacting to the Downing Street meeting of Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in December 1997.

"I denounce you, Antichrist! I refuse you as Christ's enemy and Antichrist with all your false doctrine" - addressing Pope John Paul II on a visit to the European Parliament October 1988.

"This Romish man of sin is now in hell! - on the death of Pope John XXIII.

"The IRA's bishop from Crossmaglen" - describing the then head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Tomás Ó Fiaich.

"Line dancing is as sinful as any other type of dancing, with its sexual gestures and touching. It is an incitement to lust."

"No surrender. We will never bend the knee" - a regular cry aimed at those he believed were ready to "betray" Ulster.

"Protect us from the shackles of priestcraft" - late 1970s in an attack on the Catholic Church.

"The breath of Satan is upon us" - his remark when he entered a Belfast press conference in a smoke-filled, whisky-sodden hall in the mid-1970s.

"Let me smell your breath first, son" - Paisley's regular request to reporters, whom he suspected of drinking, before he would allow them to interview him.

"The devil's buttermilk" - his description of alcoholic drinks, chiefly Guinness.

"This is the spark which kindles a fire there could be no putting out" - his criticism of a diversion ordered by the police of a "provocative" Orange Order march.

"Because it would be hard for you to poison them" - when asked why he had chosen boiled eggs for breakfast during a top-level meeting at the Irish Embassy in London.

"No, I wouldn't" - his response to John Hume, an SDLP politician who said that if the word "no" were removed from the English language, Paisley would be speechless.

"I would never repudiate the fact that I am an Irishman" - June 1991.

BBC British Bully sCotland

news, oil, BBC, #indyref, SCOTLAND, SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE, SNP, uk politics,

London threats have been piled upon chilling warning after warning to Scottish voters in the lead up to their Independence Referendum. There will be no shared currency, no EU membership, Scotland will be kicked out of Nato, England will blockade Scottish oil and then on Sunday the Queen issued an ominous warning to Scotland.

Irish intelligence sources have learned, from a City of London whistle blower, of secret plans already in existence, on the same scale as the invasion of the Malvinas (Falkland Islands), to blockade Scottish Oil, should Scotland vote yes and reclaim its sovereign oil. We have also learned, that London's secret services, are currently working secretly in Scotland to manipulate the final result. Everyone in Ireland, (with the exception of the Orange Order) respects whatever choice Scots make about their own future but we can with absolute certainty, inform Scottish people that London will not respect a free and fair vote!

This bullying has been the history of London towards all independent oil producing countries like Libya, Iraq, Aden, indeed all independent minded ex colonies of the City of London Pirates.

With tension high and just two day to voting , Alex Salmond, has accused opponents of bullying and subterfuge and demanded an official inquiry into disclosures that Royal Bank of Scotland would shift its registered office to England in a Scottish breakaway. Mr. Salmond said, that officials at Britain’s treasury, had been caught leaking information to the media before a market-sensitive announcement, and he described it as a “matter of extraordinary gravity.”
In addition, Lloyds Banking Group said it had made arrangements to establish “new legal entities” in England should voters in Scotland decide Independence.

Monday, September 15, 2014


The Importance of Being Earnest


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see The Importance of Being Earnest (disambiguation).

The Importance of Being Earnest

The original production of The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895 with Allan Aynesworth as Algernon (left) and George Alexander as John (right)

Written by

Oscar Wilde

Date premiered


Place premiered

St James's Theatre,

London, England

Original language



Comedy, farce


London and an estate in Hertfordshire

The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play byOscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personæ to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire ofVictorian ways. Contemporary reviews all praised the play's humour, though some were cautious about its explicit lack of social messages, while others foresaw the modern consensus that it was the culmination of Wilde's artistic career so far. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde's most enduringly popular play.

The successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde's career but also heralded his downfall. The Marquess of Queensberry, whose son Lord Alfred Douglas was Wilde's lover, planned to present the writer with a bouquet of rotten vegetables and disrupt the show. Wilde was tipped off and Queensberry was refused admission. Soon afterwards their feud came to a climax in court, where Wilde's homosexual double life was revealed to the Victorian public and he was eventually sentenced to imprisonment. His notoriety caused the play, despite its early success, to be closed after 86 performances. After his release, he published the play from exile in Paris, but he wrote no further comic or dramatic work.

The Importance of Being Earnest has been revived many times since its premiere. It has been adapted for the cinema on three occasions. In The Importance of Being Earnest(1952), Dame Edith Evans reprised her celebrated interpretation of Lady Bracknell; The Importance of Being Earnest (1992) by Kurt Baker used an all-black cast; and Oliver Parker's The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) incorporated some of Wilde's original material cut during the preparation of the original stage production.


Oscar Wilde in 1889

After the success of Wilde's plays Lady Windermere's Fanand A Woman of No Importance, Wilde's producers urged him to write further plays. In July 1894 he mooted his idea for The Importance of Being Earnest to George Alexander, the actor-manager of the St James's Theatre. Wilde summered with his family at Worthing, where he wrote the play quickly in August.[1] His fame now at its peak, he used the working title Lady Lancing to avoid pre-emptive speculation of its content.[2] Many names and ideas in the play were borrowed from people or places the author had known; Lady Queensberry, Lord Alfred Douglas's mother, for example, lived at Bracknell.[3][n 1] There is widespread agreement among Wilde scholars that the most important influence on the play was W. S. Gilbert's 1877 farceEngaged;[6] Wilde borrowed from Gilbert not only several incidents but, in Russell Jackson's phrase "the gravity of tone demanded by Gilbert of his actors".[7]

Wilde continually revised the text over the next months: no line was left untouched, and "in a play so economical with its language and effects, [the revisions] had serious consequences".[8] Sos Eltis describes Wilde's revisions as a refined art at work: the earliest, longest handwritten drafts of the play labour over farcical incidents, broad puns, nonsense dialogue and conventional comic turns. In revising as he did, "Wilde transformed standard nonsense into the more systemic and disconcerting illogicality which characterises Earnest's dialogue".[9] Richard Ellmann argues that Wilde had reached his artistic maturity and wrote this work more surely and rapidly than before.[10]

Wilde hesitated about submitting the script to Alexander, worrying that it might be unsuitable for the St James's Theatre, whose typical repertoire was relatively serious, and explaining that it had been written in response to a request for a play "with no real serious interest".[11] When Henry James's Guy Domville failed, Alexander turned to Wilde and agreed to put on his play.[8] Alexander began his usual meticulous preparations, interrogating the author on each line and planning stage movements with a toy theatre. In the course of these rehearsals Alexander asked Wilde to shorten the play from four acts to three. Wilde agreed and combined elements of the second and third acts.[12] The largest cut was the removal of the character of Mr. Gribsby, a solicitor who comes from London to arrest the profligate "Ernest" (i.e., Jack) for his unpaid dining bills. Algernon, who is posing as "Ernest", will be led away to Holloway Jail unless he settles his accounts immediately. Jack finally agrees to pay for Ernest, everyone thinking that it is Algernon's bill when in fact it is his own.[8] The four-act version was first played on the radio in a BBC production and is still sometimes performed. Peter Raby argues that the three-act structure is more effective, and that the shorter original text is more theatrically resonant than the expanded published edition.[13]

Allan Aynesworth, Evelyn Millard, Irene Vanbrugh and George Alexander in the 1895 London premiere

Mrs George Canninge as Miss Prism and Evelyn Millard as Cecily Cardew in the first production

Rose Leclercq in 1894

The play was first produced at the St James's Theatre on Valentine's Day 1895.[14] It was freezing cold but Wilde arrived dressed in "florid sobriety", wearing a green carnation.[12] The audience, according to one report, "included many members of the great and good, former cabinet ministers and privy councillors, as well as actors, writers, academics, and enthusiasts".[15] Allan Aynesworth, who played Algernon Moncrieff, recalled to Hesketh Pearson that "In my fifty-three years of acting, I never remember a greater triumph than [that] first night".[16]Aynesworth was himself "debonair and stylish", and Alexander, who played Jack Worthing, "demure".[17]

The cast was:
John Worthing, J.P.—George Alexander
Algernon Moncrieff—Allan Aynesworth
Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D.—H. H. Vincent
Merriman—Frank Dyall
Lane—F. Kinsey Peile
Lady Bracknell—Rose Leclercq
Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax—Irene Vanbrugh
Cecily Cardew—Evelyn Millard
Miss Prism—Mrs. George Canninge

The Marquess of Queensberry, the father of Wilde's lover Lord Alfred Douglas (who was on holiday in Algiers at the time), had planned to disrupt the play by throwing a bouquet of rotten vegetables at the playwright when he took his bow at the end of the show. Wilde and Alexander learned of the plan, and the latter cancelled Queensberry's ticket and arranged for policemen to bar his entrance. Nevertheless, he continued harassing Wilde, who eventually launched a private prosecution against the peer for criminal libel, triggering a series of trials ending in Wilde's imprisonment for gross indecency. Alexander tried, unsuccessfully, to save the production by removing Wilde's name from the billing,[n 2] but the play had to close after only 86 performances.[19]

The play's original Broadway production opened at theEmpire Theatre on 22 April 1895, but closed after sixteen performances. Its cast included William Faversham as Algy,Henry Miller as Jack, Viola Allen as Gwendolen, and Ida Vernon as Lady Bracknell.[20] The Australian premiere was in Melbourne on 10 August 1895, presented by Dion Boucicault, Jr. and Robert Brough, and the play was an immediate success.[21] Wilde's downfall in England did not affect the popularity of his plays in Australia.[n 3]
Critical reception

Reviewers of the premiere: clockwise from top left: William Archer, A. B. Walkley,H. G. Wells and Bernard Shaw

In contrast to much theatre of the time, The Importance of Being Earnest's light plot does not tackle serious social and political issues, something of which contemporary reviewers were wary. Though unsure of Wilde's seriousness as a dramatist, they recognised the play's cleverness, humour and popularity with audiences.[22]Bernard Shaw, for example, reviewed the play in theSaturday Review, arguing that comedy should touch as well as amuse, "I go to the theatre to be moved to laughter."[23] Later in a letter he said, the play, though "extremely funny", was Wilde's "first really heartless [one]".[24] In The World, William Archer wrote that he had enjoyed watching the play but found it to be empty of meaning, "What can a poor critic do with a play which raises no principle, whether of art or morals, creates its own canons and conventions, and is nothing but an absolutely wilful expression of an irrepressibly witty personality?"[25]

In The Speaker, A. B. Walkley admired the play and was one of few to see it as the culmination of Wilde's dramatic career. He denied the term "farce" was derogatory, or even lacking in seriousness, and said "It is of nonsense all compact, and better nonsense, I think, our stage has not seen."[26] H. G. Wells, in an unsigned review for the Pall Mall Gazette, called Earnest one of the freshest comedies of the year, saying "More humorous dealing with theatrical conventions it would be difficult to imagine."[27] He also questioned whether people would fully see its message, " Serious People will take this Trivial Comedy intended for their learning remains to be seen. No doubt seriously."[27] The play was so light-hearted that many reviewers compared it to comic opera rather than drama. W. H. Auden later[when?] called it "a pure verbal opera", and The Times commented, "The story is almost too preposterous to go without music."[17] Mary McCarthy, in Sights and Spectacles(1959), however, and despite thinking the play extremely funny, would call it "a ferocious idyll"; "depravity is the hero and the only character."[28]

The Importance of Being Earnest is Wilde's most popular work and is continually revived.[11] Max Beerbohm called the play Wilde's "finest, most undeniably his own", saying that in his other comedies—Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance and An Ideal Husband—the plot, following the manner of Victorien Sardou, is unrelated to the theme of the work, while in Earnest the story is "dissolved" into the form of the play.[29][n 4]

Until after Wilde's death in 1900 his name remained disgraced, and few discussed, let alone performed, his work in Britain. Alexander revived The Importance in a small theatre inNotting Hill, outside the West End, in 1901;[31] in the same year he presented the piece on tour, playing Jack Worthing with a cast including the young Lilian Braithwaite as Cecily.[32]The play returned to the West End when Alexander presented a revival at the St James's in 1902.[33] Broadway revivals were mounted in 1902[20] and again in 1910,[34] each production running for six weeks.[20]

A collected edition of Wilde's works, published in 1908 and edited by Robert Ross, helped to restore his reputation as an author. Alexander presented another revival of The Importance at the St James's in 1909, when he and Aynesworth reprised their original roles;[35] the revival ran for 316 performances.[18] Max Beerbohm said that the play was sure to become a classic of the English repertory, and that its humour was as fresh then as when it had been written, adding that the actors had "worn as well as the play".[36]

For a 1913 revival at the same theatre the young actors Gerald Ames and A. E. Matthewssucceeded the creators as Jack and Algy.[37] John Deverell as Jack and Margaret Scudamore as Lady Bracknell headed the cast in a 1923 production at the Haymarket Theatre.[38] Many revivals in the first decades of the 20th century treated "the present" as the current year. It was not until the 1920s that the case for 1890s costumes was established; as a critic in The Manchester Guardian put it, "Thirty years on, one begins to feel that Wilde should be done in the costume of his period—that his wit today needs the backing of the atmosphere that gave it life and truth. … Wilde's glittering and complex verbal felicities go ill with the shingle and the short skirt."[39]

In Sir Nigel Playfair's 1930 production at the Lyric, Hammersmith, John Gielgud played Jack to the Lady Bracknell of his aunt, Mabel Terry-Lewis.[40] Gielgud produced and starred in a production at the Globe (now the Gielgud) Theatre in 1939, in a cast that included Edith Evans as Lady Bracknell, Joyce Carey as Gwendolen, Angela Baddeley as Cecily andMargaret Rutherford as Miss Prism. The Times considered the production the best since the original, and praised it for its fidelity to Wilde's conception, its "airy, responsive ball-playing quality."[41] Later in the same year Gielgud presented the work again, with Jack Hawkins as Algy, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies as Gwendolen and Peggy Ashcroft as Cecily, with Evans and Rutherford in their previous roles.[42] The production was presented in several seasons during and after the Second World War, with mostly the same main players. During a 1946 season at the Haymarket the King and Queen attended a performance,[43] which, as the journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft put it, gave the play "a final accolade of respectability."[44][n 5] The production toured North America, and was successfully staged on Broadway in 1947.[46][n 6]

As Wilde's work came to be read and performed again, it was The Importance of Being Earnest that received the most productions.[49] By the time of its centenary the journalistMark Lawson described it as "the second most known and quoted play in English afterHamlet."[50]

For Sir Peter Hall's 1982 production at the National Theatre the cast included Judi Denchas Lady Bracknell,[n 7] Martin Jarvis as Jack, Nigel Havers as Algy, Zoë Wanamaker as Gwendolen and Anna Massey as Miss Prism.[52] Nicholas Hytner's 1993 production at theAldwych Theatre, starring Maggie Smith, had occasional references to the supposed gay subtext.[53]

In 2005 the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, produced the play with an all-male cast; it also featured Wilde as a character—the play opens with him drinking in a Parisian café, dreaming of his play.[54] The Melbourne Theatre Company staged a production in December 2011 withGeoffrey Rush as Lady Bracknell.[55]

In 2011 the Roundabout Theatre Company produced a Broadway revival based on the 2009 Stratford Shakespeare Festival production featuring Brian Bedford as director and as Lady Bracknell. It opened at the American Airlines Theatre on 13 January and ran until 3 July 2011. The cast also included Dana Ivey as Miss Prism, Paxton Whitehead as Canon Chasuble, Santino Fontana as Algernon and Paul O'Brien as Lane.[56] It was nominated for three Tony Awards.[n 8]

The play is set in "The Present" (i.e. 1895).[59]
Act I Algernon Moncrieff's flat in Half Moon Street, W

The play opens with Algernon Moncrieff, an idle young gentleman, receiving his best friend, John Worthing, whom he knows as Ernest. Ernest has come from the country to propose to Algernon's cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax. Algernon, however, refuses his consent until Ernest explains why his cigarette case bears the inscription, "From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack." 'Ernest' is forced to admit to living a double life. In the country, he assumes a serious attitude for the benefit of his young ward, the heiress Cecily Cardew, and goes by the name of John (or, as a nickname, Jack), while pretending that he must worry about a wastrel younger brother named Ernest in London. In the city, meanwhile, he assumes the identity of the libertine Ernest. Algernon confesses a similar deception: he pretends to have an invalid friend named Bunbury in the country, whom he can "visit" whenever he wishes to avoid an unwelcome social obligation. Jack refuses to tell Algernon the location of his country estate.

Gwendolen and her formidable mother Lady Bracknell now call on Algernon. As he distracts Lady Bracknell in another room, Jack proposes to Gwendolen. She accepts, but seems to love him very largely for his professed name of Ernest. Jack accordingly resolves to himself to be rechristened "Ernest". Discovering them in this intimate exchange, Lady Bracknell interviews Jack as a prospective suitor. Horrified to learn that he was adopted after being discovered as a baby in a handbag [n 9] at Victoria Station, she refuses him and forbids further contact with her daughter. Gwendolen, though, manages covertly to promise to him her undying love. As Jack gives her his address in the country, Algernon surreptitiously notes it on the cuff of his sleeve: Jack's revelation of his pretty and wealthy young ward has motivated his friend to meet her.
Act II[edit] The Garden of the Manor House, Woolton

Alexander in Act II (1909 revival)

Cecily is studying with her governess, Miss Prism. Algernon arrives, pretending to be Ernest Worthing, and soon charms Cecily. Long fascinated by Uncle Jack's hitherto absent black sheep brother, she is predisposed to fall for Algernon in his role of Ernest (a name she, like Gwendolen, is apparently particularly fond of). Therefore Algernon, too, plans for the rector, Dr. Chasuble, to rechristen him "Ernest".

Jack, meanwhile, has decided to abandon his double life. He arrives in full mourning and announces his brother's death in Paris of a severe chill, a story undermined by Algernon's presence in the guise of Ernest.

Gwendolen now enters, having run away from home. During the temporary absence of the two men, she meets Cecily, each woman indignantly declaring that she is the one engaged to "Ernest". When Jack and Algernon reappear, their deceptions are exposed.
Act III Morning-Room at the Manor House, Woolton

Arriving in pursuit of her daughter, Lady Bracknell is astonished to be told that Algernon and Cecily are engaged. The revelation of Cecily's trust fund soon dispels Lady Bracknell's initial doubts over the young lady's suitability, but any engagement is forbidden by her guardian Jack: he will consent only if Lady Bracknell agrees to his own union with Gwendolen—something she declines to do.

The impasse is broken by the return of Miss Prism, whom Lady Bracknell recognises as the person who, twenty-eight years earlier, as a family nursemaid, had taken a baby boy for a walk in a perambulator (baby carriage) and never returned. Challenged, Miss Prism explains that she had absentmindedly put the manuscript of a novel she was writing in the perambulator, and the baby in a handbag, which she had left at Victoria Station. Jack produces the very same handbag, showing that he is the lost baby, the elder son of Lady Bracknell's late sister, and thus indeed Algernon's elder brother. Having acquired such respectable relations, he is acceptable as a suitor for Gwendolen after all.

Gwendolen, though, still insists that she can only love a man named Ernest. What is her fiancé's real first name? Lady Bracknell informs Jack that, as the first-born, he would have been named after his father, General Moncrieff. Jack examines the army lists and discovers that his father's name—and hence his own real name—was in fact Ernest. Pretence was reality all along. As the happy couples embrace—Jack and Gwendolen, Algernon and Cecily, and even Dr. Chasuble and Miss Prism—Lady Bracknell complains to her newfound relative: "My nephew, you seem to be displaying signs of triviality." "On the contrary, Aunt Augusta", he replies, "I've now realised for the first time in my life the vital importance of being Earnest."

Arthur Ransome described The Importance... as the most trivial of Wilde's society plays, and the only one that produces "that peculiar exhilaration of the spirit by which we recognise the beautiful." "It is", he wrote, "precisely because it is consistently trivial that it is not ugly."[62] Ellmann says that The Importance of Being Earnest touched on many themes Wilde had been building since the 1880s—the languor of aesthetic poses was well established and Wilde takes it as a starting point for the two protagonists.[10] WhileSalome, An Ideal Husband and The Picture of Dorian Gray had dwelt on more serious wrongdoing, vice in Earnest is represented by Algy's craving for cucumber sandwiches.[n 10] Wilde told Robert Ross that the play's theme was "That we should treat all trivial things in life very seriously, and all serious things of life with a sincere and studied triviality."[10] The theme is hinted at in the play's ironic title, and "earnestness" is repeatedly alluded to in the dialogue, Algernon says in Act II, "one has to be serious about something if one is to have any amusement in life" but goes on to reproach Jack for 'being serious about everything'".[64] Blackmail and corruption had haunted the double lives of Dorian Gray and Sir Robert Chiltern (in An Ideal Husband), but in Earnest the protagonists' duplicity (Algernon's "bunburying" and Worthing's double life as Jack and Ernest) is undertaken for more innocent purposes—largely to avoid unwelcome social obligations.[10] While much theatre of the time tackled serious social and political issues, Earnest is superficially about nothing at all. It "refuses to play the game" of other dramatists of the period, for instance Bernard Shaw, who used their characters to draw audiences to grander ideals.[22]
As a satire of society

The play repeatedly mocks Victorian traditions and social customs, marriage and the pursuit of love in particular.[65] In Victorian times earnestness was considered to be the over-riding societal value, originating in religious attempts to reform the lower classes, it spread to the upper ones too throughout the century.[66] The play's very title, with its mocking paradox (serious people are so because they do not see trivial comedies), introduces the theme, it continues in the drawing room discussion, "Yes, but you must be serious about it. I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them," says Algernon in Act 1; allusions are quick and from multiple angles.[64]

Gwendolyn and Cecily discover that they are both engaged to "Ernest"

Wilde managed both to engage with and to mock the genre, while providing social commentary and offering reform.[67] The men follow traditional matrimonial rites, whereby suitors admit their weaknesses to their prospective brides, but the foibles they excuse are ridiculous, and the farce is built on an absurd confusion of a book and a baby.[68] When Jack apologises to Gwendolen during his marriage proposal it is for not being wicked:[69]

JACK: Gwendolen, it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me?

GWENDOLEN: I can. For I feel that you are sure to change.

In turn, both Gwendolen and Cecily have the ideal of marrying a man named Ernest, a popular and respected name at the time. Gwendolen, quite unlike her mother's methodical analysis of John Worthing's suitability as a husband, places her entire faith in a Christian name, declaring in Act I, "The only really safe name is Ernest".[70] This is an opinion shared by Cecily in Act II, "I pity any poor married woman whose husband is not called Ernest"[71]and they indignantly declare that they have been deceived when they find out the men's real names.

Wilde embodied society's rules and rituals artfully into Lady Bracknell: minute attention to the details of her style created a comic effect of assertion by restraint.[72] In contrast to her encyclopaedic knowledge of the social distinctions of London's street names, Jack's obscure parentage is subtly evoked. He defends himself against her "A handbag?" with the clarification, "The Brighton Line". At the time, Victoria Station consisted of two separate but adjacent terminal stations sharing the same name. To the east was the ramshackle LC&D Railway, on the west the up-market LB&SCR—the Brighton Line, which went to Worthing, the fashionable, expensive town the gentleman who found baby Jack was travelling to at the time (and after which Jack was named).[73]
Suggested homosexual subtext

John Gambril Nicholson wrote in 1892, "Though Frank may ring like silver bell / And Cecil softer music claim / They cannot work the miracle / –'Tis Ernest sets my heart a-flame."[74]There were few claims at the time of subtextual content, but modern critics often suggest it may simply have gone unnoticed by the Victorian audience.[75] Theo Aronson has suggested that the word "earnest" became a code-word for homosexual, as in: "Is he earnest?", in the same way that "Is he so?" and "Is he musical?" were also employed.[76]

Sir Donald Sinden, an actor who had met two of the play's original cast (Irene Vanbrugh and Allan Aynesworth), and Lord Alfred Douglas, wrote to The Times to dispute suggestions that "Earnest" held any sexual connotations:[77]

Although they had ample opportunity, at no time did any of them even hint that "Earnest" was a synonym for homosexual, or that "bunburying" may have implied homosexual sex. The first time I heard it mentioned was in the 1980s and I immediately consulted Sir John Gielgud whose own performance of Jack Worthing in the same play was legendary and whose knowledge of theatrical lore was encyclopaedic. He replied in his ringing tones: "No-No! Nonsense, absolute nonsense: I would have known".[77]

Russell Jackson agrees, noting that "nothing of the overtly Dorian mode is to be found in the finished play or its drafts."[78] Instead, Wilde may have transposed his apprehension into Lord Chiltern's (non-sexual) blackmailing situation in the darker, political play, An Ideal Husband. By contrast, the humour and transformation in The Importance of Being Earnestis much lighter in tone, though Algernon's protest at his putative arrest, "Well I really am not going to be imprisoned in the suburbs for dining in the west-end!" ironically foreshadows Wilde's incarceration a few months later.[79]

While Wilde had long been famous for dialogue and his use of language, Raby (1988) argues that he achieved a unity and mastery in Earnest that was unmatched in his other plays, except perhaps Salomé. While his earlier comedies suffer from an unevenness resulting from the thematic clash between the trivial and the serious, Earnest achieves a pitch-perfect style that allows these to dissolve.[80] There are three different registers detectable in the play. The dandyish insouciance of Jack and Algernon—established early with Algernon's exchange with his manservant—betrays an underlying unity despite their differing attitudes. The formidable pronouncements of Lady Bracknell are as startling for her use of hyperbole and rhetorical extravagance as for her disconcerting opinions. In contrast, the speech of Dr. Chasuble and Miss Prism is distinguished by "pedantic precept" and "idiosyncratic diversion".[80] Furthermore, the play is full of epigrams and paradoxes. Max Beerbohm described it as littered with "chiselled apophthegms—witticisms unrelated to action or character", of which he found half a dozen to be of the highest order.[36]

Though Wilde deployed characters that were by now familiar—the dandy lord, the overbearing matriarch, the woman with a past, the puritan young lady—his treatment is subtler than in his earlier comedies. Lady Bracknell, for instance, embodies respectable, upper-class society, but Eltis notes how her development "from the familiar overbearing duchess into a quirkier and more disturbing character" can be traced through Wilde's revisions of the play.[9] For the two young men, Wilde presents not stereotypical stage "dudes" but intelligent beings who, as Jackson puts it, "speak like their creator in well-formed complete sentences and rarely use slang or vogue-words".[81] Dr Chasuble and Miss Prism are characterised by a few light touches of detail, their old-fashioned enthusiasms, and the Canon's fastidious pedantry, pared down by Wilde during his many redrafts of the text.[81]
Structure and genre

Ransome argues that Wilde freed himself by abandoning the melodrama, the basic structure which underlies his earlier social comedies, and basing the story entirely on the Earnest/Ernest verbal conceit. Now freed from "living up to any drama more serious than conversation" Wilde could now amuse himself to a fuller extent with quips, bons-mots, epigrams and repartee that really had little to do with the business at hand.[82]

The genre of the Importance of Being Earnest has been deeply debated by scholars and critics alike who have placed the play within a wide variety of genres ranging from parody to satire. In his critique of Wilde, Foster argues that the play creates a world where “real values are inverted [and], reason and unreason are interchanged".[83] Similarly, Wilde's use of dialogue mocks the upper classes of Victorian England lending the play a satirical tone.[84] Reinhart further stipulates that the use of farcical humour to mock the upper classes "merits the play both as satire and as drama".[85]





—Dedication of The Importance of Being Earnest[86]

Wilde's two final comedies, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, were still on stage in London at the time of his prosecution, and they were soon closed as the details of his case became public. After two years in prison with hard labour, Wilde went into exile in Paris, sick and depressed, his reputation destroyed in England. In 1898, when no-one else would,Leonard Smithers agreed with Wilde to publish the two final plays. Wilde proved to be a diligent reviser, sending detailed instructions on stage directions, character listings and the presentation of the book, and insisting that a playbill from the first performance be reproduced inside. Ellmann argues that the proofs show a man "very much in command of himself and of the play".[87] Wilde's name did not appear on the cover, it was "By the Author of Lady Windermere's Fan".[88] His return to work was brief though, as he refused to write anything else, "I can write, but have lost the joy of writing".[87]

On 19 October 2007, a first edition (number 349 of 1,000) was discovered inside a handbag in an Oxfam shop in Nantwich, Cheshire. Staff were unable to trace the donor. It was sold for £650.[89]
In translation

The Importance of Being Earnest's popularity has meant it has been translated into many languages, though the homophonous pun in the title ("Ernest", a masculine proper name, and "earnest", the virtue of steadfastness and seriousness) poses a special problem for translators. The easiest case of a suitable translation of the pun, perpetuating its sense and meaning, may have been its translation into German. Since English and German areclosely related languages, German provides an equivalent adjective ("ernst") and also a matching masculine proper name ("Ernst"). The meaning and tenor of the wordplay are exactly the same. Yet there are many different possible titles in German, mostly concerning sentence structure. The two most common ones are "Bunbury oder ernst / Ernst sein ist alles" and "Bunbury oder wie wichtig es ist, ernst / Ernst zu sein".[66] In a study of Italian translations, Adrian Pablé found thirteen different versions using eight titles. Since wordplay is often unique to the language in question, translators are faced with a choice of either staying faithful to the original—in this case the English adjective and virtue earnest—or creating a similar pun in their own language.[90]

Wilde, drawn in 1896 by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Four main strategies have been used by translators. The first leaves all characters' names unchanged and in their original spelling: thus the name is respected and readers reminded of the original cultural setting, but the liveliness of the pun is lost.[91] Eva Malagoli varied this source-oriented approach by using both the English Christian names and the adjective earnest, thus preserving the pun and the English character of the play, but possibly straining an Italian reader.[92] A third group of translators replacedErnest with a name that also represents a virtue in the target language, favouring transparency for readers in translation over fidelity to the original.[92] For instance, in Italian, these versions variously call the play L'importanza di essere Franco/Severo/Fedele, the given names being respectively the values of honesty, propriety, and loyalty.[93] French offers a closer pun: "Constant" is both a first name and the quality of steadfastness, so the play is commonly known as De l'importance d'être Constant, though Jean Anouilhtranslated the play under the title: Il est important d'être Aimé ("Aimé" is a name which also means "beloved").[94] These translators differ in their attitude to the original English honorific titles, some change them all, or none, but most leave a mix partially as a compensation for the added loss of Englishness. Lastly, one translation gave the name an Italianate touch by rendering it as Ernesto; this work liberally mixed proper nouns from both languages.[95]

Main articles: The Importance of Being Earnest (1952 film), The Importance of Being Earnest (2002 film) and The Importance of Being Earnest (2011 film)

Apart from multiple "made-for-television" versions, The Importance of Being Earnest has been adapted for the English-language cinema at least three times, first in 1952 by Anthony Asquith who adapted the screenplay and directed it. Michael Denison (Algernon), Michael Redgrave (Jack), Edith Evans (Lady Bracknell), Dorothy Tutin (Cecily), Joan Greenwood(Gwendolen), and Margaret Rutherford (Miss Prism) and Miles Malleson (Canon Chasuble) were among the cast.[96] In 1992 Kurt Baker directed a version using an all-black cast, set in the United States.[97] Oliver Parker, an English director who had previously adapted An Ideal Husband by Wilde, made the 2002 film; it stars Colin Firth (Jack), Rupert Everett(Algy), Judi Dench (Lady Bracknell), Reese Witherspoon (Cecily), Frances O'Connor(Gwendolen), Anna Massey (Miss Prism), and Tom Wilkinson (Canon Chasuble).[98]Parker's adaptation includes the dunning solicitor Mr. Gribsby who pursues Jack to Hertfordshire (present in Wilde's original draft, but cut at the behest of the play's first producer).[14] Algernon too is pursued by a group of creditors in the opening scene.
Operas and musicals[edit]

In 1963, Erik Chisholm composed an opera from the play, using Wilde's text as thelibretto.[99] Gerald Barry's operatic version, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Barbican Centre London, was premiered in Los Angeles in 2013. The stage premiere was given by the Opéra national de Lorraine in Nancy in 2013.[100]

According to a study by Robert Tanitch, by 2002 there had been least eight adaptations of the play as a musical, though "never with conspicuous success".[53] The earliest such version was a 1927 American show entitled Oh Earnest. The journalist Mark Bostridge comments, "The libretto of a 1957 musical adaptation, Half in Earnest, deposited in theBritish Library, is scarcely more encouraging. The curtain rises on Algy strumming away at the piano, singing 'I can play Chopsticks, Lane'. Other songs include—almost predictably—'A Bunburying I Must Go'."[53][n 11]
Radio and television

There have been many radio versions of the play. In 1925 the BBC broadcast an adaptation with Hesketh Pearson as Jack Worthing.[102] Further broadcasts of the play followed in 1927 and 1936.[103] In 1977, BBC Radio 4 broadcast the four-act version of the play, with Fabia Drake as Lady Bracknell, Richard Pasco as Jack, Jeremy Clyde as Algy,Maurice Denham as Canon Chasuble, Sylvia Coleridge as Miss Prism, Barbara Leigh-Huntas Gwendolen and Prunella Scales as Cecily. The production was later released on CD.[104]

To commemorate the centenary of the first performance of the play, Radio 4 broadcast a new adaptation on 13 February 1995; directed by Glyn Dearman, it featured Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell, Michael Hordern as Lane, Michael Sheen as Jack Worthing, Martin Clunesas Algernon Moncrieff, John Moffatt as Canon Chasuble, Miriam Margolyes as Miss Prism,Samantha Bond as Gwendolen and Amanda Root as Cecily. The production was later issued on audio cassette.[105]

On 13 December 2000, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a new adaptation directed by Howard Davies starring Geraldine McEwan as Lady Bracknell, Simon Russell Beale as Jack Worthing, Julian Wadham as Algernon Moncrieff, Geoffrey Palmer as Canon Chasuble,Celia Imrie as Miss Prism, Victoria Hamilton as Gwendolen and Emma Fielding as Cecily, with music composed by Dominic Muldowney. The production was released on audio cassette.[106]

A 1964 commercial television adaptation starred Ian Carmichael, Patrick Macnee,Susannah York, Fenella Fielding, Pamela Brown and Irene Handl.[107]

BBC television transmissions of the play have included a 1974 Play of the Month version starring Coral Browne as Lady Bracknell with Michael Jayston, Julian Holloway, Gemma Jones and Celia Bannerman.[108] Stuart Burge directed another adaptation in 1986 with a cast including Gemma Jones, Alec McCowen, Paul McGann and Joan Plowright.[109]
Commercial recordings

Gielgud's performance is preserved on an EMI audio recording dating from 1952, which also captures Edith Evans's Lady Bracknell. The cast also includes Roland Culver (Algy),Jean Cadell (Miss Prism), Pamela Brown (Gwendolen) and Celia Johnson (Cecily).[110]

Other audio recordings include a "Theatre Masterworks" version from 1953, directed and narrated by Margaret Webster, with a cast including Maurice Evans, Lucile Watson andMildred Natwick;[111] a 1989 version by California Artists Radio Theatre, featuring Dan O'Herlihy Jeanette Nolan, Les Tremayne and Richard Erdman;[112] and one by L.A. Theatre Works issued in 2009, featuring Charles Busch, James Marsters and Andrea Bowen.[113]