Book Review

The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde

If you are still doing your Christmas shopping, I have the perfect book for readers of all ages to share with you as I join the blog tour for The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde. Many thanks to Duckworth for providing me with a copy of the book, and Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the tour.


For nearly 150 years, the classic fairy tales of Oscar Wilde have been cherished by readers of all ages. Rediscover all nine of the stories first published in The Happy Prince and Other Stories (1888) and A House of Pomegranates (1891) in this beautiful new edition of Duckworth’s exquisite 1952 complete collection, featuring intricate illustrations by the celebrated twentieth-century artist and aesthete Phillippe Julian, and an afterword by Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland.


Amazon UK



Although I have read and enjoyed a few of Oscar Wilde’s works previously, this was my first encounter with his collections of fairy stories. Whilst not as dark as some of the tales of Charles Perrault, these fairy tales are still a long way from the sanitised, happily ever afters that I grew up with, and in fact, some of them are desperately sad. Of the stories included in this collection, The Selfish Giant and The Birthday of the Infanta were favourites of mine, although The Birthday of the Infanta made me feel particularly emotional. That said, Wilde delights in poking fun at those who think too highly of themselves, and so with the sadness came plenty of smiles.

While I was reading this book, I found I had to check if there was an audio version available, because I could hear Stephen Fry’s voice in my head telling the stories as clearly as if he had been sitting in the room beside me. If there are plans for an audiobook, he really is the only possible choice for the narrator.

Philippe Jullian’s striking illustrations are the perfect addition to Wilde’s parables, and the afterword by Vyvvan Holland provides a fascinating insight into Wilde’s mind and creative processes.

This 70th anniversary edition is a delightful book, and one that I think any book lover would be happy to have on their shelf.


Born in Dublin in 1854, Oscar Wilde was an Irish wit, playwright and poet best remembered for his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and his social comedies including The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). He published two volumes of beloved fairy tales. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and his two sons were born in 1885 and 1886. Wilde died in Paris in 1900.

Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part in the tour.