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Complete Poetry (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 25 Jun 2009


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Complete Poetry (Oxford World's Classics) + The Complete Short Stories (Oxford World's Classics) + Oscar Wilde's Wit and Wisdom: A Book of Quotations (Dover Thrift Editions)
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About the Author

Isobel Murray is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Aberdeen. She has edited four previous editions of Wilde's work for OUP, including Oxford Authors, Oscar Wilde, and published mant articles on his work.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Slim Evocation to the Muse of Poesy 9 Jan 2010
By Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, Esq. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Oscar Wilde's first book was a collection of his poetry, and perhaps it was as a poet that Wilde thought of himself at the end of life. His last published work during his life time was "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," and in DE PROFUNDIS -- the letter he wrote in prison -- he seems to identify himself more with poets than martyrs (despite his statement that "...the secret of life is suffering..."). His early poetry was condemned as the work of a plagiarist, and yet it contains much beauty -- but (strangely?) little if any of his famous wit. He wrote several sonnets, including the following, one of my favourites:
"Helas!"
To drift with every passion till my soul
Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play,
Is it for this that I have given away
Mine ancient wisdom, and austere control?
Methinks my life is a twice-written scroll
Scrawled over on some boyish holiday
With idle songs for pipe and virelay,
Which do but mar the secret of the whole.
Surely there was a time I might have trod
The sunlit heights, and from life's dissonance
Struck one clear chord to reach the ears of God:
Is that time dead? lo! with a little rod
I did but touch the honey of romance --
And must I lose a soul's inheritance?

Micheal MacLiammoir recited this in his one-man show concerning Wilde's Life and Work, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING OSCAR, and he recited it as smooth poetic prose, and as such it sounded like natural language, despite its strict poetic form.

Perhaps my favourite poem of all time is "The Harlot's House," a work that is strange and evocative. There are many audio/visual renditions of the poem on YouTube, some of which are quite wonderful. I am less impressed with "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," which seems to me too long; yet one cannot doubt the sincerity of its source and message. This is a great wee book. Editor Isobel Murray has included a fascinating introduction and copious notes.
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