Oscar Wilde
OSCAR WILDE (1854-1900)
BIOGRAPHY
'I have nothing to declare but my genius' Wilde once told a customs official. But the popular image of Wilde as a man of effortless achievement and wit is far from the truth. Born in Dublin, Ireland the son of a nationalist poetess he studied at Trinity College, Dublin before going on to Magdalen College, Oxford. It was here that he allied himself with Aesthetisism - Art for Art's sake - and adopted his characteristic Aesthetic dress and haircut (based on a costume he wore to an undergraduate ball). Though well known as a socialite, Wilde recieved little recognition as an artist for many years until the play 'Lady Windermere's Fan' established his literary fame in 1892. But success was extremely short lived. On the opening night of his masterpiece 'The Importance of Being Earnest' in 1895 the Marquess of Queensberry, father of Lord Alfred Douglas with whom Wilde was having a relationship, began a public vendetta against him. An ill-advised attempt to sue for slander led to a conviction on a morals charge and time in Reading Jail. On his release, Wilde lived in self-imposed exile in France where he died in obscurity. Throughout his life, Wilde retained a deep affection towards children. His marriage in 1884 to Constance Lloyd produced two boys to whom Wilde was devoted and her decision to keep them from him following his conviction was devastating.
Wilde's short stories were writen at a time when he had begun to moderate his literary ambitions with financial needs. He therefore started to work in a number of popularist sub-genres - detective fiction, ghost stories, fairy tales - a market opened up by recently reduced printing costs and used to great effect by the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle. But Wilde, ever-contemptuous of writers who 'pandered to the masses', refused to produce straight genre-pieces. Though they conform to the character, plot and moral frameworks of the various sub-genres, their essense is often subverted, giving rise to witty, but often subtle and complex, parodies.
STORIES
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No Trespassing! - The tale of one giant and his garden.
- Length: 5 pages
- Age Rating: U
- Genre: Children
5 Stars
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Hughie Erskine is good-looking but penniless and needs ten thousand pounds to wed the love of his life. Then he drops in on a painter friend......
- Length: 6 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Fiction, Humor
5 Stars
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The story of a man's encounter with a painstakingly mysterious girlfriend.
- Length: 6 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Fiction
4 Stars
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A romantic nightingale comes to the aid of a lovesick student who has a single day to find a red rose.
- Length: 8 pages
- Age Rating: U
- Genre: Children
5 Stars
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A modern fairy tale about the selfless acts of a golden statue and a migrating swallow.
- Length: 10 pages
- Age Rating: U
- Genre: Children
5 Stars
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What exactly is friendship? A miller has very strong opinions on the subject in this witty tale narrated by a bird.
- Length: 12 pages
- Age Rating: U
- Genre: Children
5 Stars
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At the marriage of a handsome prince to a beautiful princess, a spectacular firework display is planned. This is the story of those fireworks - and one very important rocket in particular.
- Length: 13 pages
- Age Rating: U
- Genre: Children
4 Stars
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The story of young prince, brought up as a goatherd, who becomes king on the death of his father and develops a deep fascination with the beautiful objects his wealth affords him.
- Length: 15 pages
- Age Rating: U
- Genre: Children
4 Stars
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A spectacular party is thrown in honour of the Infanta of Spain's birthday; there are actors, jugglers, magicians - and a dancing dwarf. A heart-wrenching tale about inner and outer beauty.
- Length: 16 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Children
4 Stars
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Two woodcutters discover a baby where a shooting star falls - but the child it becomes is both beautiful and cruel.
- Length: 18 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Children
5 Stars
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When an American minister buys Canterville Chase, a long term resident's life (or death) is thrown into turmoil.
- Length: 25 pages
- Age Rating: U
- Genre: Children, Humor
4 Stars
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Who is the mysterious Mr. W. H. to whom Shakespere dedicated his sonnets? The validity of one bizarre theory hinges on a wonderful painting which may or may not be a fake.
- Length: 30 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Fiction
4 Stars
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A man is told by a palm reader that he will commit a murder. A satirical crime story that cleverly reverses the conventions of the genre.
- Length: 33 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Crime, Humor
5 Stars
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A fisherman accidently captures and falls in love with a mermaid but must make a sacrifice to be with her. A fairytale, reminiscent of The Little Mermaid, parodying usual divisions between body and soul.
- Length: 36 pages
- Age Rating: U
- Genre: Children
5 Stars