The Canterville Ghost
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
read book* *Different edition

The Canterville Ghost

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  13,995 ratings  ·  589 reviews
This is Oscar Wilde's tale of the American family moved into a British mansion, Canterville Chase, much to the annoyance its tired ghost. The family -- which refuses to believe in him -- is in Wilde's way a commentary on the British nobility of the day -- and on the Americans, too. The tale, like many of Wilde's, is rich with allusion, but ends as sentimental romance. . .
Hardcover, 126 pages
Published 1997 by Walker Books (first published 1887)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
Best Books of the 19th Century
124th out of 562 books — 2,773 voters
The Shining by Stephen KingThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley JacksonA Christmas Carol by Charles DickensGhost Story by Peter StraubHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Ghost Stories
18th out of 618 books — 896 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
The original Wilde Thing does it again... does one not love on Oscar Wilde when he's throwing down the this case, and in proper British fashion, against cocky, adolescent-cultured Americans and their starched-lip, tradition-trapped English cousins?

A bounty of clever from start to finish, Wilde's tale is charming, engaging and pitch-perfect.

For a story less than 30 pages long, Wilde accomplishes so much, using scalpel-like precision in both his language and his plotti...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Americans are brash, tacky, shallow, pompous, and they really, really like to talk about products and shop for products and use products. Odd theme for a scary tale, right? Well, it so happens that it fits quite nicely in the ghost story format. And this is not the only time this has happened.

You may not realize it, but I assure you that you already know the general plot and tone of this story: Biiiiiig city Americans (New Yorkers, in fact) move into a somewhat worn-down but charming estate in t...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Oct 18, 2010 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: fans of humorous supernatural fiction
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) by: Colleen McGlashen
Now that was a good ghost story. It was refreshing. I loved the humor, but there was also pathos. I kind of liked the old crusty Canterville ghost, even though he was kind of evil. I loved how the Otis children turned the tables on him. And how Virginia felt sad for Sir Simon, and helped him to get closure.

This is the second story I've read by Oscar Wilde, and I must say, I am very impressed with his writing. His work has a depth, but an airy lightness to it, and a hard to define beauty to it....more
For 300 years Sir Simon has successfully haunted and spooked everyone and anyone residing in his ancestral home, Canterville Chase, then the Otis family from America comes along and suddenly scaring isn’t coming so easily for Simon anymore.

I was in love with this story in the 7th grade and I had read and reread it a zillion times during junior high and high school. I had recently purchased a copy of the book as it has been many, many years since I have visited Canterville Chase. Last night was s...more
Milica Chotra
This short story about a haunted old mansion in the English countryside is not your typical ghost tale. The reason I picked it as one of my Halloween stories is the mention it gets in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House: (view spoiler)...more
 ~☆ Alice☆~
I give this book 5 stars because it is so funny! I didn't expect it to be so amusing. What a great sense of humor Oscar Wilde has. I will have to look for some more books by him. This book wasn't dry and he didn't require a thousand pages to tell the story......also good.
In Canterville Chase there is a misunderstood, unsuccessful ghost, who used to be very successful, until an American family, Otis, moved in. The Americans are portrayed in a peculiar manner. They have a fancy for materialim and American super products, and know nothing about the English etiquette. Wilde emphasized differences in culture by creating special characters and then pitting the "unsophisticated tastes" of the patriotic Americans - patriotic as their children are named Washington and Vi...more

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde was published in 1887.

I really found this story a wonderful and entertaining read which contrasts American and British people and culture. The story is told from the viewpoint of Sir Simon, the ghost. This is a really short story and I found it humorous and yet enjoyed the stereotypical characters that represent both England and the United States. Wilde takes an American family, places them in a British setting, then, through a series of mishaps, pits one cul...more
Normally, I find this kind of classic hard to read. This less so than most & there was a good deal of humor to it. It's obviously a classic & has been made into a bunch of movies, most worth watching.
Yani. S
Adoro este cuento de Wilde (sí, a él también). El toque ácido de humor que sabe agregarle a las historias menos oscuras son geniales, como en La importancia de ser Ernesto , porque no pierden su función crítica.

No sé si contar de qué se trata porque a los clásicos como estos el argumento los precede pero, si de casualidad el posible lector de esta pequeña y nada objetiva reseña no lo sabe, allá voy. Una familia de norteamericanos se muda a un castillo en Inglaterra en donde habita un fantasma q...more
This was something! A ghost story which makes you laugh is definitely worth a five-star treatment.

Here Oscar Wilde gives you a ghost who is used to people running scared of him. When family of an American minister moved in the Canteville house the ghost is ready to scare the hell out of them. But things just didn't pan out the way he would have liked them to be.

The Minister, his wife, 3 sons(a pair of twins) and a sweet girl have not believed in ghosts their whole life and they are not going to...more
THE CANTERVILLE GHOST was Oscar Wilde's first published story in 1887. Wilde cleverly places an American family with commercial and practical notions in an English Country House anchored with Gothic lore and traditions. He turns the macabre into humor by turning the tables on the haunting of Canterville Chase.

Mr. and Mrs. Otis have bought the centuries old home from Lord Canterville himself. He felt it his duty to mention the fact that the house was haunted. Mr. Otis replies, "My Lord, I will ta...more
Nov 04, 2013 Stela rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everyone with a sense of humour
When a three-century-old ghost meets some witty American kids – you have “Home Alone” all over again. When England meets America – you feel like re-reading “Le bourgeois gentillhomme”. In a word, when gothic meets savvy – eerie becomes comedy.
And this brilliant short story is just this: a tender polemic about cultural differences (English haunted-house mythology versus American down-to-earth vision of life) and a gentle parody of some celebrated Romantic themes and motives: the haunted spirit, t...more
I really should read more of Oscar Wilde. This really delightful novella, which takes place at the estimable Canterville Chase, recounts the tale of what happens when a practical-minded American family buys a ghost-infested British estate. While gently satirizing both American and British customs (perhaps the Americans a bit more), Wilde provides a very sweet, yes sweet, ghost story, with humor, attempts at minor horror, and shows of love and devotion.

Highly recommended.
a delightful little novella about a very British ghost having to deal with a no-nonsense, practical American family.

When Mr. Hiram B. Otis buys an English manor, he is warned by the previous owner that, together with the furniture and the extensive grounds, he has acquired the family ghost that has been haunting the place since the 16th century.

What follows is a very funny duel between the ancient spirit, forever boasting of previous horrible feats and macabre costumes, and the casual reaction o...more
David Ceballos Correa
Una entretenida comedia satírica de cuentos de horror y del establishment norteamericano e inglés. En resumen, es la polirepetida historia de la casa embrujada y de su fantasmal regente, quien ostenta la para nada despreciable suma de trescientos años de horror y espanto, en desmedro de la aterrorizada familia Canterville. No obstante, los tiempos cambian o, más bien, la percepción que se tiene de los tiempos da unas cuantas volteretas cada cierto tanto para caer de pies o de cabeza sobre los pa...more
Review from Badelynge
No tour through the literary landscape of The Ghost Story would be complete without Oscar Wilde's clever little tale The Canterville Ghost. He turns the whole concept on its head with the ancient titular ghost, who has spent several centuries not paying for the sins of his life by blithely terrifying the old house's residents and visitors to death and insanity, being driven to his own wits end by the American family who bring their own blithe modernity to bear in dealing wit...more
Why, yes, Mr. Wilde - you did just charm the pants off of me, thank you for asking!

This little story is about the Otis family, Americans who move from the bustle of New York to live at Canterville Chase, an old country house in England. They're warned from the beginning that the house is haunted, but you know those New York types, all hard and skeptical and full of vim and vinegar. The family encounters the ghost pretty early on, and quite hilariously try different ways of dealing with him, almo...more
I should have guessed that any story as clever as "The Canterville Ghost" had to come from Oscar Wilde ... but I had no idea that the play with which I was so familiar was an adaptation. (I should probably turn in my "I <3 Oscar Wilde" club membership for this gap in my education.)

The premise is that an American family buys a house that is known to be haunted and, with the exception of the kindhearted teenaged daughter Virginia, proceeds to make the ghost's existence a misery. Sir Simon de Ca...more
Marts  (Thinker)
This was a wonderful ghost tale by Wilde its tells of Sir Simon, The Canterville Ghost, who has haunted Canterville Chase for 300 years. Well the Otis family from America end up purchasing the house and Sir
Simon realises that he just can't seem to 'scare' them like he has done to all the former occupants. After more or less giving up and just accepting his doom, he is finally 'befriended' by the daughter Virginia. A series of events occur, and he is eventually and maybe I should say finally lai...more
Jan 09, 2013 Book'd rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Just read it. A little over 100 pages and is sure worth your time.
Recommended to Book'd by: Other Wilde Books!
Amazing! I read the audio-book while working on one of my daily reports. And it is a fairly enjoyable quick light read with just 3 discs of half hour each to finish.

A story none other than Wilde could write with a slight pinch of humor and subtle touch of emotions.

I liked the Ghost of Mr. Canterville. And Little Virginia is just so adorable.
Well, did she really ask a ghost if he was hungry?

The Review is still to follow!
Julie Davis
I picked up this CraftLit premium content audio version for $3 which pays for Heather Ordover's commentary interspersed with the LibriVox audio.

SO worth the few dollars it cost. One can really appreciate Oscar Wilde's genius with words and story telling in audio form. One appreciates Wilde even more with Heather's guidance. Simply superb.
Can anyone tell me why this book is so famous? Pfff... :P
May 30, 2012 Ania rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: children (if you skip the wife murderin' part)
This book was somewhere between 2 and 3 stars for me. I liked it but not enough to commit to a 3. It was an entertaining read but it simply lacked any depth. In a way it's quite different from An Ideal Husband which I read recently. Although both stories carry the lightness and total lack of seriousness, The Canterville Ghost was much more bearable and toned down on Wilde's famous witticisms which were so annoying in An Ideal Husband. Still the play had dialogue that came positively alive while...more
The Flooze
Countless years ago, I watched a TV movie of The Canterville Ghost. My only strong memories of that are Alyssa Milano's sharpish smile and a ghost who was less frightening than he was pitiable.

Move forward to a few months ago and a signing/discussion with the estimable Stephen Fry (my taste in celebrities has improved). Mr. Fry spoke at length of his life-long adoration for Oscar Wilde: his humor; his deft use of language; his ability to affect and engage his audience. When seeking my next read...more
Debería darme vergüenza no haberlo leído antes, pero nunca cayó en mis manos, y... pues eso. Ahora con el kindle, todo es tan fácil...

Me encanta la humanización que Wilde quiere hacer del fantasma, aportándole sentimientos que un fantasma "supuestamente" no debería tener, o al menos, no deberían tener la importancia que el personaje del fantasma les da. A sensu contrario, está genial la satirización de la que está dotada la familia que se instala en la casa de Canterville, y su "relación con el...more
Felisberto Barros
Um livro simples e bom.

Este livro é uma surpresa. Ao escolhê-lo, verifiquei que não correndia ao tipo de obra com que mais me identifico. Porém, decidi arriscar na sua leitura, muito devido ao seu autor, admito.

É uma história simples e trágica, com alguns apontamentos satíricos, mas também bonita. No entanto, enquanto tragédia não é uma história distinta entre tantas outras, consegue ter o seu pequeno encanto. Uma história com momentos de suspense, mas nada prolongados. Descrições curtas e obje...more
Mairéad (stuck at the Edge of Nothingness)
***Read for my Classics Challenge***

2.5 stars.

A charming, hilarious ghost tale. While I did enjoy Dorian Gray, I felt as if from this one to that one, he really improved. However this tale was really something in regards to Otis and the interesting cast of characters featured here. Quick read for some chuckles.
John Miller
A funny story of an American family who buy a mansion haunted by a ghost, who can't seem to rattle them. He is hunting for forgiveness for a crime he committed. Will he get it?
This is a funny story about an English ghost and an American family that torments him. It was light and easy to read and it was very entertaining. It’s a must read if you’ve never read a story by Oscar Wilde.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Happy Prince
  • Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
  • In a Glass Darkly
  • The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson
  • Leyendas
  • The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories
  • The Queen of Spades
  • The Jolly Corner
  • Cuentos de la selva
  • Cuentos Por Telefono
  • The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily
  • Tales Of Unease
  • Exemplary Stories (Oxford World's Classics)
  • The Body Snatcher
  • Вий
  • Armadale
  • Spalovač mrtvol
  • The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories
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
More about Oscar Wilde...
The Picture of Dorian Gray The Importance of Being Earnest The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays   An Ideal Husband Complete Works of Oscar Wilde

Share This Book

“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” 3625 likes
“Yes, death. Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace. You can help me. You can open for me the portals of death's house, for love is always with you, and love is stronger than death is.” 665 likes
More quotes…