Book: Oscar Wilde Complete Short Fiction

The first I heard of Oscar Wilde was through the Picture of Dorian Gray. It was a novel I read when I was much younger and I remember falling in love with the main character and being so heartbroken by the end of it. I had also found out after reading more about Oscar Wilde that he was homosexual so imagine my surprise when I started reading his short fiction to find that many of this stories have a distinctive Christian slant.

The first part of the collection – The Happy prince and Other Tales are stories about love and sacrifice. They are painfully sweet (bittersweet) and brought tears to my eyes as I read them. The second story was A Portrait of Mr. W.H. which was about the mystery surrounding a Mr. W.H. whom Shakespeare dedicated his sonnets to. The third part contained stories that were darker in nature, but retained their moralistic slant. These were titled under “A House of Pomegranates”. These 4 stories struck a chord with me, they were provoking and critical and very powerful to read. The fourth part was Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories, these were much more ambiguous in nature, some were funny and sweet, but there was blurring of lines between good and bad. Everything had become a shade of gray. The last section was a collection of his poems in prose. These had very obvious Christian overtones, but to be honest, I don’t really appreciate them as much as the other stories.

This collection strikes me as a very interesting view of Oscar Wilde’s life. It has given me a glimpse of his imagination and his ability and I truly lament about the fact that his writing career was cut-short. At this point of time I feel like I should reread The Picture of Dorian Gray, just to see how knowing more about an author affects the reading of their work. It’d be an interesting experiment won’t it?

2 Responses to “Book: Oscar Wilde Complete Short Fiction”
  1. Genki Jason says:

    I read the The Picture of Dorian Gray nearly ten years ago and I thought it was good. The concept is great and the descriptions of certain scenes remain in my mind. Perhaps all of the decadent behaviour that Wilde hints at in the story are things that he experienced.

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