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1st February
2009
written by Tony
So affected.

So affected.

I finally finished this massive doorstop, actually a couple of weeks ago, and am just now getting around to writing my review. I think I am going to keep this brief as my review encompasses around a hundred poems, several plays, several dialogues and a myriad of other written errata. I think it would be more informative if I focus on the general essence of Wilde, rather than specifics. Overall his writing is light, lyrical and mildly obsessed with topics of beauty and hedonism. He is very well written and his language is at times unparalleled. Themes that tend to run through his work are usually centered around the upper crust of English society, the landed gentry so to speak. In general, Wilde seems to have a rather strong disdain for English society and English attitudes. A strong undercurrent of respect for Americans and American ideals seems to ebb and flow through many of his stories. It’s hard for me to say much about this book without going into specifics about any of the stories, but I will say that I didn’t particularly care for his poems. I’m generally hard to please when it comes to poetry and Wilde proved to be no exception, unfortunately. However, the rest of his works are sharp and generally have a timeless quality that is endearing and engrossing. Obviously, since this is everything he ever wrote, there is something for everyone in here and I don’t think any reader should feel required to read everything, or even most of it. As I said, someone interested in plays or poems or stories or allegories or dialogues or essays, or any other writing form you can think will find some item of interest here. I recommend starting with the first few writings, "The Picture of Dorian Gray", and moving on to "The Importance of Being Earnest", and  "The Happy Prince". These are all suitable bedrocks in the collection. All in all Wilde is an engaging read and I recommend it to nearly anyone, if only to understand what a huge influence he has had over literature in history. Besides, when the story stops being amusing you can laugh silently at how amazingly catty Wilde can be. There are more than a few instances where he drags his contemporaries over the coals, by name in many cases. Oh Oscar, you rascal. Rating: 4 out of 5

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