13 best books by Oscar Wilde

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Oscar Wilde's books have become a symbol of Victorianism. However, many of them, along with the reality of the nineteenth century, in which the author lived, reflect the problems of modern society. Oscar Wilde is a playwright, philosopher, writer, his works are burning, art, human feelings, aesthetics are sung in them. The author's bibliography is relatively modest, but each creation has become part of the cultural heritage of the 19th century writers. We present a review of the 13 best books by Oscar Wilde.

Rating of the best books by Oscar Wilde

Nomination a place Composition rating
Rating of the best books by Oscar Wilde 1 The Picture of Dorian Grey 5.0
2 The Canterville Ghost 4.9
3 Lord Arthur Savile's crime 4.8
4 Nightingale and Rose 4.7
5 Ideal husband 4.6
6 the importance of Being Earnest 4.5
7 Millionaire Model 4.5
8 Lady Windermere's Fan 4.4
9 Boy and giant 4.3
10 Child star 4.3
11 Happy prince 4.2
12 Salome 4.1
13 Birthday of the Infanta 4.0

The Picture of Dorian Grey

Book rating: 5.0


The novel “The Portrait of Dorian Gray” is considered one of the most famous and influential in world literature. This profound work was enthusiastically received by ordinary readers, but critics considered the story too immoral.

Artist Basil Hallward created a portrait of a young Dorian Gray who loves to admire himself. Once the main character wanted the portrait to age instead of him. After that, a series of interesting and inexplicable events began: first, Dorian meets the hedonist Henry Wotton and falls under his influence. Then the death of his beloved woman follows, and he notices the first changes in the picture – now a young man distorted in an evil grin is looking from the portrait. A change in Gray's character due to bad influence also makes itself felt. The portrait is distorted more and more, although Dorian himself is still handsome and young, despite the passing years.

The story of Dorian Gray has been filmed more than 25 times in different countries of the world. This is a truly unique story that everyone should get to know.

The Canterville Ghost

Book rating: 4.9

The Canterville Ghost

The short story “The Keterville Ghost” has been filmed more than once, and in the USSR a cartoon based on the history of Oscar Wilde was even filmed. The family of the American Ambassador to Great Britain, Hiram B. Otis, drives into the castle, which once belonged to Sir Simon de Canterville. The new owners learn that the former owner killed his wife Lady Eleanor several centuries ago within the walls of the castle, after which the place became cursed, the spirit of Canterville remained captive at the walls of the estate.

Most interestingly, neither Hiram B. Otis himself nor his family are afraid of the ghost, despite the latter's attempts to scare new residents. And only Virginia, the ambassador's eldest daughter, gave hope to the castle for a quiet life, because she learned how to free the ghost.

Lord Arthur Savile's crime

Book rating: 4.8

Lord Arthur Savile's crime

The comedic work The Crime of Lord Arthur Savile is an unusual work by Oscar Wilde. In it, the author glorifies the religion of Beauty, the truth of artistic Imagination, revealing the spiritual essence of the universe, hidden from everyone.

Lord Arthur Savile, the main character of the novel, learns from the palmist Mr. Septimus that he is about to commit murder. He decides to do this before his upcoming wedding. But who should you kill? This is where Arthur Savile's quest begins. Elderly aunt Clementine became the first victim, but, as it turned out, not everything was as smooth as the main character intended. Dean Chichester, the man on the parapet. Will Arthur manage to accomplish the predicted and marry the woman he loves? Is the prediction correct?

The story of the lord's crime was filmed in a three-part film in 1943, then in a Soviet cartoon.

Nightingale and Rose

Book rating: 4.7

Nightingale and rose

The story “The Nightingale and the Rose” is very short, it can be read in literally half an hour. The work is short, but very deep: Oscar Wilde talks about love, about its meaning, about depth, shows how pure it is and how merciless to it the stupidity of human actions. At the same time, using the example of the nightingale, one can see how sometimes lovers are naive, in what dreams they are. Everyone must move towards his own happiness, because everyone understands it in their own way. At what price did the nightingale get the rose, how the student used it … Be sure to read this story.

Ideal husband

Book rating: 4.6

Ideal husband

Beloved by many directors, Oscar Wilde's play 'The Ideal Husband' in four acts is interesting with a rich plot, unfolding within just 24 hours in London. Sir Robert Chiltern, a venerable member of the House of Commons, is hosting a dinner party at his home. The party is attended by Lord Goring and Mrs. Cheveley, who did not get along with the mistress of the house from an early age, which was the reason for the plot. The guest admits that he knows about the 'dark past' of the owner of the house – many years ago he participated in a major scam, which became the basis of his great fortune. Mrs. Cheveley blackmails Mr. Chiltern: in exchange for not disclosing his secret, she asks to do her a favor – to support a scam in which her money is already involved. The hero's reputation is in danger, because he is an exemplary husband for his wife and is very worried about the safety of his marriage. Gradually, as the plot develops, other guests are drawn into this story, and then the wife.

the importance of Being Earnest

Book rating: 4.5


'The Importance of Being Earnest' is an interesting name for such a genre as comedy, because Oscar Wilde, working on the work, wanted to make his reader laugh. The action takes place in London, in the apartment of Algernon Moncrieff, a hedonist and lover of philosophy. The hero is expecting Lady Bracknell's aunt with her daughter. However, his longtime friend Jack Worthing, an opponent-rival, over-fed with his duties, comes to him. In his intentions to escape from everyday life, from time to time he declares that he is going in a younger marriage. Algernon, in such situations, refers to the “always ill Mr. Banbury, who must be visited in the village.” Friends are identically conceited and infantile, and apparently irresponsible.

Jack has long been in love with Lady Bracknell's daughter Gwendolen, but does not dare to confess his feelings, starts a conversation on matrimonial topics, trying to endear the girl to himself, but Moncrief, who takes care of his cousin, is clearly not happy with this. But Bracknell herself comes into play – she is clearly interested in the newly minted contender for her daughter's hand. Everything went like clockwork, but until then, until they talked about Jack's pedigree.

Oscar Wilde's comedy reflects the bright facets of the author's talent: subtle humor, play on words, the perfect construction of an interesting and unpredictable plot.

Millionaire Model

Book rating: 4.5


This work is highly recommended to read to every person. The Millionaire Model is a story about Hughie Erskine, an ordinary young man trying to find his calling. He lived on £ 200 a year, which his old aunt gave him. The main thing in the hero's life was love for the daughter of a retired colonel, Laura Merton.

One day Huey went to his artist friend, when he was finishing work on a portrait of an old beggar. The sitter amazed the main character with his unhappy appearance. Huey sincerely decides to help the beggar at least a little and gives him the last gold that was in his pocket. Then the story takes an unexpected turn.

The Millionaire Model will teach everyone to be merciful. But the main thing is that a good deed must be done unselfishly, without expecting anything in return. Only then can a miracle happen.

Lady Windermere's Fan

Book rating: 4.4

Lady Windermere's Fan

At her own birthday, Margaret Windermere learns from the Duchess of Berwick about her husband's infidelity and that the latter has a chosen one – Mrs. Erlene. The heroine directly asks the man about this, but he does not refute the connection, in addition, he demands from the wife to invite that very Erlene to their ball. Although Margaret is categorically against this, her husband Lord Windermere personally writes the invitation to the mysterious Mrs. The offended woman swears at the guests to insult Erlene in case she dares to cross the threshold of their house. The Lord is in despair: how to reveal to his wife the truth about a secret relationship …

The ball comes, Mrs. Erlynne appears at the celebration and one after another carries the men with her charms, among them was Lord Windermere. Lord Darlington, unable to see the suffering of Margaret, asks her to leave her husband and reciprocate, but she rushes about and is not ready to make a choice. But then the story takes an unexpected turn: the heroine learns that Erlene intends to marry Lord Augustus, and Windermere asks to provide her with a comfortable existence. What happens between the characters? The play has a very unexpected but pleasant ending.

Boy and giant

Book rating: 4.3

Boy and giant

A small but deep story 'The Boy and the Giant' is included in the golden fund of children's literature, although not every adult is able to understand it. The children took a fancy to the giant's garden while he was absent from his estate. However, the returning owner was not happy with the guests and drove them over the fence. But after that, strange things began to happen in the garden: winter was in no hurry to leave the garden, because the giant loved calmness and silence so much, and the spring lacked children's laughter and fun.

The story teaches not only children, but also adults to be kind, considerate of others and mercy.

Child star

Book rating: 4.3

Child star

Oscar Wilde was definitely good at short stories, he put a truly deep meaning in them. The story of 'Star Child' is incredibly instructive: a boy who was once found by a lumberjack in the forest grew up angry and cruel – he did not spare people, mocked animals, even the named father was neither an example nor an instruction for him. Everything is changed by a ragged beggar who comes to the village, who turns out to be the mother of a boy-star, but can a proud young man accept such a relative? But just the refusal to the woman became fatal in the fate of the child, because now he himself has become ugly. He had to go through suffering to find his family, but will he be happy?

Happy prince

Book rating: 4.2

Happy prince

Another tale of the famous classic in our review. The sculpture of the Happy Prince, admiring everyone, stood over the city on a high pillar. Once a Starling flew over the city, setting off on a journey from his beloved Reed, who did not share a passion for the unknown. He stopped for the night between the shoes of the Happy Prince. At night, the bird felt the falling drops – these were the tears of the sculpture, the Prince cried with grief, he could not bear the poverty of the city, despite the pewter heart in his chest. The statue asked the Starling to help people – the feathered traveler brought jewelry from the Prince to people every day: a ruby ​​from a sword, sapphire eyes and other valuable parts fell into the hands of people in need.

Winter came, the Starling never flew to warm countries, but remained with the Happy Prince, who remained blind, but soon died when he removed the last leaves of gold from the sculpture for poor people. The statue became ugly, it was removed from the column, melted down, and the tin heart was thrown into a landfill along with a dead bird. But the Angel picked them up and took them to God, because he asked to bring the most beautiful thing in the city.


Book rating: 4.1


The tale-parable 'Salome' is dedicated to the French actress Sarah Bernhardt. The story is based on the biblical myth of Salome – an incredibly beautiful and seductive dancer, adopted daughter of the Jewish king Herod. The stepfather was burning with passion for his stepdaughter. At this time, John the Baptist (Jokanaan) wandered around the city, foreshadowing the coming of Jesus Christ. It was he who cursed Salome's mother and called the king's marriage illegal, because Herodias is the widow of Herod's brother. In Wilde's play, unlike the Bible, Salome does not try to help her mother take revenge, she, on the contrary, confesses her love to him, she is firmly disposed to kiss, despite the protests of the Baptist.

Meanwhile, Salome's mother is jealous of her husband for her daughter. In response to the dance of the seven veils performed by his stepdaughter, Herod promises to fulfill any desire of the girl, she asks for the head of Jokanaan on a silver platter …

The plot is interesting with interweaving. Oscar Wilde concluded in a parable the ideas of impending inevitable changes in the spiritual sphere of life.

Birthday of the Infanta

Book rating: 4.0

Birthday of the Infanta

The fairy tale 'The Birthday of the Infanta' takes place in the palace of the Spanish crown at the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the crown princess. She plays hide and seek with the children in the park, birds are chirping around, the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, elegant guests have gathered at the holiday. Boys-bullfighters performed for children. But the ugly Dwarf became an unusual participant in the holiday, who was recently caught in the forest, and, as you know, the Spanish public is greedy for ugliness and was delighted with him. However, the monster was not aware of its ugliness, it danced and laughed with everyone, even the Infanta asked the Dwarf to dance especially for her. He was so happy with this circumstance that he fled into the garden to kiss the rose thrown by the princess, because he is in love with her. The dwarf decides to steal the Infanta into the forest and dance every day for her. Inspired, he returns to the palace, where for the first time, by pure chance, he sees his reflection, which breaks his heart.

This is another story about pure and naive love.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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