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Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde

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Overview

The master of wit and irony

Published here alongside their evocative original illustrations, these fairy tales, as Oscar Wilde himself explained, were written ?partly for children, and partly for those who have kept the childlike faculties of wonder and joy.?

Oscar Wilde, best known for his acerbic, witty plays and urbane nonfiction, was also a master of the fairy tale. This volume brings together all of Wilde's tales from his two ...

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Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde

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Overview

The master of wit and irony

Published here alongside their evocative original illustrations, these fairy tales, as Oscar Wilde himself explained, were written “partly for children, and partly for those who have kept the childlike faculties of wonder and joy.”

Oscar Wilde, best known for his acerbic, witty plays and urbane nonfiction, was also a master of the fairy tale. This volume brings together all of Wilde's tales from his two collections--"The Happy Prince" and "The House of Pomegranates"--and retains the evocative illustrations done for the original editions.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451524355
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/28/1990
  • Series: Signet Classics Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.82 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Oscar Wilde
The ever-quotable Oscar Wilde once said, "Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it." From his outsize celebrity in Victorian London to his authorship of fiction, drama, and poetry that uniquely captured his era, it's fair to say that Wilde succeeded on both counts.

Biography

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.

Read More Show Less
    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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2012

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    I Also Recommend:

    I never knew Oscar Wilde wrote fairy tales until it was recomm

    I never knew Oscar Wilde wrote fairy tales until it was recommended by Goodreads based on my recent fairy tales reading. So it sparked my curiosity and I decided to check them out.
    In my opinion these tales seem intended more for adults, but there is no reason that an older child couldn't enjoy reading them.
    Originally, he wrote two small collections of tales. If you have read Dorian Gray, there is at least one story that really has that cynical look at society in it, that is very Dorian Gray Wilde. Otherwise, for the most part, his tales feel a lot like Hans Christian Anderson. Whom he was familiar with like The Brothers Grimm. These tales were for the most, a good read, and a lot had lessons attached to the story, or a moral of sort. An interesting set of fairy tales.

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  • Posted March 11, 2010

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    A book that I will read over and over again.

    I'll admit up front that I've never read anything by Oscar Wilde before now, and I think that I'm sorry that I've waited this long. I thoroughly enjoyed his fairy tales, and even found myself underlining multiple passages in the book for future reference. I felt that his insight into life and love and all the joy and troubles that come with both was quite remarkable and still very relevant for our time, even though these stories were written over 100 years ago. I'm sure that if I were more versed in fairy tales and folklore as a whole I might see more relations between his stories and those that came before, but taking these for what they are I enjoyed them immensely. The particular volume that I have contains both of Wilde's collections, "The Happy Prince and Other Tales" and "A House of Pomegranates", in one volume, and I while I enjoyed all the stories, I found that I did enjoy the stories that were from "The Happy Prince and Other Tales" slightly more.

    The stories contained in "The Happy Prince and Other Tales" are "The Happy Prince", "The Nightingale and the Rose" (my favorite), "The Selfish Giant", "The Devoted Friend" (probable my next favorite), and "The Remarkable Rocket". "A House of Pomegranates" contains "The Young King", "The Birthday of the Infanta", "The Fisherman and His Soul" (a unique reworking of "The Little Mermaid"), and "The Star-Child" (another unique reworking of "Beauty and the Beast").

    The stories can easily be enjoyed just as much by adults as by children, and I think that adults as a whole may actually get more out the stories than children. The tales deal broadly with love and individualism and being true to your self even when others may look down on you. The views of love are both in and out of favor of it, and my favorite passage from the book deals with Love and how it can lead one astray: "What a silly thing Love is. It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite impractical..." Like I said, the insights that Wilde has on love and life are quite remarkable and I found them very relevant for my life right now. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

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  • Posted April 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde

    (After the age of eight, most people can handle a book without pictures. I don't see any reason why this book would Have to include illustrations, so long as you have somewhat of an imagination.)

    Oscar Wilde was a genius. His dry wit makes an appearance in a few of these stories, but they are mostly bittersweet. An older, mature child would enjoy some of these tales, but I would say they're more likely to entertain a teen or adult, mostly because of the "big words".

    That said, I loved it when I read it in high school, and it's still one of my favorite collections of fairy tales. If you like Oscar Wilde's other writings, or if you're a big fan of short whimsical fantasy, I highly recommend this, especially "The Nightingale and The Rose".

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    WHERE ARE THE ILLUSTRATIONS?

    Fairy tales, no matter how skillfully told, react to the magic of colorful illustrations. Without them, the tales never come to life.

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