The Fairy Tales Of Oscar Wilde
Read by Dame Judi Dench, Jeremy Irons, Joanna Lumley, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sinead Cusack, Robert Harris, Samantha Bond, Geoffrey Plamer, Sir Donald Sinden and a bonus track ‘The Actress’ read by Elaine Stritch.
It would be easy to imagine that The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde were written after his tragic fall from grace in 1895 and the unforeseen experience of anguish and loss. In fact they are among his early published works, the first five appearing in 1888 and the remaining four (under the title The House of Pomegranates) in 1891. These were his years of enormous happiness and success. But authors are often wiser in their writings than in their lives. For Wilde, outward beauty and luxury were necessities. Ugliness and misery were not to be countenanced. Yet the stories show us a very different view – listen to The Happy Prince, The Star Child and The Young King. The third of these, a superb piece of storytelling and one of Oscars own favourites, is particularly surprising in its late-Victorian context.
Written for children, but understood in a different, darker way by adults.
For the last track we have included The Actress, never before recorded. This story was told by Oscar Wilde to Miss Aimee Lowther when she was a child and written out by her soon afterwards. A few copies were privately printed and it was later published in ‘The Mask’ magazine of July 1912. It is believed to be about the great Victorian actress Dame Ellen Terry, to whom Wilde was devoted.
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