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Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde

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The Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde is the only truly complete and authoritative single-volume edition of Oscar Wilde’s works, and is available in both hardback and this paperback edition.

Continuously in print since 1948, the Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde has long been recognised as the most comprehensive and authoritative single-volume collection of Wilde’s texts available, containing his only novel, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, as well as his plays, stories, ...

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Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (Collins Classics)

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The Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde is the only truly complete and authoritative single-volume edition of Oscar Wilde’s works, and is available in both hardback and this paperback edition.

Continuously in print since 1948, the Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde has long been recognised as the most comprehensive and authoritative single-volume collection of Wilde’s texts available, containing his only novel, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, as well as his plays, stories, poems, essays and letters, all in their most authoritative texts.

Illustrated with many fascinating photographs, the book includes introductions to each section by Merlin Holland (Oscar’s grandson), Owen Dudley Edwards, Declan Kiberd and Terence Brown.

Also included is a comprehensive bibliography of works by and about Oscar Wilde, and a chronological table of his life and work.

A unique one-volume anthology which concludes all of Wilde's stories, plays, and poems.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780007144365
  • Publisher: HarperCollins UK
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Series: Collins Classics Series
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 1216
  • Sales rank: 357,802
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 2.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Merlin Holland is Oscar Wilde’s only grandson. He is a journalist and the author of ‘The Wilde Album’ and ‘Irish Peacock and Scarlet’ both also published by Fourth Estate.


Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on October 16, 1854, to an intellectually prominent Dublin family. His father, Sir William Wilde, was a renowned physician who was knighted for his work as medical adviser to the 1841 and 1851 Irish censuses; his mother, Lady Jane Francesca Elgee, was a poet and journalist. Wilde showed himself to be an exceptional student. While at the Royal School in Enniskillen, he took First Prize in Classics. He continued his studies at Trinity College, Dublin, on scholarship, where he won high honors, including the Demyship Scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford.

At Oxford, Wilde engaged in self-discovery, through both intellectual and personal pursuits. He fell under the influence of the aesthetic philosophy of Walter Pater, a tutor and author who inspired Wilde to create art for the sake of art alone. It was during these years that Wilde developed a reputation as an eccentric and a foppish dresser who always had a flower in his lapel. Wilde won his first recognition as a writer when the university awarded him the Newdigate Prize for his poem "Ravenna."

Wilde went from Oxford to London, where he published his first volume of verse, Poems, in 1881. From 1882 to 1884, he toured the United States, Ireland, and England, giving a series of lectures on Aestheticism. In America, between speaking engagements, he met some of the great literary minds of the day, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Walt Whitman. His first play, Vera, was staged in New York but did poorly. After his marriage to Constance Lloyd in 1884 and the birth of his two sons, Wilde began to make his way into London's theatrical, literary, and homosexual scenes. He published Intentions, a collection of dialogues on aesthetic philosophy, in 1891, the year he met Lord Alfred Douglas, who became his lover and his ultimate downfall. Wilde soon produced several successful plays, including Lady Windermere's Fan (1892) and A Woman of No Importance (1893). Wilde's popularity was short-lived, however. In 1894, during the concurrent runs of his plays An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, he became the subject of a homosexual scandal that led him to withdraw all theater engagements and declare bankruptcy. Urged by many to flee the country rather than face a trial in which he would surely be found guilty, Wilde chose instead to remain in England. Arrested in 1895 and found guilty of "homosexual offenses," Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labor and began serving time in Wandsworth prison. He was later transferred to the detention center in Reading Gaol, where he composed De Profundis, a dramatic monologue written as a letter to Lord Alfred Douglas that was published in 1905. Upon his release, Wilde retreated to the Continent, where he lived out the rest of his life under a pseudonym. He published his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, in 1898 while living in exile.

During his lifetime, Wilde was most often the center of controversy. The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was serialized in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890 and published in book form the next year, is considered to be Wilde's most personal work. Scrutinized by critics who questioned its morality, the novel portrays the author's internal battles and arrives at the disturbing possibility that "ugliness is the only reality." Oscar Wilde died penniless, of cerebral meningitis, in Paris on November 30, 1900. He is buried in Paris's Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Good To Know

To make ends meet, Wilde edited the popular ladies' periodical Woman's Day from 1887 to 1889.

When in exile on the Continent, Wilde was forced to live under the alias Sebastian Melmoth.

It is rumored that Wilde's last written words were found in his journal, left behind in the Left Bank flophouse where he died: "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has got to go."

Wilde is buried in the Paris cemetery of Père Lachaise; there, he keeps company with other famous artists, including Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 16, 1854
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dublin, Ireland
    1. Date of Death:
      November 30, 1900
    2. Place of Death:
      Paris, France

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.

From the corner of the divan of' Persian saddle-bags on which he was lying, smoking, as was his custom, innumerable cigarettes, Lord Henry Wotton could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and honey-coloured blossoms of a laburnum, whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flame-like as theirs ; and now and then the fantastic shadows of birds in flight flitted across the long tussore-silk curtains that were stretched in front of the huge window, producing a kind of momentary Japanese effect, and making him think of those pallid jade-faced painters of Tokio who, through the medium of an art that is necessarily immobile, seek to convey the sense of swiftness and motion. The sullen murmur of the bees shouldering their way through the long unmown grass, or circling with monotonous insistence round the dusty gilt horns of the straggling woodbine, seemed to make the stillness more oppressive. The dim roar of London was like the bourdon note of a distant organ.

In the centre of the room, clamped to an upright easel, stood the full-length portrait of a young man of extraordinary personal beauty, and in front of it, some little distance away, was sitting the artist himself, Basil Hallward, whose sudden disappearance some years ago caused, at the time, such public excitement, and gave rise to so many strangeconjectures.

As the painter looked at the gracious and comely form he had so skilfully mirrored in his art, a smile of pleasure passed across his face, and seemed about to linger there. But he suddenly started up, and, closing his eyes, placed his fingers upon the lids, as though he sought to imprison within his brain some curious dream from which he feared he might awake.

"It is your best work, Basil, the best thing you have ever done," said Lord Henry, languidly. " You must certainly send it next year to the Grosvenor. The Academy is too large and too vulgar. Whenever I have gone there, there have been either so many people that I have not been able to see the pictures, which was dreadful, or so many pictures that I have not been able to see the people, which was worse. The Grosvenor is really the only place."

"I don't think I shall send it anywhere," he answered, tossing his head back in that odd way that used to make his friends laugh at him at Oxford. " No : I won't send it anywhere."

Lord Henry elevated his eyebrows, and looked at him in amazement through the thin blue wreaths of smoke that curled up in such

fanciful whirls from his heavy opium-tainted cigarette. " Not send it anywhere ? My dear fellow, why ? Have you any reason ? What odd chaps you painters are ! You do anything in the world to gain a reputation. As soon as you have one, you seem to want to throw it away. It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. A portrait like this would set you far above all the young men in England, and make the old men quite jealous, if old men are ever capable of any emotion."

"I know you will laugh at me," he replied, " but I really can't exhibit it. I have put too much of myself into it."

Lord Henry stretched himself out on the divan and laughed.

"Yes, I knew you would ; but it is quite true, all the same."

"Too much of yourself in it ! Upon my word, Basil, I didn't know you were so vain ; and I really can't see any resemblance between you, with your rugged strong face and your coal-black hair, and this young

Adonis, who looks as if he was made out of ivory and rose-leaves. Why, my dear Basil, he is a Narcissus, and you-well, of course you have an intellectual expression, and all that. But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face. The moment one sits down to think, one becomes all nose, or all forehead, or something horrid. Look at the successful men in any of the learned professions. How perfectly hideous they are! Except, of course, in the Church. But then in the Church they don't think. A bishop keeps on saying at the age of eighty what he was told to say when he was a boy of eighteen, and as a natural consequence he a-ways looks absolutely delightful. Your mysterious young friend, whose name you have never told me, but whose picture really fascinates me, never thinks. I feel quite sure of that. He is some brainless, beautiful creature, who should be always here in winter when we have no flowers to look at, and always here in summer when we want something to chill our intelligence. Don't flatter yourself, Basil : you are not in the least like him."

"You don't understand me, Harry," answered the artist. " O course I am not like him. I know that perfectly well. Indeed, I should be sorry to look like him. You shrug your shoulders ? I am telling you the truth. There is a fatality about all physical and intellectual distinction, the sort of fatality that seems to dog through history the faltering steps of kings. It is better not to be different from one's fellows. The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play.

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Table of Contents

The Contributors x
Introduction to the 1994 Edition 1
Introduction to the 1966 Edition 7
Introduction to the Stories 13
The Picture of Dorian Gray 17
Lord Arthur Savile's Crime 160
The Canterville Ghost 184
The Sphinx Without a Secret 205
The Model Millionaire 209
A House of Pomegranates
The Young King 213
The Birthday of the Infanta 223
The Fisherman and his Soul 236
The Star-Child 260
The Happy Prince
The Happy Prince 271
The Nightingale and the Rose 278
The Selfish Giant 283
The Devoted Friend 286
The Remarkable Rocket 294
The Portrait of Mr. W.H. 302
Introduction to the Plays 352
The Importance of Being Earnest 357
Lady Windermere's Fan 420
A Woman of No Importance 465
An Ideal Husband 515
Salome 583
The Duchess of Padua 606
Vera, or the Nihilists 681
A Florentine Tragedy 721
La Sainte Courtisane 734
Introduction to the Poems 739
Ye Shall Be Gods 745
Chorus of the Cloud Maidens 747
From Spring Days to Winter 748
Requiescat 748
San Miniato 749
By The Arno 749
Rome Unvisited 750
La Bella Donna Della Mia Mente 752
Chanson 753
Untitled (See the gold sun has risen) 753
Untitled (She stole behind him where he lay) 754
The Dole of the King's Daughter 755
Love Song 756
Tristitiae 757
The True Knowledge 758
Heart's Yearnings 758
The Little Ship 759
[characters not reproducible] (Song of Lamentation) 760
Lotus Land 762
Desespoir 763
Lotus Leaves 763
Untitled (O loved one lying far away) 765
A Fragment from The Agamemnon of Aeschylos 766
A Vision 768
Sonnet on Approaching Italy 768
Sonnet (written in Holy Week at Genoa) 769
Impression de Voyage 769
The Theatre at Argos 769
Urbs Sacra Aeterna 770
The Grave of Keats 770
Sonnet: on the massacre of the Christians in Bulgaria 771
Easter Day 771
Sonnet: on Hearing the Dies Irae sung in the Sistine Chapel 772
Italia 772
Vita Nuova 773
E Tenebris 773
Quantum Mutata 773
To Milton 774
Ave Maria Gratia Plena 774
Wasted Days 775
The Grave of Shelley 775
Santa Decca 776
Theoretikos 776
Amor Intellectualis 777
At Verona 777
Ravenna 778
Magdalen Walks 786
The Burden of Itys 786
Theocritus 795
Nocturne 796
Endymion 796
Charmides 797
Ballade de Marguerite 814
La Belle Gabrielle 815
Humanitad 816
Athanasia 826
The New Helen 828
Panthea 830
Phedre 835
Queen Henrietta Maria 835
Louis Napoleon 836
Madonna Mia 836
Roses and Rue 837
Portia 839
Apologia 839
Quia Multum Amavi 840
Silentium Amoris 841
Her Voice 841
My Voice 842
[characters not reproducible] (Sweet, I blame you not...) 843
The Garden of Eros 844
Ave Imperatrix 851
Pan 854
The Artist's Dream or San Artysty 856
Libertatis Sacra Fames 858
Sonnet to Liberty 859
Taedium Vitae 859
Fabien Dei Franchi 860
Serenade 860
Camma 861
Impression du Matin 862
In the Gold Room 862
Impressions: 1. Les Silhouettes; 2. La Fuite de la Lune 863
Impression: Le Reveillion 864
Helas! 864
To V.F. 864
To M.B.J. 865
Impressions: 1. Le Jardin; 2. La Mer 865
Le Jardin Des Tuileries 866
The Harlot's House 867
Fantaisies Decoratives 868
Under the Balcony 869
To My Wife 870
On the Sale By Auction of Keats' Love Letters 870
The New Remorse 871
Canzonet 871
With a Copy of 'A House of Pomegranates' 872
Symphony in Yellow 872
La Dame Jaune 873
Remorse 873
In The Forest 874
The Sphinx 874
The Ballad of Reading Gaol 883
Poems in Prose
The Artist 900
The Doer of Good 900
The Disciple 901
The Master 901
The House of Judgment 902
The Teacher of Wisdom 903
Introduction to Essays, Selected Journalism, Lectures and Letters 907
Essays, Selected Journalism, Lectures and Letters
The House Beautiful 913
The Decorative Arts 926
Personal Impressions of America 938
Mrs Langtry as Hester Grazebrook 942
Woman's Dress 945
Mr Whistler's Ten O'Clock 948
Dinners and Dishes 950
Hamlet at the Lyceum 952
Olivia at the Lyceum 955
A Handbook to Marriage 957
Balzac in English 959
A Ride Through Morocco 962
The American Invasion 964
Two Biographies of Keats 957
Aristotle at Afternoon Tea 970
Mr Morris on Tapestry 973
London Models 975
De Profundis 980
Two Letters to the Daily Chronicle 1060
The Decay of Lying 1071
Pen, Pencil and Poison 1093
The Critic as Artist 1108
The Truth of Masks 1156
The Soul of Man Under Socialism 1174
The Rise of Historical Criticism 1198
A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the Over-Educated 1242
Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young 1244
A Chronological Table 1247
B Order of Poems (1882) 1252
C List of Original Dedications in Wilde's Published Works 1254
D Index of First Lines of Poems 1255
Bibliograpy 1258
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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted August 1, 2011


    Tread carefully, problem w download. Took 2 weeks to fix.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2001

    Oscar Wilde

    This is a fantastic collection for english assignments I recommend it to everyone doing essays on Oscar Wilde

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    Posted October 10, 2014

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