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A House of Pomegranates is a collection of fairy tales, written by Oscar Wilde, that was published in 1891 as a second collection for The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888). Wilde once said that this collection was "intended neither for the British child nor the British public." The stories included in this collection are as follows: The Young King The Birthday of the Inf A House of Pomegranates is a collection of fairy tales, written by Oscar Wilde, that was published in 1891 as a second collection for The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888). Wilde once said that this collection was "intended neither for the British child nor the British public." The stories included in this collection are as follows: The Young King The Birthday of the Infanta The Fisherman and his Soul The Star-Child


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A House of Pomegranates is a collection of fairy tales, written by Oscar Wilde, that was published in 1891 as a second collection for The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888). Wilde once said that this collection was "intended neither for the British child nor the British public." The stories included in this collection are as follows: The Young King The Birthday of the Inf A House of Pomegranates is a collection of fairy tales, written by Oscar Wilde, that was published in 1891 as a second collection for The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888). Wilde once said that this collection was "intended neither for the British child nor the British public." The stories included in this collection are as follows: The Young King The Birthday of the Infanta The Fisherman and his Soul The Star-Child

30 review for A house of pomegranates: (low cost). Limited edition

  1. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    Once upon a time there was a little collection of fairy tales called The House of Pomegranates by Oscar Wilde. I opened this book up and found a whole different book than the one I had expected! Is that a good or a bad thing? Well, I suppose both. My familiarity with Mr. Wilde is pretty much based on his decadent excoriation of decadence and beauty-for-beauty’s-sake The Picture of Dorian Gray and his brilliant and perfect and of course sublimely witty The Importance of Being Earnest. I figured I Once upon a time there was a little collection of fairy tales called The House of Pomegranates by Oscar Wilde. I opened this book up and found a whole different book than the one I had expected! Is that a good or a bad thing? Well, I suppose both. My familiarity with Mr. Wilde is pretty much based on his decadent excoriation of decadence and beauty-for-beauty’s-sake The Picture of Dorian Gray and his brilliant and perfect and of course sublimely witty The Importance of Being Earnest. I figured I would be getting more of the same, or at least a little of one and a lot of the other or some such combination. Nope. spoilers ahead... ✲ The third story “The Fisherman and His Soul” is fascinating. Starting off as a vaguely familiar tale of a lovelorn young fisherman who gives up his soul to be with the mermaid who has stolen his heart, it quickly moves in stranger directions. There is a witch who falls in love with him, who brings him to a moonlit satanic ritual to meet her diabolical master, who declares her love and then shows him how to cut his soul free. Then we learn about his cast-out soul’s journeys. Such journeys! The soul learns about Knowledge and Wealth and Lust. And, most surprisingly, the soul has terrible powers and with those powers does terrible things. A phrase uttered by the soul as he recounts his acts to the fisherman, “And I did a strange thing, but what I did matters not…”, is repeated three times and it is unnerving, chilling. Why does the soul do the terrible things it does? Apparently because when the fisherman cleaved his soul from his body, his soul got none of his heart. A heartless soul! Strange. His soul is soulless. For some reason I have always identified the soul as equaling the heart, part of a kind of trinity: Body, Mind, Soul (Heart). Wilde does not see it that way. The soul returns to the fisherman repeatedly, telling him of his adventures, always trying to reunite with him in the same body. And finally the soul does tempt the fisherman away from his undersea home, despite the peace and satisfaction that the fisherman has achieved with his mermaid love. The soul leads the fisherman astray; he compels him to do terrible and cruel and inexplicable things. There is an unhappy ending. And then there is a kind of happy ending, poetic and transcendent and, yes, strange. What does it all mean? Hard to say. Of the four stories, this one reminded me the most of Dorian Gray, in its emphasis on decadence and on the idea of breaking up the psyche into different parts. Elsewhere the spirit or soul is usually seen as a kind of agent of transcendence; yet here it is the fisherman who has achieved true transcendence - without his soul. Perhaps the soul is the form of the fisherman’s unconscious. The fisherman reaches his own transcendence by achieving his strongest desire, by falling in love: a love that is connected to his heart and one that is a palpably physical love. The mermaid is described in language that defines her as a beautiful and very material being: a body of ivory, a tail of silver and pearl, each separate hair a thread of gold. What is Wilde saying? That we can find our own riches in the physicality of love? That we don’t need those terrible adventures that force us to confront the true nature of Knowledge, Wealth, and Lust, that these are all Outside Forces that are in the end truly meaningless? That the fisherman's soul journeys towards a kind of living death and, later, in his attempt to use "good" and "evil" to influence the fisherman - that he is constructing a false binary of good vs. evil, an ultimately meaningless duality? That pure transcendence can be found in the romantic and sexual desires of eros, within the heart that acts as the fulcrum of the, er, "pleasure principle"? Love = the Id, and that's not so bad, not bad at all? Or at least love equals whatever the id was considered to be, prior to Freud? Sorry to bring up Freud, I know he’s unpopular & discredited & all that, but the fisherman's actions do seem to exist as the opposite of Freud's “reality principle” - in his disinterest in deferring gratification of his desires, in his rejection of the circumstantial and material reality that his village priest invokes to stop his quest to lose his own soul. Is the heart the true agent of transcendence, one that is linked to regeneration? The ending points me in that direction... flowers blooming on unconsecrated ground, over the body of the dead fisherman; a narrow-minded priest suddenly finding himself lost in his own passionate moment of transcendence and connection to the beauty around him. ✲ The first and fourth stories, “The Young King” and “The Star-Child” are quite charming in their own way. Certainly the prose is beautiful, jewel-like. One is the story of a young king who learns that to love the beauty of material goods is to support the enslavement and oppression of the people who create those goods; in the end he achieves a glorious and godly transcendence in a church. The other is the story of a child who is beautiful, vain, and cruel; that child is transformed into an ugly creature and is then tormented until he achieves his own glorious and godly transcendence. Charm and jewel-like prose, yes, but I actively disliked both of these stories. I don’t have a problem with religious themes in my fiction; I’m a God-lover myself, so bring it on. But my God! The messages in these two stories were so trite, so mawkish… frankly, I became rather nauseated at the ever-increasing relentlessness and obviousness of Wilde’s goals in telling these tales. All that charm became charmless. Even worse, the themes of these particular tales almost act as a renunciation of some of the ideas present in the far more complex and satisfying story of the fisherman. ✲ The second story “Birthday of the Infanta” is a troubling and very intriguing little tale. Lovely and grim in equal parts. A Spanish princess, a king mourning the death (murder?) of his wife, sinister courtiers who may have sinister designs on the royal child… disturbing things bubbling away under the surface. And then all of that is discarded as we learn the story of a dwarf brought to entertain the princess on her birthday. His purity, his love, his connection to nature are all detailed movingly. As is his lack of understanding in how he is viewed by those around him - as an ugly joke. In the end, after seeing his reflection in a mirrored wall and so learning his true place in the world of man, in the world of the princess… he dies of a broken heart in front of his own image. The meaning of the story seems timeless. Unlike my experience with the two stories above, I was not remotely annoyed - perhaps because the story is so bracing in its clear-eyed sadness at the cruelty of the world. A striking, resonant, and somewhat heartless ending... after our little princess comes across the body of the good dwarf, she fails to understand that her toy has broken permanently and is annoyed when told that the death was due to a broken heart: And the Infanta frowned, and her dainty rose-leaf lips curled in pretty disdain. “For the future let those who come to play with me have no hearts,” she cried, and she ran out into the garden. ✲ i found a lot of my own vague ideas given concrete form in Heather Marcovitch's excellent essay: ‘The Fisherman and His Soul’ and the Unconscious

  2. 4 out of 5

    leynes

    "A House of Pomegranates" is a collection of four fairy tales which were written by Oscar Wilde and published in 1891. It is regarded as a follow-up to his first fairy tale collection "The Happy Prince and Other Tales". Wilde's success arose primarly from thinking of stories as things to tell. It is hardly surprising. His mother was an Irish folklorist. He himself graduated in classical scholarship whose earliest texts were the oral narratives of a probably illiterate Homer. It gave him a much m "A House of Pomegranates" is a collection of four fairy tales which were written by Oscar Wilde and published in 1891. It is regarded as a follow-up to his first fairy tale collection "The Happy Prince and Other Tales". Wilde's success arose primarly from thinking of stories as things to tell. It is hardly surprising. His mother was an Irish folklorist. He himself graduated in classical scholarship whose earliest texts were the oral narratives of a probably illiterate Homer. It gave him a much more immediate sense of audience than most writers. This does not necessarily mean that the stories were first told to his two sons, though simple versions may have been: Cyril was almost three when the five stories in "The Happy Prince and Other Tales" were published in May 1888, Vyvyan one and a half. But they were written with the intention of telling them to his sons. They are stories from an unselfconscious father who knows how to move the storyteller in and out of the narrative with mild self-mockery. Wilde is on the child's side: but he knows the child will only be truly happy if it hates cruelty, treachery and poverty, if it loves loyalty, laughter – and love. The true folk story rejects any genre division between comedy and tragedy, and Wilde knew that there is no tragedy greater than that of the weeping clown. It is not a wit which takes any pleasure in suffering and it holds out continual if desperate hopes for salvation. The stories of "A House of Pomegranates" turn on those hopes, the Dwarf and the Fisherman can only be saved by death itself, while the Young King can only find salvation by the recognition of suffering and the Star-Child by himself suffering enough to cut short his life. Wilde is a phenomenal storyteller but his strength definitely lays in the dialogue, not in description. He has a great gift for varying voices and creating quotable moments. The main reason why this collection fell a bit flat for me was its preachy narrative. (!!Spoilers ahead for the individual tales!!) 1 – The Young King | 4.5 Stars"Are not the rich and the poor brothers?" asked the young King. "Ay," answered the man, "and the name of the rich brother is Cain.""The Young King" tells the story of the illegitimate shepherd son of the recently dead king's daughter. Being his only heir, the boy is about to get crowned king. Being used to a lifestyle of poverty and starvation, the boy is in awe of his new luxurious home and the riches and raiment that come with it. During the night before his coronation he has three nightmares, each revolving around an element of his raiment (his crown, scepter and robe), showing him where they came from and how they were obtained. The first dream shows a group of starving peasants toiling hard to weave his robe without receiving payment. The second dream shows a slave who is sent underwater to find pearls for the scepter and dies afterwards. The third dream shows him the source of his crown's rubies. In it, men excavate a dry riverbed in a tropical jungle, while overlooking them, the god Death ries to bargain with the goddess Avarice for a single grain of her corn. Each time Avarice refuses, Death calls Ague, Fever and Plague to kill one third of her servants until she is left with nothing. On his coronation day, the Young King refuses to wear the raiment, and plucks himself a crown, a scepter and a robe from things he finds in the forest. The nobles condemn him for bringing shame to their class, the peasants for trying to deprive them of work, and the bishops for foolishly trying to take the world's suffering upon himself. The story ends with his approaching the altar, and his stick-scepter blossoming with white lilies and his brier-crown with red roses, and the bishop saying that God has officially crowned the Young King. I absolutely adored this tale. It was beautifully written and had a message that I fully support – you shouldn't exploit people, your outward appearance and status isn't as important as you think, and most importantly (especially in tales written for children), good actions get rewarded in the end. My favorite portion of this tale was definitely Death bargaining with Avarice. It was so well executed by Oscar – it was quite epic – and it really corroborated his message that greedy people won't end up happy but alone in the end. Additionally to that I found it really interesting to see Oscar's views on aestheticism in this children's tale as well - "he would […] wander from room to room, and from corridor to corridor, like on who was seeking to find in beauty an anodyne from pain, a sort of restoration from sickness." 2 – The Birthday of the Infanta | 3 Stars This tale is about a hunchbacked dwarf who gets sold to the palace for the amusement of the king's daughter, the Infanta, on her twelfth birthday. Her birthday is the only time she is allowed to play with other children and she much enjoys the performance of the dwarf. The dwarf oblivious to the fact that the children and the rest of the audience were acutally laughing at him as he dances and performs, believes that the Infanta must love him and tries to seek her out after dinner. He searches all the rooms but instead of discovering the Infanta, he stumbles upon a grotesque monster that mimicks his every move. When the dwarf realizes that he is facing a mirror and therefore his own reflection, he realized that everyone had been mocking him, and he falls to the floor, kicking and screaming. When the Infanta and the other guests find him in this state on the floor, they think it's another perfomance and applaug him, when in fact the dwarf had died out of a broken heart. The tale ends with the Infanta telling her servant "For the future, let those who come to play with me have no hearts." The narrative itself didn't blew my socks off but I liked the fact that in the beginning of the story the dwarf wasn't aware of how he looked (because he grew up impoverished in the woods) and this unawareness contributed to his happiness – he couldn't be shallow, he couldn't be vain because looks simply didn't matter to him. By contrast, the people in the palace who are much more privileged and educated, are much more judgmental and define their happiness by how they look and what they have. Oscar makes it very clear (despite the fact that the dwarf dies in the end) that those are the "bad" people, and that the dwarf is pure at heart and deserved much better. 3 – The Fisherman and his Soul | 3 Stars In order to live with the love of his life (a mermaid), the young fisherman gives up his soul to live underwater. In order to give it up he has to cut his shadow and free his soul. The fisherman, however, refuses to give his Soul his heart, because he wants to save it for his mermaid, and sends the Soul away without it. Each year that passes, the Soul visits the Fisherman and tells him of all the different places that it had visited. In the first year, the Soul had come into the possession of the Mirror of Wisdom, in the second year, the Ring of Riches. Both times the Soul tries to tempt the Fisherman with accepting these objects and therefore taking his Soul back into his body. Both times, the Fisherman refuses because he thinks that love is more important than wisdom or wealth. However, in the third year the Soul tempts him with a woman who dances barefoot in a nearby city. The fisherman really wants to see her dance and invites his Soul back into his body. Passing through the cities on the way, the Soul tells the Fisherman to do things: steal a silver cup, beat a child and kill a man who just gave them shelter. The Fisherman horried by the power the Soul has over his body, confronts the Soul about these actions – the Soul reminds him that he had not given it a heart. When the Fisherman tries to part from his Soul again, he learns that that is no longer possible, and he is therefore not able to return to his love underwater. In desperation he builds a shelter near the water and calls the Mermaid daily, but she never comes. After a year passes, the lifeless body of the Mermaid washes ashore, and while holding her in his arms, the waves envelope and drown him. A priest, finding the drowned lovers, pronounces them accursed and buries them in an unmarked, and refuses to bless the water which was his initial intent. Three years later, the priest finds the grave covered in flowers, and is unable to give his sermon on God's vengeful wrath, and instead speaks of God's love. 4 – The Star-Child | 2 Stars As a baby the Star-Child was abandoned in the woods and taken in by a poor woodcutter. When he grows up to be exceedingly beautiful, he grows vain, cruel and arrogant. One day, an old beggar woman reveals to him that he is her mother. Disgusted by her appearance the Star-Child rejects her, and is punished and turned into an ugly toad/snake-like creature. He sets off to seek forgiveness from his mother and all the animals he has tortured. At length, he comes to a ctiy, where he is captured and sold into slavery. His master sets him the task of finding three pieces of gold hidden in the forest. With the help of a rabbit, the Star-Child manages to find a piece each day, but whenever he returns to the city, he stumbles upon a beggar who tells him that he will starve if the Star-Child doesn't surrender the gold to him. When the Star-Child returns empty-handed, his master beats him cruelly. Before setting out to find the third and last piece of gold, his master told him that he would kill him if he comes back without it. But after finding it and being confronted with the beggar again, he gives up the piece of gold nonetheless, deciding that the beggar's life is worth more than his own's. Upon entering the city, everyone awaits him to crown him the new king, and he discovers the city's present rulers to be his mother, the beggar woman, and his father, the beggar he had given the gold to. At that point also, he is transformed to his former beautiful self. At the story's end, we are told of his kind, loving, and charitable reign, but that it only lasted for three years, and the king that followed him was cruel and evil. The ending was extremely abrupt and overall I wasn't the biggest fan of the story, it semed extremely generic and rushed to me. The weakest one of the collection in my opinion.

  3. 5 out of 5

    DJ

    2.5 Stars. Oscar Wilde’s other short stories... Sadly, this is definitely my least favourite work by Wilde so far (and I only have his poems and essays left to read, which aren’t really comparable), and the only one that I haven’t really liked (which, on the bright side, says something about the quality of his work overall). These stories were all hard for me to get into, and I found them rather dull and preachy. The Young King - 2 Stars ⭐️⭐️ The Birthday of the Infanta - 2 Stars ⭐️⭐️ The Fisherma 2.5 Stars. Oscar Wilde’s other short stories... Sadly, this is definitely my least favourite work by Wilde so far (and I only have his poems and essays left to read, which aren’t really comparable), and the only one that I haven’t really liked (which, on the bright side, says something about the quality of his work overall). These stories were all hard for me to get into, and I found them rather dull and preachy. The Young King - 2 Stars ⭐️⭐️ The Birthday of the Infanta - 2 Stars ⭐️⭐️ The Fisherman and His Soul - 3 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Star-Child - 3 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  4. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

    Four Fairy Tales a la Wilde Yes, Oscar Wilde wrote children's stories and I was amazed the first time I found out. These definitely follow a more old fashioned, pre-Disney trajectory for fairy tales. Happiness is not the objective, moral edification is and thus, often rather sad. THE YOUNG KING This is meant to be a Christian parable, but the young king reminded me more of Siddhartha/ Buddha. Beautiful language and imagery with a moral. THE BIRTHDAY OF THE INFANTA This is the life of the Princess of Four Fairy Tales a la Wilde Yes, Oscar Wilde wrote children's stories and I was amazed the first time I found out. These definitely follow a more old fashioned, pre-Disney trajectory for fairy tales. Happiness is not the objective, moral edification is and thus, often rather sad. THE YOUNG KING This is meant to be a Christian parable, but the young king reminded me more of Siddhartha/ Buddha. Beautiful language and imagery with a moral. THE BIRTHDAY OF THE INFANTA This is the life of the Princess of Spain with all the beauty, pageantry, and displays of power at the forefront. Again, Wilde give stunning descriptions of the surroundings and a fair rendering of both the people and the environment. Indeed, I was reminded of Velasquez's painting while reading this. The parable here revolves around the careless cruelty innate to absolute power. THE FISHERMAN AND HIS SOUL Rather depressing and morbid. What does a soul do when left to its own devices? THE STAR CHILD Redemption with messianic undercurrent. Fascinating to read something completely different by Wilde. Old-fashion fairy tales with morals, didactic and strong religious overtones. While Wilde wrote about his own struggles in other books, notably De Profundis, I can't say these are singularly Christian. There is a syncretism, then again, Christianity is syncretic so it's hard for me to determine if this is deliberately a blend or merely an expression of Wilde's exposure. Found this lingering on my currently-reading shelf and decided to finish it off. While interesting, I don't think I'd reread it and though beautiful not what I'd consider children's fare, today.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paula Bardell-Hedley

    “Intended neither for the British child nor the British public.” A House of Pomegranates consists of four fairy tales written by Oscar Wilde and released in 1891 as a sequel to the collection, The Happy Prince and Other Tales. This anthology was printed in the same year as the complete, uncensored version of Wilde's barely disguised homoerotic novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was unleashed on a scandalised British readership to strident accusations of effeminacy and moral depravity “Intended neither for the British child nor the British public.” A House of Pomegranates consists of four fairy tales written by Oscar Wilde and released in 1891 as a sequel to the collection, The Happy Prince and Other Tales. This anthology was printed in the same year as the complete, uncensored version of Wilde's barely disguised homoerotic novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was unleashed on a scandalised British readership to strident accusations of effeminacy and moral depravity. The critics savaged his plot in which a young man's portrait is painted by an artist infatuated by his beauty – the protagonist making a Faustian bargain with the devil in order to ensure the picture, rather than he, will age and decline with the passing of time. At this juncture, Wilde was living with his wife and two sons on Chelsea's fashionable Tite Street, and regularly wrote fantasy fiction for magazines. He was a famous man about town, but also visited Paris, where he was received as a respected writer at the salons littéraires. It was in this already hectic year that he was first introduced to Lord Alfred Douglas (known as Bosie), a handsome but somewhat spoilt young fellow who famously became the older man's lover, close companion and the catalyst to his eventual ruination. Wilde's short stories, which were marketed as children's fiction, have inevitably been overshadowed by his clever and amusing plays. They are lyrically beguiling allegories, but in much the same way Grimm's Fairy Tales could never be described as 'happy ever after' narratives, the tales in A House of Pomegranates tend to be pessimistic, devoid of solace and typically non judgemental. One wonders if they were in fact written with youngsters in mind. This collection (there were three all told), is dedicated to his wife, Constance, and contains: The Young King, The Birthday of the Infanta, The Fisherman and his Soul, and The Star-Child. They are whimsical, poignant and a touch satirical – more Gothic suspense than juvenile literature – but nevertheless a real delight for this adult. "My roses are redder than the great fans of coral that wave and wave in the ocean-cavern." You can read many more of my reviews and other literary features at Book Jotter >>

  6. 4 out of 5

    James

    Like Grimm's Tales - only much much much better and far more interesting! Great.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amelia Oswald

    I really love reading Oscar Wilde's short stories and this is no exception.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lina

    Not sure if awesome, or just plain brilliant. No, really not. I love the whole "Good looks don't make you a good person"(Take that, Disney!) and stuff, but I'm not sure how I can view this. So many people suffered in all four stories, and I kinda just wanted to jump in and hit Wilde over the head with my linguistics textbook, but of course that would have made all those stories for naught, and then I would hit him over the head with my linguistics textbook for not providing good stories, and then Not sure if awesome, or just plain brilliant. No, really not. I love the whole "Good looks don't make you a good person"(Take that, Disney!) and stuff, but I'm not sure how I can view this. So many people suffered in all four stories, and I kinda just wanted to jump in and hit Wilde over the head with my linguistics textbook, but of course that would have made all those stories for naught, and then I would hit him over the head with my linguistics textbook for not providing good stories, and then I expect he would hit me with his cane. Or he would use wit. Wit is effective. Lina is confused. Wild Wilde ran away. [/pokéspeech] What I absolutely like is that somehow all those stories seem so similar to some fairytales, yet are written in their own wilde way(No pun... well, yeah, pun intended). The Young King: (4/5) I don't exactly remember a fairytale with a young king, but I'm pretty sure there is one. Yet, this young king goes from "I love it all because it's pretty" to "I hate it all because it's pretty" to "Holy lord blabla oh where did that fancy robe come from?". Sweet, in a way, but not my favourite. The Birthday of the Infanta:(4/5) Oh. Dear. Scott. What a spoiled brat. There you go, daddy king, this is what happens if all you do is cry over your deceased queen. The middle age kings and queens would have caned that brat for her blatant non-existence of milte.(milte was considered one of the most important characteristics of a rich and/or noble person in the middle ages, very much so in the Middle High German speaking part of it, which was quite a big one. It basically means to give to the poor and show kindness and be generous, without exaggerating it, of course. Everything in moderation, 'cept when you were writing minnesongs.) [No, that wasn't necessary to throw in, but I like to boast my knowledge around, because yes, I'm that boastful.] The poor little actual main protagonist. ._. The Fisherman and his Soul: (4/5) I first thought of the Fisherman and his wife, and I think it has some similarities(Quite a fancy fish he fished himself there), but overall of course it's different. What I really like about this one is that everyone seems so human, even though some of them wander around and do horribly awful bad stuff. But mostly I like this because it made me think about a story I'm writing myself, and I know I should get going with it. >_< The Star-Child: (5/5) This one I like the most. It's so typical of people to feel entitled over others when they consider themselves more beautifil than those others, and they do need a taste of that bitter medicine themselves. But it is also so human, and overall, I found the Star-Child to be the most appealing character out of the whole four stories, aside from the Witch out of the third. Towards the end I kept thinking "Wait, that's not some kind of ruse, is it? If this is some kind of ruse I will scream!" but it wasn't a ruse, and I underestimated Wilde's brilliance, and I need to go hit myself with my linguistics textbook for that.

  9. 5 out of 5

    P.

    Oscar Wilde might just be the greatest fiction writer of all time. Having said that, it's a pity there are so few of his works. He certainly has a very special place in my heart, and this collection of beautiful children's stories show just how talented he really was. Wilde is famous for his 'epigrams' and his razor-sharp wit. His command of the English language made him a literary trend-setter. Yet these innocent fables allow people to see a lesser-known side of him, a more human side; a glimps Oscar Wilde might just be the greatest fiction writer of all time. Having said that, it's a pity there are so few of his works. He certainly has a very special place in my heart, and this collection of beautiful children's stories show just how talented he really was. Wilde is famous for his 'epigrams' and his razor-sharp wit. His command of the English language made him a literary trend-setter. Yet these innocent fables allow people to see a lesser-known side of him, a more human side; a glimpse of the 'mortal'. As mercurial and glamorous as he was (or made himself out to be), the work he produced here for younger audiences stands as a hommage for ancient story-telling that reaches out to the likes of Hans Christian Anderson or the Brother's Grimm. In fact these aren't mere stories, but rather 'fables', and unfortunately fables are an almost extinct form of story-telling these days. When people think of Oscar Wilde, no one ever thinks of morals, yet these tales each hold a deep moral lesson. The 'Star Child' is rather like 'Dorian Gray' re-worked for children, in that it warns them of the dangers of vanity and to respect ones' elders. The 'Mermaids Soul' explores the rather complex issue of the soul, or rather the difference of making decisions with your head or your senses, and how one must have a little of both facilities in, otherwise chaos ensues. The most famous of this bunch is probably 'The Happy Prince', who when I first read it many moons ago mistook it for an Andersen fable. My favourite, 'The Infanta', is about innocent ignorance, class-divide, love and mercy. It teaches us NOT to judge by appearances, and to accept people as they are. Wilde was famed as an aesthete, yet in all his stories there is a very firm dislike of articifice, and a reverence of the beauty of the soul as opposed to the flesh. Even though this is blatantly obvious in his writing, people still insist on ignoring it, which is sad. Judging by these stories (and stories are a window to the soul) I think Wilde was a deeply moral man whose choices in life must have pained him given the social/ cultural atmosphere of the time. This collection would make a wonderful gift for any child. I read the Gutenberg ebook version, which unfortunately didn't have the titles, but rather interestingly had a dedication at the beginning of each story telling the reader who it was written for. I think 'The House of Pomegranates' is a real gem of a book. I'm glad I rediscovered it this year. It is absolute story perfection.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    Four more short-stories by Oscar Wilde and I'm done with this author. For the next years. 'A House of Pomegranates' is a collection of four rather short fairy tales. I cannot say I enjoyed them. Despite the fantastic details of these stories, there was some kind of moralism that I didn't find interesting. It wasn't exactly the moral of each story, but the way things were put. As with the previous book, I felt that Wilde managed to spoil what had potential to be a nice story. And this happened wit Four more short-stories by Oscar Wilde and I'm done with this author. For the next years. 'A House of Pomegranates' is a collection of four rather short fairy tales. I cannot say I enjoyed them. Despite the fantastic details of these stories, there was some kind of moralism that I didn't find interesting. It wasn't exactly the moral of each story, but the way things were put. As with the previous book, I felt that Wilde managed to spoil what had potential to be a nice story. And this happened with the four in this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Merinde

    Beautifully written, but could do with a bit less moralizing. What I did like was the bitter undertone to some of the stories, the Infanta for example. She is a pretty child and that is all: people do not care for sensitive monsters and there is no sudden miracle to come safe the dwarf. The characters are very human in their cruelty, which made it interesting. I especially loved the fisherman, and the story of the young king was nice too, though I would have liked it better if the people despite Beautifully written, but could do with a bit less moralizing. What I did like was the bitter undertone to some of the stories, the Infanta for example. She is a pretty child and that is all: people do not care for sensitive monsters and there is no sudden miracle to come safe the dwarf. The characters are very human in their cruelty, which made it interesting. I especially loved the fisherman, and the story of the young king was nice too, though I would have liked it better if the people despite the miracle had done away with their future king. Then again I suppose I just have the personality of a cranky old lady. :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kiarash

    I wonder if there is a relation or symbolism between this collection of four short stories and the myth of Persephone/ pomegranates?!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Of the three short story collections that I've read by Oscar Wilde, this one is the weakest for me. I liked his crime collection, very much liked his fairy tale collection, but this odd collection is just... well, odd. For example, "The Fisherman and His Soul" simply meanders anywhere and everywhere, almost like a story in search of an ending. If you're an avid Wilde fan, you'll read this. If you're not, I recommend "The Happy Prince and Other Tales" as this author's best short story collection.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}

    The Young King ★☆☆☆☆ The Birthday of the Infanta ★★★☆☆ The Fisherman and his Soul ★★★☆☆ The Star-Child ★★★☆☆

  15. 5 out of 5

    mar *:・゚✧

    i really, really, really liked "the fisherman and his soul". overall, beautifully written, as with all of wilde's works.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ashish

    Another great collection of Oscar Wilde short stories reading which is going to aid me in my quest to read everything that has been written by him. I guess I just have a couple of his plays and his poems remaining. Godspeed! This collection is good, has the trademark Wilde brand of witticisms in writing. Reading anything written by him is always a pleasure and a great way to usher in the end of the reading year.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rao Javed

    On average it was good but I understand why they might be the most unpopular part of Oscar Wilde's work. It was set of good short story that were metaphysical and deep but often ambiguous and unjust by the end.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ella

    Sublime, as Wilde always is. I especially enjoyed 'The Fisherman and His Soul.'

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Smyth

    I really enjoyed this book. The stories were very interesting and enjoyable. They were well written

  20. 4 out of 5

    Salam Almahi

    Well I mean.. it's no The Happy Prince and Other Tales

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jasmin

    The young king 3/5 The birthday of Infanta 2/5 Fisherman 1/5 The star child 3/5

  22. 4 out of 5

    Renita

    Would have been better read at a younger age, would probably read again if to kids...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    More reviews can be found on my book blog. --- This is Oscar Wilde's second collection of fairy tales. The particular edition that I have is a 2011 recreation of the 1914 edition, which includes the original colourful illustrations by Scottish illustrator Jessie Marion King throughout the book. I bought this new and mine smells weirdly strong of glue, which is a odd note to start a review with, but seriously. It was distracting. This contains four stories: The Young King The Birthday of the Inf More reviews can be found on my book blog. --- This is Oscar Wilde's second collection of fairy tales. The particular edition that I have is a 2011 recreation of the 1914 edition, which includes the original colourful illustrations by Scottish illustrator Jessie Marion King throughout the book. I bought this new and mine smells weirdly strong of glue, which is a odd note to start a review with, but seriously. It was distracting. This contains four stories: The Young King The Birthday of the Infanta The Fisherman and his Soul The Star-Child I really didn't like the first story, The Young King, and I was worried the rest of the book would be the same. It's about a soon-to-be crowned young man who, through his dreams, comes to the realization that the material goods in his life come with a cost, adding hardship to the already impoverished people of his kingdom. The morality in this one was so heavy-handed and trite that it made for a very dull story. This was compounded by the fact that dreams are so rarely interesting to read, particularly when dealing with an undeveloped character. The second story, The Birthday of the Infanta, got a little better for me (if you ignore how horrible this is towards people with dwarfism, the way you have to do with some older literature I suppose). It's about a Spanish Princess' twelfth birthday, during which she's being entertained by a young disfigured dwarf dancer. He has no idea how ugly he is, and he is happy in his ignorance. When the people laugh, he doesn't understand that they're laughing at him for the wrong reasons. There's a bit I particularly enjoyed where even the plant-life was mocking him. He eventually sees his own reflection in a mirror, at first thinking it a monster copying his every move, and when he finally understands it leaves him heartbroken. The third story was my favourite. The fisherman and his Soul is a creative tale of a fisherman who falls in love with a mermaid. He cannot live under the sea with his human soul, so he sees a witch about removing it. Once the soul has been removed, it wanders the world experiencing new things with the hopes of coercing the fisherman back from the sea with what its found. We eventually learn that a soul with no heart can be a dangerous thing. The Star Child is about a beautiful child found in the woods who grows up to be rude and selfish to everyone around him. When his real mother, a filthy beggar, arrives, he wants nothing to do with her. He is then cursed to be hideously ugly and mistreated, which drives him to leave his home to try to make amends with his mother. A lot of these were incredibly blunt in their message of morality, which is maybe just how it works with fairy tales. I don't know if I've actually read any other fairy tales as an adult. His prose is great, of course, but what I love most about Oscar Wilde is his dialogue. There wasn't much dialogue in this, and what there was tended to be fairly stilted and stylized for this specific genre. This wasn't my favourite, but I'm still glad I read it. I actually really enjoyed The Fisherman and his Soul, but I could have left the other three. I'll probably pick up his other collection of fairy tales at some point, for completion sake, so I'm hoping I'll enjoy more of the stories in that one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Milena

    A “House of Pomegranates” is much darker than Wilde’s first book of fairytales, “The Happy Prince and Other Tales”. The four stories have a unifying element in the painful Journey to self-knowledge.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Camilla

    Oscar Wilde was made for writing fairy stories. He writes with the necessary magic, the wonder of beauty. His aestheticism was extremely useful in this endeavor, and his wit can be found in these stories as well. The stories aren't quite like other fairy stories in that they oftentimes do not have completely happy endings. A few actually moved me to tears. The Happy Prince, The Selfish Giant, and The Young King seemed especially strong to me. I wouldn't be able to choose a favorite among them. Th Oscar Wilde was made for writing fairy stories. He writes with the necessary magic, the wonder of beauty. His aestheticism was extremely useful in this endeavor, and his wit can be found in these stories as well. The stories aren't quite like other fairy stories in that they oftentimes do not have completely happy endings. A few actually moved me to tears. The Happy Prince, The Selfish Giant, and The Young King seemed especially strong to me. I wouldn't be able to choose a favorite among them. The others are good too, of course, but just weren't as sweetly touching. In The Happy Prince, the Prince says "I am glad that you are going, little Swallow....you have stayed too long here; but you must kiss me on the lips, for I love you." How incredibly sweet is that? And while I truly adored The Fisherman and His Soul, it seemed too long for the genre at nearly sixty pages. The stories are beautiful and sweet. The descriptions are divine, and there was a surprising amount of character development considering these are fairy stories. People don't seem to remember Oscar Wilde for these stories--he's remembered more for The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest. I think that should change; these stories are written just as well, just as cleverly, and are spectacularly enjoyable.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julia Reim

    Beautifully written and I enjoyed it a little more then the happy prince but it was still nothing special. I also missed Wildes personal touch in this one

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jasmeet

    Vividly imagined and beautifully written, 'A House of Pomegranates' turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. The finesse and flow with which Wilde writes is on full display of imagination especially in the stories, 'The Birthday of the Infanta' and 'The Fisherman and his Soul'. I am particularly impressed by the capacity of the author to venture into a fantasy world that looks so real and that too with lesser detail. Indubitable credit goes to Wilde for having the ability to bring literary qu Vividly imagined and beautifully written, 'A House of Pomegranates' turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. The finesse and flow with which Wilde writes is on full display of imagination especially in the stories, 'The Birthday of the Infanta' and 'The Fisherman and his Soul'. I am particularly impressed by the capacity of the author to venture into a fantasy world that looks so real and that too with lesser detail. Indubitable credit goes to Wilde for having the ability to bring literary qualities out of the Tales. Recommended to the readers of all ages.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I enjoyed these works more than “The Happy Prince and Other Tales.” In general, I felt that Wilde lost some of his poetry in describing the story, but overall the philosophical dialogue and commentary on public life at the time is elevated in this work. I love the Fisherman and His Soul, I thought it was a truly beautiful story, and the Starchild was lovely as well, but it was so dark. Actually at the end I felt that Wilde was rather petulant and frustrated.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Desiree Sotomayor

    I am losing my job in a day, my boyfriend just moved out, my roommates sold the television...how does one manage to stay sane in such a time? Apparently by reading Oscar Wilde's 'House of Pomegranates.' (A collection of stories that undoubtedly are a precurser to the genre currently known as slipstream)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Antonia

    Some of the most imaginative tales I've ever read or heard. The moral implications of each short story are presented with truly profound analogies and/or allegories, which both convey the intended message and make the stories an entertaining read. Oscar Wilde's style and literary genius is an inspiration!

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