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The Ballad of Reading Gaol Paperback – June 22, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Woodstock's facsimile series takes a walk on the Wilde side with this poetry duo from 1898 and 1892, respectively. The former volume offers one long poem, while the latter contains about 50 shorter pieces. These reproductions additionally include scholarly introductions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Poem by Oscar Wilde, published in 1898. This long ballad, Wilde's last published work, is an eloquent plea for reform of prison conditions. It was inspired by the two years Wilde spent in the jail in Reading, Eng., after being convicted of sodomy. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 98 pages
  • Publisher: HardPress Publishing (June 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1314390929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1314390926
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Oscar Fingall O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford where, a disciple of Pater, he founded an aesthetic cult. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and his two sons were born in 1885 and 1886.
His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and social comedies Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), established his reputation. In 1895, following his libel action against the Marquess of Queesberry, Wilde was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for homosexual conduct, as a result of which he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), and his confessional letter De Profundis (1905). On his release from prison in 1897 he lived in obscurity in Europe, and died in Paris in 1900.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on May 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Essential for any lover of great poetry, and certainly for any fan of Oscar Wilde is his great poem, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol." Scarcely the only thing he wrote after his return from his notorious 2-year prison term, The Ballad of Reading Gaol is a moving and tragic account of one man's suffering. One could go on and on - writing hundreds of pages in essay form - about the indignities and injustices of prison life, but this goes toward saying it much better than any ivory tower intellectual argument ever could. Wilde, winner of the infamous Newdigate Prize For Poetry at Oxford University, had long been an immaculate poet - an a born writer - but he practically anandoned the form after his marriage and the start of his career as a playwright in the early 1890's (aside from that strange amalgram of a poem, The Sphinx.) And yet, this is almost exclusively the only thing Wilde wrote after his release before his untimely death in 1900. Thankfully, the great artist went out with a bang. The Ballad fuses some of the best and clearest writing I have ever read in the English language with a poetic sensibility and a true and tragic sense of real suffering, thereby creating one of the great poems of all-time.
Many anthologies of Wilde's writings are available, and perhaps buying a book that simply includes this lone poem is questionable. I definitely suggest that you go for a Complete Works if you are new to the author; however, if you'd like a travel-worthy copy of certain smaller works - such as this poem - then editions such as this will serve you well. Besides, this edition has as well those beautiful paintings to go along with it - something I'm sure Oscar himself would've loved.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Deats on January 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Ballad of Reading Gaol is truly a fascinating poem. Wilde's valorization of the tragic murderer, "...each man kills the thing he loves... the kindest use a knife because the dead so soon grow cold", provides a poignant commentary on the transience of love. However, this book is marred by what seem to be terrible typos: "But their were those amongst us all..." "And knew that, had each go his due..." "Mad mourners of a corse!" I haven't read any of the other versions of this poem, and can't tell you if they're better, but for the extra money this costs, I expected more from the publisher. Five stars for the poem, but only one for the presentation because of its errors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Manning III on September 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a classic. It is free. It was written by an acknowledged master. How very late-20th Century egocentrism to be asked to RATE something which has been a dip-and-taste book for decades. I'm a writer, I loved it. I don't give a damn about sexual proclivity, but you may turn up your nose because of the author, no matter the literary merit. I did not treat it as a page-turner, you should not either.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Ballad of Reading Gaol was excerpted in a book of devotional readings I am using for Lent. My interest was piqued enough to buy the whole ballad, which Wilde produced during his imprisonment for homosexuality. I enjoy ballads -- I have a beautiful illustrated copy of Evangeline in my library -- and this has everything one could ask for. There is a central condemned character, and as his execution approaches, the poem describes the effect on the mood of the already despondent fellow prisoners. It is a sober work and not too long, readable at one sitting. The Kindle version works nicely on the screen and is well-edited, without the misspellings that sometimes plague free online content (but sincere thanks to all who are involved in bringing us all those works!)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. P. Russell on April 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a student of Wilde's life and works, I find this is essential reading. Who needs Shakespeare to outline tradgey? Wilde was imprisoned after a second trial (the first was a no decision). He was confined in the horrid English jails for two years. "The wretched prisoner is then left a prey to the most weakening, depressing and humiliating malady.... punished with the greatest severity and brutality. Each and all these things I had to transform into a spirtual experience." The ballad
outlines the horrors he and others endure who are prisoners of conscience. A terrible tragedy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am biased, I love Wilde-- he can be a touch over the op (:D), but he's never dull. This is a long poem... or series of poems etched~stitched~crocheted together (at least in my mind). Mostly 1st person, but other forms are used yet reverts back to author's eyes view. I like to try to put them together in a longer narrative, even if that isn't the way the author intended them... because that is just something I like to do.
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By Kevin Broderick on December 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding piece of literary work especially having regard to the time it was written when cruelty in prisons and in society was widespread
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By Chairwoman MAO on December 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ballad of Reading Goal is my FAVORITE poem of any poet of any time period! "...Because Blood and wine are red and blood and wine were on his hands when they found him with the dead." I read a sample of this years ago and could not get this out of my head, it's haunting! And once I read the entire thing I was in love! Oscar Wilde all the way!
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