'The Happy Prince', one of his best-loved stories, tells of the attempts of a kind-hearted statue and an amorous swallow to rid their city of poverty, and of their heavenly reward. Others include the tale of the unjust but repentant giant who discovers joy in loving others, the nightingale willing to die for love, and a pompous although very remarkable rocket, ready to display his talents and his ignorance. Full of splendid, joyous imagery - birds, flowers, fireworks and palaces - the stories are infused with an underlying wisdom and morality.
'The Happy Prince', one of his best-loved stories, tells of the attempts of a kind-hearted statue and an amorous swallow to rid their city of poverty, and of their heavenly reward. Others include the tale of the unjust but repentant giant who discovers joy in loving others, the nightingale willing to die for love, and a pompous although very remarkable rocket, ready to display his talents and his ignorance. Full of splendid, joyous imagery - birds, flowers, fireworks and palaces - the stories are infused with an underlying wisdom and morality. Beguilingly haunting and original, these timeless tales - initially invented by Wilde for his own children - remain as popular today as when they were written over a hundred years ago.
Young's haunting pastels illustrate the classic story of a bird and a golden statue who give all to help the poor. Ages 6-8. (June) 0
- Jody Little
This collection of short stories by Oscar Wilde includes favorites such as "The Happy Prince," "The Selfish Giant," "The Devoted Friend," and "The Nightingale and the Rose." An introduction by author, Markus Zusak, challenges readers to find their favorite tale and defend their reasons for the selection. Wilde's stories are filled with common themes such as selfishness, love, betrayal, beauty, and truth. The contrast of selfishness and love is shown by the devoted friend, Hans, who is willing to do anything for the cruel and selfish Miller. The beautiful nightingale in "The Nightingale and the Rose" gives his life for the young student in order that the student may find love. The beautiful Star Child must turn ugly in order to see the cruelty of his ways. Students reading these stories will find other common threads and writing techniques in Wilde's work, like the use of personification of weather and seasons and animals that talk. This new edition includes an author's guide, a who's who, discussion questions and ideas for student projects. Reviewer: Jody Little
Born in Ireland in 1856, Oscar Wilde was a noted essayist, playwright, fairy tale writer and poet, as well as an early leader of the Aesthetic Movement. His plays include: An Ideal Husband, Salome, A Woman of No Importance, and Lady Windermere's Fan. Among his best known stories are The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Canterville Ghost.
Barbara Robinson has written several popular books for children, including My Brother Louis Measures Worms, The Best School Year Ever, The Best Halloween Ever, and the enormously popular bestselling novel The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, first published in 1972, which was made into a classic TV movie and on which this book was based. The play The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is produced annually in theaters, schools, and churches all over the world. Ms. Robinson has two daughters and three grandchildren.
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.