Oscar Wilde, known for his acerbic and urbane nonfiction, was also a master of the fairy tale. While some of his inimitable irony remains, Wilde created lovely, gemlike tales filled with princes and nightingales, mermaids, giants, and kings. This volume brings together all of Wilde's fairy tales from his two collections—The Happy Prince and The House of Pomegranates—and retains the evocative illustrations done for the original editions.
As Wilde explained, his fairy tales were written "partly for children, and partly for those who have kept the childlike faculties of wonder and joy." Readers will detect in stories like "The Happy Prince," a biting criticism of English high society as well as a bittersweet portrayal of Wilde's own doomed intrigues in love and his notions of Fabian socialism. Subtly erotic and rife with symbols, these tales are infused by Wilde's brilliant imagination and prodigious intellect.
With an Afterword by Jack Zipes.
The Happy Prince is a good read-aloud for 3rd-6th graders, but some of the other tales include more mature themes.