Complete Shorter Fiction (Oxford World's Classics)
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Complete Shorter Fiction (Oxford World's Classics)

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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  777 ratings  ·  44 reviews
For the first time in one volume, this complete collection of all the short fiction Oscar Wilde published contains such social and literary parodies as "Lord Arthur Savile's Crime" and "The Canterville Ghost;" such well-known fairy tales as "The Happy Prince," "The Young King," and "The Fisherman and his Soul;" an imaginary portrait of the dedicatee of Shakespeare's Sonnet...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 5th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Ben Loory
Mar 22, 2009 Ben Loory rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ben by: mo
i don't think i've ever used the word "exquisite" before, especially in relation to anyone's writing, but the writing in these stories really is exquisite. the stories themselves are flawlessly conceived and executed; every other line a perfect quotable paradox. my only complaint is that it all got a little claustrophobic after all. so perfect, so finely-wrought, so heartbreakingly sad, so clever... it was all just a little bit too just-so. there are no car chases, no fistfights, no people yelli...more
Bruce
In most of his fairy tales and short stories Oscar Wilde attempted a seriousness, even a sobriety, that did not quite jell with the sardonic, witty persona he was developing. My theory on the nature of Wilde's tragedy is that his persona gained inner reality, as opposed to being merely a veneer to amuse and increase sales of his books, while the serious values suffered atrophy.

The serious values are conveyed in a few of the fairy tales, particularly "The Happy Prince" and "The Rose and the Night...more
Furqan
Although, I prefer Wilde's plays over his stories, this is a splendid collection of Wilde's short fiction. The stories written for children are my most favourite ones. They all are brilliantly crafted and achingly sweet, ending on a rather melancholy note. As you would expect from children stories, they all contain some kind of moral lessons, most of them promoting Christian values of self-sacrifice, charity, love and friendship. Often I had my heart in my mouth whenever a beautiful phrase or sc...more
morbidflight
My first exposure to Wilde was a book of five short stories including "The Happy Prince", "The Birthday of the Infanta", "The Remarkable Rocket", the garden of the giant one with the heavy Jesus imagery, and "The Nightingale and the Rose". I'd read these fairly early in my life, and it was one of the enduring books of my childhood. After a brief disillusionment with teenage love (heh) I returned to "The Nightingale and the Rose" and clasped it to my heart, still in love with the idea of love and...more
Alexander Arsov
Oscar Wilde

Complete Short Fiction

Penguin Classics, Paperback, 2003.

8vo. xxxvi, 280 pp. Edited with an Introduction [x-xxxi] and Notes [pp. 259-280] by Ian Small.

First published thus, 1994.
Reprinted with minor revisions, 2003.

Contents

Chronology
Introduction
Further Reading
A Note on the Texts

The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888)
The Happy Prince
The Nightingale and the Rose
The Selfish Giant
The Devoted Friend
The Remarkable Rocket

The Portrait of Mr. W. H. (1889)

A House of Pomegranates (1891)
The Young...more
Sarah
Oh, lovely! I quite adore Oscar Wilde's pretty language, especially since I read The Picture of Dorian Gray (although I'd been badly disturbed by the content for some time, but I suppose that's the point).

What discomforted me in this particular book of short fiction is the repeated biblical references. I disagreed with many of those interpretations, but in time I also realised that this was the author's way of understanding God; and honestly I could be severely biased against any view that oppos...more
F.R.
I’ve always had a suspicion that Oscar Wilde is a prime example of style over substance. Yes the writing is arch and clever, the epigrams are well crafted and plentiful – but is there really anything else there? Is his fiction merely just an excuse for Oscar to show off his brilliant intelligence and keen wit? Is there much else going on behind that?

It’s something I raise knowing I’ll never reach a satisfactory answer, but this collection does contain examples for both the defence and the prose...more
Jack
Mark Twain once said 'A classic is something everybody wants to have read, but no one wants to read.' Were Oscar Wilde's works considered as classics in Twain's time, this quote would surely have ended: 'with one exception...'
From the opening fairy tales to the closing Poems in Prose, Wilde maintains an immense and ineffable blend of emotions, never allowing the reader to drown in the underlying melancholy or powerful social commentaries. Satire and humour are gracefully interwoven throughout e...more
Sandra
La aguda crítica social de Wilde nunca decepciona: es hilarante, mordaz y certera. Sus cuentos teóricamente infantiles, sin embargo, son más melancólicos y doctrinales. La verdad es que es difícil añadir algo original a todo lo dicho sobre la obra de Wilde, así que me lo voy a ahorrar.
Shima
This book includes a chronology, an interesting introduction and compiles: The Happy Prince and Other Tales; The Portrait of Mr. W. H.; A House of Pomegranates; Lord Arthur Savile's Crimes and Other Stories and Poems in Prose.

I believe that Oscar Wilde's writing is not only appealing in the linguistics sense, but also when it comes to content. Not only does he master the English language to create paragraph after paragraph of beautifully written descriptions and imagery, he is also intelligent i...more
Chloé
I adored this book, particularly the first few children's stories (especially the beautiful and sad images of birds sacrificing themselves for love). 'The Portrait of Mr. W.H.' was also one of my favourites, as it was fascinating, very convincing, and particularly relevant, as I'd recently been involved in a project on the sonnets and discussed theories with two prestigious Shakespeare fans: an actor and a producer. So this opened up a lot of new ideas for me.
I think just about anyone would wis...more
Kari
This was an enjoyable read but didn't wow me. The stories were hit and miss. I loved 'Lord Arthur Savile's Crime' which was such a clever idea of responsibility and duty taken to the extreme! This was the most memorable story in the book. Others seemed strange such as 'The Portrait of Mr. W. H.' which was more essay than story. Some of the tales had a strong moral Christian tone which did surprise me; I guess it's not something I expected from Wilde. They seemed to take their style from Grimm's...more
Jason
The striking thing about Oscar Wilde's fairy tales is that they are timeless, universal, and yet completely original. In contrast, his other stories perfectly capture a particular segment of English society at a particular point in time as observed by Oscar Wilde. I don't remember reading the prose poems before, they might not have been in the collection I had previously read, but they are also outstanding. Overall, a perfect delight to read from beginning to end.
Jennifer
I was 12-years-old when I first read The Birthday of the Infanta. I was sitting on a big sofa in the living room, still in my school's clothes. The idea that someone (or something) so beautiful could possibly be so evil was entirely new to my youth. But what I shall remember forever is the moment when the Dwarf enters the mirror's room and acknowledges the fact that what he praised above everything else, beauty, was the one thing he did not possess.
claire
though oscar wilde may be known for his plays, this collection is certain proof that he can also write a mean short story. this book had everything i loved about the importance of being earnest and other plays; light, satirical humour and a quite often chilling display of insight. i'd thought i'd read enough short stories for the forseeable future, but i'm definitely glad i changed my mind.
Rebecca
I was surprised at the Christian imagery and sentiment found within this collection of Wilde's work. That being said the way Wilde rendered his stories and their motiffs of Christianity was superb and focused on the gentle aspects of the religion and Christ. The stories are original and well written, Wilde's use of language is excellent; not too grandiose but still eloquent. Worth reading.
Abdullah Adib
I'm a fan of Oscar Wilde and to read this book is to have a better understanding of this man. In some of the stories he went on with his obsession in the upper classes, yet in some he showed great wisdom and great faith. You will find a nice blend of that wisdom, cynicism, irony, and humour. I highly recommend it.
Elizabeth Tangora
Oct 11, 2008 Elizabeth Tangora rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Oscar Wilde who want to see another side of his writing.
Not even close to what I was expecting, but still oddly fascinating. Some of the stories are incredibly imaginative, others are weirdly intense in their Christianity, some are both, and almost all the stories are occupied with a complex yet absolute morality that's punished as often as it's rewarded.
Juli
Oscar Wilde's wit and humor is just as delightful in contemporary times as it was in his day and age. Many of his stories are beautiful and thought-provoking. An excellent addition to any collection and a great place to start if you've never read any of Wilde's work before.
Pia
some stories definitely deserved 5 stars, others 3 or less as they got a bit too preachy at times. I'd probably give this a 3.5 if I could but I'll just round up. Definitely worth reading The Canterville Ghost, Lord Arthur Saville's Crime, and The Happy Prince though.
Anwen Hayward
There is a rumour that, when asked to list his 100 favourite books, Oscar Wilde replied with 'I cannot. I have only written five.' It is for a similar reason that I can't list my 100 favourite short stories; this book does not contain that many.
amber
It pleases me that most of these are stories that Wilde told his sons aloud for years before his ever patient and ill-treated wife made him write them down, they also border on Irish folktales which makes me happy.
Becky
I picked this up because I wanted to read "The Canterville Ghost." I enjoyed the entire collection; it is witty, engaging, and lovely- quite an amazing collection! "Lord Arthur Savile's Crime" is my favorite.
Frankie Reeves
It goes without saying that this was simply remarkable. Wilde uses words like sharp, witty weapons and luxurious poetry in equal measure, and it's always a pleasure to read his work <3
Eugene
Jun 15, 2008 Eugene rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who once were children
Holy MAN, I loved reading these short stories. His genius and whimsy forms really sweet stories that are gem in the fog.
Scott
I've read about half the stories so far. Oscar Wilde had a wild way with word. It's a shame he only published the one novel.
Charles
Really excellent, fun stories. I really enjoy Wilde's writing style, although I could never write that way myself.
Krista
It takes awhile to get into his style of writing when he's in fairy tale mode. But it's all good :)
Kate
A nice read, but I prefer the tail-end of the book rather than the childrens fiction at the start
Cleo
I've read Wilde's fairy tales, but not his other short works. Looking forward to it!
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Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being E...more
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The Picture of Dorian Gray The Importance of Being Earnest The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays   An Ideal Husband The Canterville Ghost

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“But I loved Narcissus because as he lay on my banks and looked down at me, in the mirror of his eyes I saw ever my own beauty mirrored.” 4 likes
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