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Ballad of Reading Gaol

Oscar Wilde

Book Overview: 

Wilde’s meditation on capital punishment, the Ballad of Reading Gaol comes after he was convicted and imprisoned under charges of gross indecency. The charges stemmed from his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, the son of the Marquis of Queensberry. It relates the story of an execution of a man who murdered his wife which Wilde witnessed during his internment.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .And sweated on the mill: But in the heart of every man Terror was lying still. So still it lay that every day Crawled like a weed-clogged wave: And we forgot the bitter lot That waits for fool and knave, Till once, as we tramped in from work, We passed an open grave. With yawning mouth the yellow hole Gaped for a living thing; The very mud cried out for blood To the thirsty asphalte ring: And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair Some prisoner had to swing. Right in we went, with soul intent On Death and Dread and Doom: The hangman, with his little bag, Went shuffling through the gloom And each man trembled as he crept Into his numbered tomb. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is my 4th time to read Oscar Wilde and the more I read his works, the more he becomes one of my favorite writers.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was a married man and he had two children. Yet, he had homosexual affairs. His sexual preference, considered lewd and taboo during the Victorian era, led h...more

Oscar Wilde escribió "La Balada de la cárcel de Reading" precisamente cuando todavía estaba en prisión, luego de ser sentenciado a dos años de trabajos forzados por sodomía en 1895 y otros cargos que asumió a partir de hacer pública su condición de homosexual, perdiendo un juicio contra el padre...more

Kitabı ilk olarak Everest baskısından Oğuz Baykara çevirisi ile okudum. Başlarda bana güzel gelen ağdalı çevirisi ilerledikçe beni yormaya başladı ve kitaptan aldığım zevk azaldı. Kitap bittikten sonra internetten Dedalus baskısını buldum. Birde Piyale Perver çevirisi ile okudum kitabı. Ve inanıl...more

"Herkes öldürür sevdiğini" kısmına geldiğimde birden Tuncel Kurtiz'in sesi belirdi zihnimde.

No auge de sua carreira literária, Oscar Wilde processou um Marquês que lhe caluniava .O Marquês inverteu o processo e Oscar Wilde acabou indo para a prisão. Lá ele escreveu o  seu mais belo poema onde ele procura entender porque o próprio homem se destrói porque o homem destrói aquilo que mais a...more

“Some love too little, some too long, Some sell, and others buy; Some do the deed with many tears, And some without a sigh: For each man kills the thing he loves, Yet each man does not die...

Not a person who finds appeal in a poems often. But this, this is something else. This is the song of de...more

This is definitely not the Wilde many people are familiar with- here he eschews the characteristic wit in favour of a sorrowful, dark lament about prison life and the concept of prison in general. This poem isn't in the vein of some of Wilde's more well-known works and honestly, it's all the bett...more

And all men kill the thing they love,
By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Oscar Wilde will never cease to impress me. This poem in one word is a masterpiece. Oscar was a genius.

The very name Oscar Wilde is synonymous with wit and intelligence, and of course the best that the Victorian literature has to offer. But this is not the whole story, as most of us know, Wilde was convicted of homosexual offences in 1895 and sentenced to two years' hard labour in prison. For a ma...more

The list of writers from the Victorian Era features some of the greatest of all time. From Dickens and Thackeray, to Browning and Tennyson, to Eliot and the Brontes. But the most interesting of the lot for me would be Oscar Wilde, the one I would most like to meet if I could. What a brilliant wri...more

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