Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde
The Happy Prince

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Arguably the most famous and beloved of Oscar Wilde’s nine fairy tales, this particular rendition stands apart from the others due to its brilliant illustrations by a master of comic art. After dying young, the Happy Prince’s soul inhabits a beautiful ruby-encrusted statue covered in gold leaf which is perched high above the city. But when he sees the poverty, misery and desperateness of his people, he enlists the help of a barn swallow to remove the gilding of his statue and shower the riches on his people. In the spring, the townspeople are saved, but find only a stripped down and dull statue alongside a dead swallow. The remains are tossed into an ash heap, but an emissary of God recognizes their sacrifice, and escorts them into the gardens of Heaven. Perfect for middle school students as an introduction to the world-famous author, the dazzling illustrations in this book suit the timeless writings of Wilde.


About Oscar Wilde

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Flamboyant man-about-town, Oscar Wilde had a reputation that preceded him, especially in his early career. He was born to a middle-class Irish family (his father was a surgeon) and was trained as a scholarship boy at Trinity College, Dublin. He subsequently won a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was heavily influenced by John Ruskin and Walter Pater, whose aestheticism was taken to its radical extreme in Wilde's work. By 1879 he was already known as a wit and a dandy; soon after, in fact, he was satirized in Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience. Largely on the strength of his public persona, Wilde undertook a lecture tour to the United States in 1882, where he saw his play Vera open---unsuccessfully---in New York. His first published volume, Poems, which met with some degree of approbation, appeared at this time. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, the daughter of an Irish lawyer, and within two years they had two sons. During this period he wrote, among others, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), his only novel, which scandalized many readers and was widely denounced as immoral. Wilde simultaneously dismissed and encouraged such criticism with his statement in the preface, "There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all." In 1891 Wilde published A House of Pomegranates, a collection of fantasy tales, and in 1892 gained commercial and critical success with his play, Lady Windermere's Fan He followed this comedy with A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and his most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). During this period he also wrote Salome, in French, but was unable to obtain a license for it in England. Performed in Paris in 1896, the play was translated and published in England in 1894 by Lord Alfred Douglas and was illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley. Lord Alfred was the son of the Marquess of Queensbury, who objected to his son's spending so much time with Wilde because of Wilde's flamboyant behavior and homosexual relationships. In 1895, after being publicly insulted by the marquess, Wilde brought an unsuccessful slander suit against the peer. The result of his inability to prove slander was his own trial on charges of sodomy, of which he was found guilty and sentenced to two years of hard labor. During his time in prison, he wrote a scathing rebuke to Lord Alfred, published in 1905 as De Profundis. In it he argues that his conduct was a result of his standing "in symbolic relations to the art and culture" of his time. After his release, Wilde left England for Paris, where he wrote what may be his most famous poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), drawn from his prison experiences. Among his other notable writing is The Soul of Man under Socialism (1891), which argues for individualism and freedom of artistic expression. There has been a revived interest in Wilde's work; among the best recent volumes are Richard Ellmann's, Oscar Wilde and Regenia Gagnier's Idylls of the Marketplace , two works that vary widely in their critical assumptions and approach to Wilde but that offer rich insights into his complex character.
Published April 30, 2012 by NBM Publishing. 32 pages
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde

Publishers Weekly

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While best known for The Picture of Dorian Gray and his plays, like The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde also penned popular fairy tales, which the Eisner Award–winning Russell has adapted into grap

Jun 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: T...

BC Books

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Russell’s elegant line work and eye for detail would be suited for the plates in a 19th century picture book, though his comic book artist’s facility with movement adds an element that make the images more contemporary.

Aug 11 2012 | Read Full Review of Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: T...

BC Books

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Russell also captures both the satiric and whimsical aspects of the tale—the pontificating villagers’ reactions to both the bejeweled statue and its plainer version, the migrating swallow’s unrequited courtship of a river reed and unfulfilled dreams of flying down to Africa—and if the story has a...

Aug 11 2012 | Read Full Review of Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: T...

Seattle PI

Craig Russell's hardbound adaptations of Oscar Wilde's fairy stories, The Happy Prince (NBM), is a visual delight, capturing the writer's blend of wit and sentimentality with Russell's usual fine-lined grace.

Aug 11 2012 | Read Full Review of Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: T...

Portland Book Review

This book is a rich take on Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale, “The Happy Prince.” The story tells of a little swallow that, on its way to Egypt, meets the statue of the Happy Prince.

Sep 07 2012 | Read Full Review of Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: T...

Project MUSE

Killeen observes that Wilde's two volumes of fairy tales, The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888) and A House of Pomegranates (1891), have been marginal to his canon in part because they do not fit into the usual view of Wilde as "a subversive writer" and in part "because children's literature .

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Looking at each panel (no repeats in this book), Russell persistently portrays the Happy Prince in a stationary situation, easily explaining the necessity of the devoted little swallow's assistance.

Jul 07 2012 | Read Full Review of Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: T...

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