Collected Works of Oscar Wilde: The Plays, the Poems, the Stories and the Essays Including De Profundis

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Wordsworth Editions, 1997 - Drama - 1098 pages

Wilde's works are suffused with his aestheticism, brilliant craftsmanship, legendary wit and, ultimately, his tragic muse. He wrote tender fairy stories for children employing all his grace, artistry and wit, of which the best-known is The Happy Prince. Counterpoints to this were his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, which shocked and outraged many readers of his day, and his stories for adults which exhibited his fascination with the relations between serene art and decadent life. Wilde took London by storm with his plays, particularly his masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest.

His essays - in particular De Profundis- and his Ballad of Reading Gaol, both written after his release from prison, strikingly break the bounds of his usual expressive range. His other essays and poems are all included in this comprehensive collection of the works of one of the most exciting writers of the late nineteenth century.

 

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User Review  - RhydTybyans - LibraryThing

My mother used to read me Oscar Wilde's fairytales when I was a child. "The Selfish Giant", "The Rose and the Nightingale", "The Happy Prince", and so on. I was greatly moved by the stories and they ... Read full review

Contents

The Picture of Dorian Gray i
111
Salome
717
Poems
769
The Sphinx
882
The Ballad of Reading Gaol 89 1
891
Ravenna
910
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

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.

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