Oscar Wilde's Stories for All Ages by Oscar Wilde

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One of the world’s best loved presenters meets one of the world’s greatest authors in this beautiful selection of timeless, haunting stories. Vividly brought to life through abundant illustrations and Stephen’s masterly introductions, Oscar Wilde’s short stories are here made accessible to an entirely new generation.

Whether you know it or not, the stories in this book are familiar. Like old friends whose charm and warmth never fade, Oscar Wilde's short stories have enchanted generations of readers, and this beautiful book makes them accessible to an entirely new readership.

Selected and presented by one of Wilde's biggest fans, the book includes a foreword from Stephen Fry, who will also supply short introductions to the stories themselves, explaining why they mean so much to him and why they should mean a lot to you too.

Meet the selfish giant, whose garden was cloaked in perpetual winter until he allowed the children to enter and play, the happy prince whose statue stood overlooking his city, who gave the rubies and sapphires embedded in his eyes and clothing to feed the poor, and the tiny swallow who helped him. And let's not forget the remarkable rocket who was so convinced that he would be the brightest, most remarkable rocket of all, yet who ended up in a ditch. There's also the Canterville ghost, so inept at being scary that every attempt to spook his American visitors results in failure.

Stephen Fry has always been passionate about Oscar Wilde's writing but he has a particular fondness for his short stories. In this beautifully illustrated book he shares with us what each story means to him and what he feels the reader can take away with them, whether they're five or fifty years old. As well as a general introduction, Stephen offers introductions to the stories themselves, taking the reader through his selection. Illustrated by Nicole Stewart, stunning artwork accompanies each story to give shape to the reader's imagination.

Whether you are buying this for yourself, for your wife, your son or daughter, for your nephew, your niece, your mother, your brother or your sister, the book will be a gift that you or they will cherish forever and return to time and time again. These are stories for adults and children of all ages, for all time.


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 October 15, 2009 by HarperCollins. 293 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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