Essay on finding “Campiness” in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeSubject:English Literature
The Importance of Being Earnest and Camp
Consider the following excerpt from Susan Sontag’s essay “Notes on Camp:”
23. In naīve, or pure, Camp, the essential element is seriousness, a seriousness that fails. Of course, not all seriousness that fails can be redeemed as Camp. Only that which has the proper mixture of the exaggerated, the fantastic, the passionate, and the naīve. Camp: the sensibility of failed seriousness, of the theatricalization of experience. Camp refuses both the harmonies of traditional seriousness, and the risks of fully identifying with extreme states of feeling.
Using this, and two other “notes” of your choosing from Sontag’s essay, write a 4-page essay about the campiness of The Importance of Being Earnest. A strong response will not only address the vibe of the play overall, but particular characters and/or moments in the play. For this, I encourage you to review the film at your discretion:
Ultimately, your essay should not only list the moments that conform to campiness, but entertain a larger sense as to why campiness is a meaningful and compelling form of cultural critique.
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