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review 2020-05-24 14:37
The Canterville Ghost
The Canterville Ghost - Oscar Wilde,Inga Moore

by Oscar Wilde

 

This is one of those Classic stories I've meant to read for years and have finally got to it. Oscar Wilde comes from an era when characters were written bigger than life, even when they are dead. Many clichés of ghost story writing, like blood stains that reappear after being cleaned up, are to be found in this one, but the reader should remember that Wilde probably wrote them first! His sometimes humorous take on ghostly activity set the tone for many stories that came after.

 

My only complaint would be that sometimes the ghost had too much physicality. The antics of the children who chose to torment him instead of fearing him might have had greater limitations if he couldn't slip on floors or have his dignity damaged by projectiles.

 

Later in the story, humour gives way to a poignant encounter with the little girl in the family who feels sorry for the ghost and his plight. The gamut of emotions that are woven through the tale make me want to read more of Oscar Wilde to discover his full potential as a writer.

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review 2020-02-17 13:53
Doran Gray’s Instagram of Horror
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

I truly love the idea of this novel for being so simple and so complicated at the same time. The downfall of the young aristocrat Dorian Gray ultimately shows that the combination of good looks, infinite money and bad friends can be fatal.

Does anyone remember the (really not so good) movie Hollow Man and how Kevin Bacons character states how you wouldn’t believe what you are capable of doing when you no longer have to look at yourself in the mirror? The same principle can be found in The Picture of Dorian Gray, it only differs in the design. It is easy to understand how everlasting youth (and apparently good health) can be tempting and corrupting, hence it is easy to understand how Dorian Gray starts out on his hedonistic journey. He is young, rich and good looking, the world is at his feet and thanks to the bad influence of Lord Henry and his endless supply of cynical one-liners, the protagonist gets self-absorbed and reckless. He lives only for his own vanity and in search of pleasures which turn out to be unfulfilling and he is left wanting more and more.

Due to the fact that he never bears any visible consequences of his actions, Gray stays irresponsible and defiant like a teenager. He goes on blaming everyone else for his own actions, suppresses his own guilt as well as his misbehaviour and he is easily angered when hearing the truth about himself.  When James Vane forces him to face his past, Dorians panic, denial, paranoia and his inability to do anything but run away and hide show how irresponsible he truly is.

The story is great, the novel’s characters are great (although somewhat flat considering that the plot spans over a time period of twenty years). This novel about vanity, self-absorption, temptation and hedonism should be a reminder (especially) for the Instagram generation that looks are deceiving. Whenever I read one of the „classics“, I am astonished how much universal truth lies in them, because they still relate to modern life, in the case of The Picture of Dorian Gray, it might relate even more to our current day and age than it did in the last century.

The one really weird thing of the whole novel was that no one ever questioned how an almost 40 year old man still looks exactly like a 21 year old lad. Seriously, no one??

…that and chapter 11.

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review 2019-09-01 12:15
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
The Canterville Ghost - Oscar Wilde,Inga Moore

This short-story by Oscar Wilde was charming and not in the least bit scary. I will say, however, that it’s amongst one of my least favourite works of his. The ending made me smile, though, and elevated it for me.

 

It’s likely that most people have read this or heard a lot about it, so I won’t go into too much detail. The story revolves around a family who buy a house that’s in possession of a ghost. The story opens up with the family examining a blood stain on the carpet in one of the rooms that’s been there for years and refuses to give in to cleaning. A member of the family cleans it up and so begins what I believed to be a sinister tale about a vengeful ghost. However, I was very wrong. This story if full of levity and humour and of course Wilde’s trademark observation.

 

It’s hard to thoroughly connect with a short story as it is, by definition, short. I thought this one was longer than it was and was surprised to find I was nearly finished having only read for a brief time.

 

The story wasn’t so much about a ghost, but more the seriousness with which we understand life. Wilde loved to poke fun and he does it here again, but at humanity in general, rather than the Victorian middle classes. In this regard it shined in its objective.

 

I read this for this square:  

 

 

 

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review 2019-01-28 04:36
The Complete Short Stories by Oscar Wilde
The Complete Short Stories (Oxford World's Classics) - Oscar Wilde

DESCRIPTION:

"Oscar Wilde was already famous as a brilliant wit and raconteur when he first began to publish his short stories in the late 1880s. Admired by George Orwell and W. B. Yeats, the stories include poignant fairy-tales such as "The Happy Prince" and "The Selfish Giant," the extravagant comedy of "Lord Arthur Savile's Crime" and "The Canterville Ghost," and the daring narrative experiments of "The Portrait of Mr. W. H.," Wilde's fictional investigation into the identity of the dedicatee of Shakespeare's sonnets. John Sloan's Introduction argues for Wilde's originality and literary achievement as a short-story writer, emphasizing his literary skill and sophistication, and arguing for the centrality of Wilde's shorter fiction in his literary career. The collection includes a useful and up-to-date bibliography and extensive and helpful explanatory notes, and an Appendix reprints an important passage from the book-length version of "The Portrait of Mr. W. H." on the Neo-Platonic ideal of friendship between men, an important key to the short story's meaning."

 

______________________________

REVIEW:

 

Mixed bag.  Some of the stories were cute or entertaining, others were a miss for me.

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review 2018-12-23 22:01
24 Festive Tasks: My Final Books (Doors 16, 17 and 19 -- Human Rights Day, St. Lucia's Day, and Festivus)
A Christmas Guest - Anne Perry,Terrence Hardiman
Skandinavische Weihnachten: Die schönsten Geschichten von Sven Nordqvist, Hans Christian Andersen, Selma Lagerlöf u.a. - Hans Christian Andersen,Selma Lagerlöf,Various Authors,Sven Nordqvist,Josef Tratnik,Dirk Bach,Jens Wawrczeck
A Woman of No Importance - Full Cast,Oscar Wilde
Model Millionaire - David Timson,Oscar Wilde


Anne Perry: A Christmas Guest

The third book in Anne Perry's series of Christmas novellas, each one of which has as their protagonist one of the supporting characters from Perry's main series (William Monk, and Charlotte & Thomas Pitt).  This installment's starring role goes to Charlotte Pitt's vinegar-tongued grandmother, who -- like another remote relative, recently returned to England after having spent most of her adult life living in the Middle East -- finds herself shunted onto Charlotte and her husband Thomas at short notice, because the family with whom she had been planning to spend the holidays have made other plans.  While Grandma pretends to despise her widely-traveled fellow guest, secretly she develops a considerable amount of respect for her, so when the lady is unexpetedly found dead, grandma takes it upon herself to seek out the people who had unloaded her on the Pitt household; convinced that something untoward is afoot.

 

As Perry's Christmas novellas go, this is one of my favorite installments to date, and i loved seeing it told, for once, not from the point of view of an easily likeable character, but from that of Grandma, who is a major pain in the neck to others (even though you'd have to be blind not to recognize from the word "go" that her acerbic tongue and pretensions are merely part of her personal armour).  I also wondered whether the murder victim's character might have been inspired by pioneering women travelers like Gertrude Bell, even if the story is set a few decades earlier than Bell's actual life.  I had issues with a couple of minor aspects of the plot (and characters / behaviour), but they didn't intrude enough to seriously impinge on my enjoyment of the story.  And since Grandma, for all her overblown pretenses, is certainly a strong woman character -- which she shows, not least, by eventually admitting to her own fallibilities -- I am counting this book towards the Human Rights Day square of 24 Festive Tasks.

 

 

 
Various Authors: Skandinavische Weihnachten

A charming anthology of Christmas short stories and poems from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland; chiefly geared towards children, but more than enjoyable by readers and listeners of all ages and generations.  I knew some of the entries (no Scandinavian Christmas anthology without Andersen's Little Match Girl, I suppose), but many of the stories were new to me, and they made for delightful listening on this 4th weekend of Advent. -- Set in Scandinavia, and thus I'm using it as my book for the St. Lucia's Day square.

 

 


Oscar Wilde: A Woman of No Importance

Wilde's second play; an acerbic take on the narrowness of fin de siècle English morality; or more particularly, supremely hypocritical perceptions of women's role in society.  Unlike in Wilde's later plays, the beginning comes across as a bit of an over-indulgence in the author's own clever wit, with a veritable fireworks of sparkling onelines and repartees following in quick succession without greatly advancing the plot (which is what earns the piece the subtractions in my star ratings -- it's the perfect example of too much of a good thing); but once the plot and the dialogue centers on the opposing protagonists, it quickly finds its feet. -- As Festivus books go, it's rather on the dark side, but it's a satire nevertheless, so I'm counting it for that square ... and though (unusually for Wilde) the last line is telegraphed a mile and a half in advance, I nevertheless enjoyed saying it along with the play's heroine from all my heart.

 

 


Oscar Wilde: Model Millionaire

My encore enjoyment to follow up A Woman of No Importance; a story that couldn't be any more different in tone and intent -- the tale of a gentleman who believes he has done a kindness to a raggedy beggar modelling for his artist friend ... only to find that he could not possibly have been any more mistaken, and that in fact it is he who is ultimately at the receiving end of an unexpected kindness.

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