Review: Children’s stories by Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde’s short fiction possesses some of the most poignant short stories ever written, which deeply reflect on the author’s personal beliefs and his views on society.  Each story expresses his cynical questioning of morality, virtue, and human nature.

The Happy Prince and Other Stories is a collection of five stories for children.  The Happy PrinceThe Nightingale and the Rose, and The Devoted Friend deal with the issues of sacrifice without reward, human misery, and injustice.  Wilde strips away any false veil of optimism and portrays human fallacy, sin, and hypocrisy against the virtuous and noble actions of the protagonists.  The Selfish Giant is a tale of redemption and renewal, while The Remarkable Rocket examines different human characters personified as firecrackers and rockets.

A House of Pomegranates contains four stories, of which The Young King is the climax.  The visual and spiritual path through which a young king discovers the truth and uncovers the secret of perfection by recognizing the value of human life is described with vivid detail and passion.  The Fisherman and His Souldirectly questions the idea of immortality and the worth of a human soul, but The Birthday of the Infanta and The Star-Child scoff at narcissism and dispute true beauty.

These stories are available at local bookstores and online.  The best editions are included in a collection of all Wilde’s short fiction, entitled Complete Short Fiction.

Original review: Poignant and scintillating short stories,


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