Oscar Wilde – The Complete Short Stories | A Charming Classic!


Title: The Complete Short Stories

Series: Oxford World’s Classics Series

Author: Oscar Wilde

Author’s Country of Birth: Ireland

Genre: Drama/Fantasy

Page Numbers: 288 pages

Publish Year: 2010

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

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How to Describe The Overall Book?

If there are just two words I would have to pick, describing Oscar Wilde’s work, it would be this: modern fairytales.  At every page I turned while reading his short stories, it seemed as if the man himself was weaving out tales to me by the fireplace from everyday life in the late 1880’s.  Ranging from 18th century English men and Spanish princesses to giants and talking statues, Wilde’s writings were beautifully and carefully phrased.

Just one sentence alone was enough to paint a night sky out while I continued reading, and in my mind, I saw Wilde’s vision when he was working on the drafts.  Not only was his use of language was important in setting the mood, it enabled the plot progression to flow smoothly from one point to another.  Every twist of events, every inch of tragedy, and every ounce of happiness was impeccable and flawless.

Even the introduction of his characters were spectacularly done as he was quick to set their personality or physical features in writing.  The way he was able to pin those significant physical traits down in such a short time was crucial in visualizing the given main character’s look.  Such words were carefully chosen to show the reader how special this protagonist is to the story’s plot, because unlike the supporting cast, Oscar Wilde placed an emphasis on describing the main character’s unique characteristics to make him stand out from the background and the rest of his peers.  It was simple but also very efficient and effective.


What Is It About?

Starting off with “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime”, the book introduces us to a party event of high social class status and a cheiromantist (palm reader).  We then meet the protagonist, Lord Arthur Savile, who gets his palm read by the cheiromantist, Mr. Podgers.  When Mr. Podgers tells Lord Arthur about his future, the young man then goes out to carry out his dark foretold prophecy.

Following up is “The Sphinx Without a Secret” where Lord Murchison is telling his friend, the narrator, about a mysterious woman he had fallen madly in love with over the past summer.  Then, there is “The Canterville Ghost”, which is about an American family moving into the haunted Canterville Chase home and dealing with a costume-donning ghost from the Canterville family line.  After that, it is “The Model Millionaire”, featuring a broke young man who decides to give a beggar his pocket change.  Other short stories in the book collection also include “The Happy Prince”, “The Nightingale and the Rose”, “The Selfish Giant”,”The Fisherman and His Soul”, “The Star-Child”, and various completed works such as poems in prose.

What’s My Favorite Part?

My favorite story from the overall collection has to be and will always be “The Fisherman and His Soul”, because not only did it feature mermaids, it also reminded me of Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid” but at the same time, remained original.  The story was beautiful in every way and so persuasive that I had to convince myself that the tale couldn’t possibly be based on real life events!  It made me feel the heart-wrenching pain and warm happiness that the fisherman faced, and I could not help but show sympathy for him again and again.

What’s My Least Favorite Part?

Other than that, while Wilde did entertain me greatly with his original stories, I could not bring myself to like “The Remarkable Rocket”, because the rocket character kept talking so much!  But I had to agree with what Wilde was doing with the character because the rocket was supposed to be extremely proud and self-centered, after all, who outright said he liked hearing himself talk.  It did drive me really mad though.

And So…

Despite that, it just demonstrated the fact that Oscar Wilde was able to persuade you to like or dislike a character based on how he wrote out their personality, such as conversational  dialogues or physical traits.  Through the use of language and storytelling techniques, the author was skilled and successful in delivering the desired result: making his tales believable.  Overall, I can see why Oscar Wilde’s works remain as a part of English classic literature and will always stay so for many more centuries.

If you are familiar with Oscar Wilde’s work, feel free to comment below with your favorite short story or novel written by him or if you enjoyed reading this post, like it!  Thank you for taking the time and consideration upon reading this book review.  Have a wonderful day, readers!