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This is Oscar Wilde's tale of the American family moved into a British mansion, Canterville Chase, much to the annoyance of its tired ghost. The family -- which refuses to believe in him -- is in Wilde's way a commentary on the British nobility of the day -- and on the Americans, too. The tale, like many of Wilde's, is rich with allusion, but ends as sentimental romance... This is Oscar Wilde's tale of the American family moved into a British mansion, Canterville Chase, much to the annoyance of its tired ghost. The family -- which refuses to believe in him -- is in Wilde's way a commentary on the British nobility of the day -- and on the Americans, too. The tale, like many of Wilde's, is rich with allusion, but ends as sentimental romance...


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This is Oscar Wilde's tale of the American family moved into a British mansion, Canterville Chase, much to the annoyance of its tired ghost. The family -- which refuses to believe in him -- is in Wilde's way a commentary on the British nobility of the day -- and on the Americans, too. The tale, like many of Wilde's, is rich with allusion, but ends as sentimental romance... This is Oscar Wilde's tale of the American family moved into a British mansion, Canterville Chase, much to the annoyance of its tired ghost. The family -- which refuses to believe in him -- is in Wilde's way a commentary on the British nobility of the day -- and on the Americans, too. The tale, like many of Wilde's, is rich with allusion, but ends as sentimental romance...

30 review for The Canterville Ghost

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    The original Wilde Thing does it again... Seriously...how does one not love on Oscar Wilde when he's throwing down the snarky...in this case, and in proper British fashion, against cocky, adolescent-cultured Americans and their starched-lip, tradition-trapped English cousins? A bounty of clever from start to finish, Wilde's tale is charming, engaging and pitch-perfect. For a story less than 30 pages long, Wilde accomplishes so much, using scalpel-like precision in both his language and his plotti The original Wilde Thing does it again... Seriously...how does one not love on Oscar Wilde when he's throwing down the snarky...in this case, and in proper British fashion, against cocky, adolescent-cultured Americans and their starched-lip, tradition-trapped English cousins? A bounty of clever from start to finish, Wilde's tale is charming, engaging and pitch-perfect. For a story less than 30 pages long, Wilde accomplishes so much, using scalpel-like precision in both his language and his plotting to tell a story with a little bit of everything. The funny is considerable, the sadness and softer emotions are amply represented, and the brilliance is ubiquitous throughout. My sole complaint is that I wish it were a bit longer, as I would have loved for Wilde to give himself more time with these people and this setting. PLOT SUMMARY: Briefly, since this is a short story… A family of flag-flaunting United Staters acquire an historic English mansion from the thoroughly prim, thoroughly British Lord Canterville. Throw in a murderous, aesthetically-minded ghost with a penchant for high drama and theater, and you have a classic, joy-inducing tale of clashing cultures, progress vs. tradition, and Wilde’s self-mockery of his own philosophy of decadent aestheticism. And….as an added bonus that few beyond Wilde could have accomplished in this setting, you also have subtler themes of a deeper nature running through the narrative, such as penance, forgiveness, and redemption. THOUGHTS: I am a Wilde enthusiast, though my knowledge of his work is limited to this piece and The Picture of Dorian Gray, both of which I have loved. His prose speaks to me and I find his comedic orientation and verbal bitchiness to be hand in glove with my own sense of humor. His timing and delivery make me smile, whether he's commenting on his countrymen as having "really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language” to the reciting the casual arrogance of Mr. Otis’s response when Lord Canterville tries to dissuade him from acquiring the haunted estate: I will take the furniture and the ghost at a valuation. I have come from a modern country, where we have everything that money can buy; and with all our spry young fellows painting the Old World red, and carrying off your best actors and prima-donnas, I reckon that if there were such a thing as a ghost in Europe, we'd have it at home in a very short time in one of our public museums, or on the road as a show. Wilde’s humor is like a hammer wrapped in silk-covered down. It floats gracefully into your ear and then sucker punches you with its meaning. Here, Wilde even aims his high powered criticism at himself, as the ghost, Sir Simon, is a thinly veiled reflection of the author. Initially, we see Sir Simon, this artisitc spook with flair and panache, as a victim of the boorish Yankees who have invaded his haunt, and who are totally unmoved by any of his scare tactics. They apply stain remover to the recurring blood stains, oil his chains to avoid excessively rattling, and medicate his evil laugh after mistaking it for coughing. For them, he is simply a problem to solve. It seems our artist can't get a break, and Wilde has us sympathizing with the frustrated spectre. But Wilde slowly starts to show us that the ghost is far from innocent. We learn of his previous murders and his complete amorailty and self-centeredness. Wilde slowly closes the trap and we begin to see the truth behind the ghost's genteel facade. One line, in particular, that struck me was when he casually admitted to killed his wife because she "was very plain, never had my ruffs properly starched, and knew nothing about cookery.” It’s almost a throwaway line, but it really drove home for me the character of Sir Simon. Now don’t go thinking based on the above that this is really a serious tale. The humor is steady throughout and I was pretty much smiling from beginning to end reading Wilde's on target wit. ‘What a monstrous climate!’ said the American Minister, calmly, as he lit a long cheroot. ‘I guess the old country is so overpopulated that they have not enough decent weather for everybody.’ It’s just that Wilde adds enough little splashes of depth, of emotion, to make the entire story more resonant and, ultimately, more enjoyable. ‘Yes, death. Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace.’ You can't ask for better than that. I want to make one final comment about Wilde’s skill as it relates to his creative use of the setting. As you read the description of Canterville Chase, you see a litany of characteristics that paint it as the quintessential gothic mansion. Stone gargoyles, secret passageways, paintings of the previous Canterville residents, and even the stereotypical suit of armor as décor-enhancer. Throw in some dark wood and stained glass windows and you have a haunted house cliché that should be gloomy and positively oozing dread. But is it? Of course not…Wilde simply uses this benckmark so he can quickly and effectively turn it on its head. So…I loved this and I thought how Wilde took what started as a satire on the uncouthness of Americans and the stale traditionalism of the English, and turned it into something uplifting by marrying the best attributes of both was inspired. I just wish it had been longer and the story had had a little more time to breathe. I can’t wait to read more of his work. 4.5 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Canterville Ghost, Oscar Wilde The Canterville Ghost is a novella by Oscar Wilde. It was the first of Wilde's stories to be published, appearing in two parts in The Court and Society Review, 23 February and 2 March 1887. The story is about an American family who move to a castle haunted by the ghost of a dead nobleman, who killed his wife and was starved to death by his wife's brothers. It has been adapted for the stage and screen several times. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی و یکم ماه می سال 200 The Canterville Ghost, Oscar Wilde The Canterville Ghost is a novella by Oscar Wilde. It was the first of Wilde's stories to be published, appearing in two parts in The Court and Society Review, 23 February and 2 March 1887. The story is about an American family who move to a castle haunted by the ghost of a dead nobleman, who killed his wife and was starved to death by his wife's brothers. It has been adapted for the stage and screen several times. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی و یکم ماه می سال 2000میلادی عنوان: روح کانترویلا (کانترویل) و دو داستان دیگر (روح کانترویلا، مدل میلیونر، و تصویر دوریان گری)؛ نویسنده: اسکار وایلد؛ مترجم: علیرضا شاهری؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، صدای معاصر، 1390، در 136ص، مصور، شابک 9786006298023؛ موضوع داستانهای کوتاه نویسندگان ایرلندی - سده 19م این داستان، نخستین بار در یک مجله چاپ شد؛ سپس در یکی از کتاب‌های مجموعه داستانهای این نویسنده، با نام «جرم ارباب سویل و داستان‌های دیگر» به چاپ رسید؛ «روح کانترویل» بیش از هر چیز، برای طنز تلخ، به کار برده شده توسط «وایلد»، مورد توجه بسیاری از خوانشگران قرار گرفته ‌است ارباب «کانترویل» پیر، به دلایلی، قصد بر فروش خانه ی بسیار کهنسال خویش، که با نام محوطه ی «کانترویل»، نامدار است، می‌کند؛ خانواده‌ ای «آمریکایی» به نام «اوتیس»، که به وجود روح معروف در آن خانه، باور ندارند، آنرا می‌خرند؛ حالا «شبح کانترویل»، خیال بر ترساندن این تازه‌ واردها می‌گیرد، ولی خیلی زود متوجه می‌شود، که با وجود دو پسر دوقلوی خانواده، اینکار به آسانی امکان ‌پذیر نیست؛ در این بین روح، انواع حقه‌ های ترسناک را، آزمایش می‌کند، تا آن‌ها را بترساند، ولی یکی از اعضای خانواده، میداند که تمام حقه‌ های وی، آبکی است، و به دلایلی طرز انجام تک تک آن‌ها را میداند؛ این عضو، که دختر خانواده است، سرانجام به دیدار «روح کانترویل» می‌رود، تا با او صحبت کند؛ روحی که با گذشت زمان، فرسوده، و افسرده شده‌ است؛ و قصد انجام کاری بسیار عجیب را دارد؛ ...؛ در داستان «روح کانترویلد» آمده است: «آقای هایرام بی اُتیس» به اتّفاق همسر، پسرش «واشنگتن»، دختر پانزده ساله‌اش «ویرجینیا» و دوقلوهایش از آمریکا به انگلیس می‌آید و «کاخ کانترویلد» را از «لرد کانترویلا» می‌خرد؛ در آن کاخ روحی به نام «سایمون دِکانترویلد» که به دلیل کشتن همسرش در سال 1584میلادی، به دست برادران همسرش کشته شده بود، زندگی می‌کرد؛ روح به راه‌های مختلف سعی می‌کرد خانواده «اُتیس» را بترساند، امّا موفّق نمی‌شد؛ روح سرگردان به دلیل مهربانی «ویرجینیا» به وی علاقه‌مند می‌شود و از او می‌خواهد که برایش تقاضای مرگ کند تا به آرامش برسد؛ «ویرجینیا» نیز درخواست وی را قبول می‌کند و «سایمون» می‌میرد، در حالی که جواهراتی به «ویرجینیا» هدیه می‌دهد و «ویرجینیا» طی ماجراهایی درمی‌یابد که عشق قوی‌تر از مرگ است داستان «مدل میلیونر» در مورد مردی به نام «هوگی راسکین» است که عاشق شده و قصد ازدواج دارد، اما پدر دختر مورد علاقه ‌اش، راضی به این امر نیست، چرا که «هوگی» آه هم در بساط خویش ندارد؛ یک روز «هوگی» در آتلیه ی دوست نقاشش، با گدایی درمانده روبرو میشود، و تنها سکه ‌ای که در اختیار دارد را، به او می‌بخشد؛ آن گدا در اصل یک نجیب‌زاده ‌ی متمول است، و محبت «راسکین» را با مبلغی هنگفت جبران می‌کند داستان سوم «تصویر دوریان گرِی»؛ یکی از مشهورترین آثار «اسکار وایلد» است؛ «دوریان گری» جوان خوش‌سیما و برازنده ‌ای است، که تنها به زیبایی و لذت پایبند است، و پس از آنکه که دوست نقاشش از او، پرتره ‌ای در کمال زیبایی و جوانی می‌کشد، او با دیدن آن از اندیشه گذشت زمان و نابودی جوانی و زیبایی، در اندوه ژرفی فرو می‌رود؛ پس در همان لحظه آرزو می‌کند، که چهره ی خودش پیوسته جوان و شاداب بماند، و بجای آن، گذشت زمان و پیری و پلیدی‌ها، بر پرتره ی او منتقل شود؛ پس از مدتی متوجه می‌شود، که آرزویش برآورده شده، ولی یکی از دوستان او، به نام «لرد هنری» کم‌کم او را به راه‌های پلید می‌کشاند، و تصویر «دوریان گری» در پرتره، به مرور، پیرتر، پلیدتر، و کریه ‌تر می‌شود؛ «دوریان گری» به مرور تا جایی پلید می‌شود، که نخستین قتل خود را انجام می‌دهد، او نقاش آن تصویر، «بسیل هاوارد» را می‌کشد؛ او با گذشت زمان، هر روز چهره خود را، در پرتره ‌اش، فرسوده ‌تر و پیرتر می‌بیند، اما راهی برای از بین بردن پلیدی‌ها پیدا نمی‌کند؛ ناگهان، خشمگین می‌شود، و چاقوی بلندی را در قلب مرد درون تصویر در پرتره، فرو می‌کند؛ در همان لحظه مستخدمان صدای جیغ کریهی را می‌شنوند، و به سوی اتاق «دوریان گری» می‌شتابند؛ آن‌ها تصویر ارباب خویش را، در بوم نقاشی می‌بینند، که در کمال جوانی و زیبایی است؛ آنچنان‌که خود او را می‌دیدند، اما بر زمین، جسد مردی نقش بسته است، در لباسی آراسته، و کاردی در قلب، با پلیدترین و کریه ‌ترین چهرهٔ قابل تصور، که تنها از انگشترانی که به دستش بود، می‌شد هویت او را شناخت...؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 13/11/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  3. 5 out of 5

    Swaroop

    A wonderful ghost story! The Canterville Ghost is a delightful gentle horror story. The story's set in Canterville Chase, which for many centuries has been haunted by the ghost of Sir Simon. An American minister and his family moves in, and it is no longer normal for the "resident" ghost. The story is also about how an act of kindness can help even ghosts find peace. This one's a fun read. A wonderful ghost story! The Canterville Ghost is a delightful gentle horror story. The story's set in Canterville Chase, which for many centuries has been haunted by the ghost of Sir Simon. An American minister and his family moves in, and it is no longer normal for the "resident" ghost. The story is also about how an act of kindness can help even ghosts find peace. This one's a fun read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    A Victorian ghost story by Oscar Wilde! 4.5 stars. Wilde deftly combines an occasionally grisly haunting, old-fashioned sentiment, a small droplet of romance, and a large helping of dry wit in this 1887 novella about a rather brash American family that buys a haunted mansion in Victorian England. This story makes fun of some British and American stereotypes of the day, but is oddly touching at the same time. Mr Otis, the American Minister (whatever that means, or meant), moves his family into a A Victorian ghost story by Oscar Wilde! 4.5 stars. Wilde deftly combines an occasionally grisly haunting, old-fashioned sentiment, a small droplet of romance, and a large helping of dry wit in this 1887 novella about a rather brash American family that buys a haunted mansion in Victorian England. This story makes fun of some British and American stereotypes of the day, but is oddly touching at the same time. Mr Otis, the American Minister (whatever that means, or meant), moves his family into a mansion called Canterville Chase, despite earnest warnings from the prior owner, Lord Canterville ("a man of the most punctilious honour"), about the ghost that's been haunting the home for 300 years, since 1584. Mr Otis dismisses the story, stating categorically that there's no such thing as a ghost. The Otis family--the parents, an older son ("christened Washington by his parents in a moment of patriotism, which he never ceased to regret"), a gravely sweet 15 year old daughter named Virginia, and two younger twin boys who would give Red Chief a run for his money--has a surprise coming. There is in fact a ghost and, like a true artiste, he takes a great deal of pride in his work ... you know, appearing in various bloody guises, breaking up engagements, driving people to suicide and such. It doesn't take the Otis family long to admit they were wrong about the existence of ghosts. But the ghost, too, has a surprise or two coming. It's a bit predictable, perhaps, but great fun for a ghost story, and a quick, light and enjoyable read. I love Oscar Wilde's brand of humor. Read it online or download it free here at Project Gutenberg. The illustrated version has some wonderful old drawings.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

    This is Oscar Wilde’s first published story, in 1887, a year before The Happy Prince, and five years after he’d travelled in the USA. It features his oft misquoted line: “We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.” It’s a curiosity: funny, but mostly not in a Wildean way; ghostly, but not remotely scary; overdoing some stereotypes (Americans), and underdoing others (what ghosts can feel and do); not quite a children’s story, but not really an adult one This is Oscar Wilde’s first published story, in 1887, a year before The Happy Prince, and five years after he’d travelled in the USA. It features his oft misquoted line: “We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.” It’s a curiosity: funny, but mostly not in a Wildean way; ghostly, but not remotely scary; overdoing some stereotypes (Americans), and underdoing others (what ghosts can feel and do); not quite a children’s story, but not really an adult one; long for a short story, but too short for a novella. But who needs labels? Hiram B Otis (an American, as if you couldn’t guess) buys an English haunted house and moves in with his wife and four children. They “come from a modern country”, so have no fear, because they don’t believe in ghosts. Idyllic summer “They heard a wood-pigeon brooding over its own sweet voice, or saw, deep in the rustling fern, the burnished breast of the pheasant. Little squirrels peered at them from the beech-trees as they went by, and the rabbits scudded away through the brushwood and over the mossy knolls, with their white tails in the air.” But “As they entered the avenue of Canterville Chase, however, the sky became suddenly overcast with clouds, a curious stillness seemed to hold the atmosphere, a great flight of rooks passed silently over their heads, and, before they reached the house, some big drops of rain had fallen.” Pragmatism There’s a bloodstain on the floor which allegedly cannot be removed, but it succumbs to the power of Pinkerton’s Champion Stain Remover. Only to reappear next day. The rational mindset prevails. Even when an encounter forces reluctant belief, they are not scared. Seeing a ghost “of terrible aspect”, Mr Otis’ only concern is the noise of the clanking chains, so he proffers Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator, which the ghost thinks insulting. Worse still, three of the children are forever trying to catch him out and trip him up. Literally. They have no respect! Illustration: “I ain’t afraid of no ghost” - Ghostbusters, 1984 Whereas Wilde shows comedy in pragmatism towards ghosts, in 1961, the Chinese Communist party used it for propaganda, as I found when I read Stories about Not Being Afraid of Ghosts immediately after this (see my review HERE). It’s a strange collection! Theatrical The ghost, a veritable ghoul of 300 years’ proud standing, has many elaborate costumes and characters. He is conscientious of “his solemn duty to appear” at regular intervals, and “with the enthusiastic egotism of the true artist… [remembers] his most celebrated performances”. The family’s refusal to be scared, and their active attempts to outwit him leave him humiliated, angry, and vengeful. Slapstick It all turns rather slapstick. Home Alone came to mind, which may be far off the mark, as I’ve only seen it once or twice, many years ago, and no one is alone in this story. Illustration: “He met with a severe fall” Sympathetic villain I started to feel story for this ghost, even though he had murdered his wife: “the very darkness seemed to loathe him as he passed”. Earnest One of the children doesn’t join in the taunting and traps. When she meets the ghost and suggests that “If you behave yourself, no one will annoy you”, the dialogue could be between Jack and Algy in The Importance of Being Earnest (see my review HERE): "It is absurd asking me to behave myself… quite absurd. I must rattle my chains, and groan through keyholes, and walk about at night, if that is what you mean. It is my only reason for existing." "It is no reason at all for existing, and you know you have been very wicked." Illustration: Almond blossom (from van Gough) Garden of Death “You must weep with me for my sins, because I have no tears, and pray with me for my soul, because I have no faith.” Towards the end, the tone changes dramatically. The humour evaporates and is replaced with tears and metaphors. Wilde’s stories of The Selfish Giant and The Nightingale and the Rose came to mind. There is even a barren tree that bears blossoms, and a nightingale. As with those, the ultimate message is that love is more powerful than death. Oddities and links This joke felt out of character: “My father will be only too happy to give you a free passage, and though there is a heavy duty on spirits of every kind, there will be no difficulty about the Custom House, as the officers are all Democrats.” I was surprised to learn that this story has inspired (at least) two heavy metal songs: • "The Canterville Ghost" by Austrian symphonic metal band Edenbridge. Lyrics here and a recording here. • "Dark Depth" by Serbian thrash metal band Alister. Lyrics here and a recording here. • Charles Laughton starred in a film version in 1944, details on imdb here. • Also, Sir John Gielgud in 1986, details on imdb here. I don't think I've seen either. You can read the story, with illustrations, on Gutenberg here. Illustration: “Suddenly there leaped out two figures”

  6. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Great satire about an English ghost being outwitted by some modern Americans (Mr Otis and his family) who bought Canterville Chase. Is there salvation for the ghost in the end? Funny ghost story with many satirical elements (the bloodstain) and fine allusions (e.g. on Fuseli's Nightmare). A real classic with well drawn characters. Recommended for everybody, not only Oscar Wilde fans. Great satire about an English ghost being outwitted by some modern Americans (Mr Otis and his family) who bought Canterville Chase. Is there salvation for the ghost in the end? Funny ghost story with many satirical elements (the bloodstain) and fine allusions (e.g. on Fuseli's Nightmare). A real classic with well drawn characters. Recommended for everybody, not only Oscar Wilde fans.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    I finally got around to reading this. I heard about it as a child and never read it. Oscar is charming and his writing is funny and he tells a good story. There is a horrid ghost in a large Manor home in England. Everyone is terrified of this Canterville Ghost. One day, the Canterville’s sell the home, ghost included to some Americans. The Americans move in and the ghost does not scare them in the least. The blood stain is simply cleaned up day after day. There are two twins who terrify the ghost I finally got around to reading this. I heard about it as a child and never read it. Oscar is charming and his writing is funny and he tells a good story. There is a horrid ghost in a large Manor home in England. Everyone is terrified of this Canterville Ghost. One day, the Canterville’s sell the home, ghost included to some Americans. The Americans move in and the ghost does not scare them in the least. The blood stain is simply cleaned up day after day. There are two twins who terrify the ghost itself and the ghost is so scared of the Americans that he gets depressed and wants to die. I think it’s funny Oscar’s idea of Americans and their brashness and not going by the rules of aristocracy. It is a scary story with humor thrown in and turns the genre upside down. It’s a quick read. I want to read more Oscar Wilde books. I love his prose and style and he has a strong voice. How does one get that kind of confidence? The US is still like the young kid on the block as far as the world stage goes. We are having some teenage growing pains. It’s interesting to see that perspective play out in the story.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Praveen

    What a lovely ghost story this was! This turned out to be the cutest ghost story for me lately.I have read Wilde the novelist, this time his story also made a mark. When an American minister bought Canterville Chase ( A British Mansion), everyone said it was a foolish decision because the place was haunted and there was no doubt in it. But the American minister believed and said that there was no such thing, as a ghost, and I guess the laws of nature are not going to be suspended for the Brit What a lovely ghost story this was! This turned out to be the cutest ghost story for me lately.I have read Wilde the novelist, this time his story also made a mark. When an American minister bought Canterville Chase ( A British Mansion), everyone said it was a foolish decision because the place was haunted and there was no doubt in it. But the American minister believed and said that there was no such thing, as a ghost, and I guess the laws of nature are not going to be suspended for the British aristocracy. Listening to it the owner of the Canterville replied, “If you don’t mind a ghost in the house, It is all right. Only you must remember I warned you.” A few weeks after, the purchase was concluded and the family of the American minister shifted to the Canterville Chase.Then there begins the holy terror of a ghost. There appears a red blood stain in the sitting room which comes again and again, even after wiping it multiple times. An old man of terrible aspect, his eyes as red burning coal, long gray hair fell over his shoulder in a matted coil, soiled and ragged garments with antique cut, wrists and ankles hung with heavy manacles and rusty gyves, appears and terrorises the minister’s family. Many fearful things happened but I was not affrighted as a reader. In fact, I enjoyed Ghost's terrorizing the family. There was an obvious reason behind it. The most charming thing about this story is the wit and humor that is wonderfully incorporated by Wilde in this ghostly plot. Not only this family faces new experiences in this mansion, this strange ghost also faces some odd but very curious experiences with this family that he had never faced, in a brilliant and uninterrupted career of three hundred years. This was a refreshing treat, as a quick read. A delightful story, written in a very witty way. The most delightful and colorful character of the story is the Ghost itself and you can surely fall in love with him.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    The Canterville Ghost is a charming tale, one of Oscar Wilde's best. It is a ghost story, a comedy and a romance all rolled into one, told with the offbeat, rolling wit that only Wilde can tell. An American family moves into a haunted mansion in England, but it is they who torment the ghost with their irrepressible irreverence, finally driving the phantom to despair. The lovely, charming daughter of the family, strikes up a friendship with the ghost, freeing it, with her prayer and tears. It is a The Canterville Ghost is a charming tale, one of Oscar Wilde's best. It is a ghost story, a comedy and a romance all rolled into one, told with the offbeat, rolling wit that only Wilde can tell. An American family moves into a haunted mansion in England, but it is they who torment the ghost with their irrepressible irreverence, finally driving the phantom to despair. The lovely, charming daughter of the family, strikes up a friendship with the ghost, freeing it, with her prayer and tears. It is a tragic tale with a happy ending , a wonderful story for all ages.

  10. 4 out of 5

    SARA A. URIBE16

    Review in English and in Spanish Personally I loved this short novel by Oscar Wilde. When I was little I had the opportunity to see an adaptation in cartoons of this work and I loved it, and thanks to reading this story I was able to relive this story again. I like that it is something dark and that the characters are satirical, since this generates a balance within the work. I recommended it for its landscapes, characters and plots. A + En lo personal me encanto esta novela corta de Oscar Wilde. Review in English and in Spanish Personally I loved this short novel by Oscar Wilde. When I was little I had the opportunity to see an adaptation in cartoons of this work and I loved it, and thanks to reading this story I was able to relive this story again. I like that it is something dark and that the characters are satirical, since this generates a balance within the work. I recommended it for its landscapes, characters and plots. A + En lo personal me encanto esta novela corta de Oscar Wilde. Cuando era pequeña tuve la oportunidad de ver una adaptación en caricaturas de esta obra y la amaba, y gracias a leer este cuento pude revivir esta historia de nuevo. Me gusta que sea algo oscura y que los personajes sean satíricos, ya que esto genera un equilibrio dentro de la obra. La recomendó por su paisajes, personajes y tramas A+.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laysee

    I am no fan of ghost stories but I read a charming review of Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost and decided that I was ready to be spooked in a good way. But I least expected myself to feel sympathy and even affection for the ghost that had haunted Canterville Chase for three centuries. Against advice and repeated warning, Hiram Otis, an American Minister to the Court of St. James, bought Canterville Chase from a British aristocratic family. Otis, his wife, three sons (including a pair of young, I am no fan of ghost stories but I read a charming review of Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost and decided that I was ready to be spooked in a good way. But I least expected myself to feel sympathy and even affection for the ghost that had haunted Canterville Chase for three centuries. Against advice and repeated warning, Hiram Otis, an American Minister to the Court of St. James, bought Canterville Chase from a British aristocratic family. Otis, his wife, three sons (including a pair of young, impish twins) and 15-year-old daughter (Virginia) were greeted by a sudden ominous change in weather the minute they drove up the long avenue to that grand old mansion. They were a modern family and convinced there was no such thing as a ghost. Sorely wrong. I was soon entranced by the ghost’s antics because he had the "egotism of the true artist". An amusing competition of sorts ensued: Otis Family versus Canterville Ghost. That made for fun reading. Oscar Wilde created a ghost protagonist that was predictably evil but unusually lovable. In fact, I liked him better than the Otis family. His flaws and vulnerability were relatable. The most beautiful writing centered on the ghost’s tender relationship with Virginia, which was precious and oddly touching. There was no lack of humor expressed in the understated antagonism between the Americans (the Otises supposedly “brought up on the severe, and …immortal, principles of Republican simplicity”) and the British nobility (the Cantervilles who claimed to “have blue blood… the very bluest in England"). The Canterville Ghost did not deliver a good scare, for which I was glad. It was a witty and delightful "palette cleanser" in between books. Lovely.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    First published serially in 1887, this novella (really more of a glorified short story; in the anthology Classic Ghost Stories, where I first read it, it occupies about 30 pages) was Wilde's first foray into fiction, having previously made his literary mark in poetry. For this reread, I read it online at the Project Gutenberg website, here: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14522... . While the tale is definitely a ghost story --there's no doubt that the ghost is, for purposes of the narrative, "re First published serially in 1887, this novella (really more of a glorified short story; in the anthology Classic Ghost Stories, where I first read it, it occupies about 30 pages) was Wilde's first foray into fiction, having previously made his literary mark in poetry. For this reread, I read it online at the Project Gutenberg website, here: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14522... . While the tale is definitely a ghost story --there's no doubt that the ghost is, for purposes of the narrative, "real"-- it's not horrific. True, the specter is the revenant of a wicked Elizabethan nobleman who murdered his wife (and was then starved to death by her brothers); he brags about having frightened many people to death or insanity over the ensuing centuries, and the haunting comes complete with a supernatural blood stain, clanking chains in the night, gruesome apparitions, and all the appurtenances of the 19th-century English ghost story tradition. But what we have here is, in part, a humorous parody of the tradition, with its features played for laughs. The ghost isn't actually capable of doing any physical harm, and he's helpless in the face of the good-natured American family (the father is the U.S. minister to England) newly renting Canterville Chase, who at first refuse to believe in him, and refuse to be scared by him even after they're convinced of his existence. (Even his track record of malevolence is so over the top that it's difficult to take very seriously.) Wilde was renowned in his own day for his droll wit, and it's much on display here --and adults are probably better able to fully appreciate it than kids are, despite the occasional inclusion of this work in children's ghost story anthologies. Adults are also better able to perceive deeper content, which is there below the surface. Like his contemporary Henry James, Wilde is very interested in exploring cultural differences between Americans and Europeans (specifically Brits, here). Much of his humor is directed at the supposed (and exaggerated, here) provincialism and cultural smugness of Americans, but it's an affectionate teasing; all of the American characters are basically decent people, even the mischief-making twins, and the minister's teenage daughter Virginia is the genuine heroine of the story. Americans are more practical and utilitarian, less constrained to act in stereotypical ways just because it's always been done that way, and more attuned to modernity, than their British cousins. (At the same time, Wilde isn't inclined to totally deprecate the value of tradition and traditional verities; the two nationalities can learn from each other.) He also has a surprisingly spiritual message tucked into the latter part of the story --though unpacking it too fully would involve spoilers. I'd recommend this to all readers who like ghost stories --and even to many who usually don't!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Char

    What a cute little story this was! Someone over at Booklikes recommended it to me, and I'm so glad I followed through. The Canterville Ghost is not scary at all, but it IS funny and as the story goes on, rather pitiful. I found myself laughing at some portions and then all but shedding a tear towards the end. This is a short story which is available for free, or at least this version is, at Amazon, and you can add the Audio for a nominal fee. https://www.amazon.com/Canterville-Gh... What a cute little story this was! Someone over at Booklikes recommended it to me, and I'm so glad I followed through. The Canterville Ghost is not scary at all, but it IS funny and as the story goes on, rather pitiful. I found myself laughing at some portions and then all but shedding a tear towards the end. This is a short story which is available for free, or at least this version is, at Amazon, and you can add the Audio for a nominal fee. https://www.amazon.com/Canterville-Gh...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    In this terrific novella by Oscar Wilde, those brash Americans, the Otis family, refuse to do what the sensible British of good family do, and be scared to death or lose their sanity to a 300 year old ghost. Told in the witty, clever, tongue-in-cheek manner that is so typical of Oscar Wilde, I laughed aloud at several passages, especially one in which the American twins turn tails on the ghost and leave him shaking. The edition I had in hand had some marvelous illustrations done by Wallace Golds In this terrific novella by Oscar Wilde, those brash Americans, the Otis family, refuse to do what the sensible British of good family do, and be scared to death or lose their sanity to a 300 year old ghost. Told in the witty, clever, tongue-in-cheek manner that is so typical of Oscar Wilde, I laughed aloud at several passages, especially one in which the American twins turn tails on the ghost and leave him shaking. The edition I had in hand had some marvelous illustrations done by Wallace Goldsmith in 1906. Sample below: This story has languished on my TBR for far too long, but I needed a short read today and this was perfect to fill another Bingo slot. For some reason, I’ve read a lot of ghost stories this year, but none that was anything like this one. Depend on Wilde to find a way to make even a ghost story an original.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    Americans are brash, tacky, shallow, pompous, and they really, really like to talk about products and shop for products and use products. Odd theme for a scary tale, right? Well, it so happens that it fits quite nicely in the ghost story format. And this is not the only time this has happened. You may not realize it, but I assure you that you already know the general plot and tone of this story: Biiiiiig city Americans (New Yorkers, in fact) move into a somewhat worn-down but charming estate in t Americans are brash, tacky, shallow, pompous, and they really, really like to talk about products and shop for products and use products. Odd theme for a scary tale, right? Well, it so happens that it fits quite nicely in the ghost story format. And this is not the only time this has happened. You may not realize it, but I assure you that you already know the general plot and tone of this story: Biiiiiig city Americans (New Yorkers, in fact) move into a somewhat worn-down but charming estate in the English countryside which is haunted by a guy and his wife who murdered his wife, and all kinds of darkly humorous shenanigans ensue as this ghost attempts to chase the stubborn, pretentious New Yorkers from his home (in a town called Winter River? No, wait, it's England...okay, I’m confused). Twisting and distorting his body in graphically violent ways, wearing any number of "spooky" costumes, moaning and groaning throughout the house at night, and attempting to fake his own gory death in front of one of the children (I am not making this up) are all to no avail, and only add to the ghost’s frustration at his inability to frighten the unwelcome guests. Initially, the family doesn’t buy the whole “ghost” business, anyhow. However, once they come face-to-face with the most meagerly unexplainable phenomena, they quickly assume the stance of “oh, yes, ghosts, naturally” and barely bat an eyelash from then on. Rather than feeling fear or fascination, they quickly disregard the ghost as nothing more than a pest, and try to offer him American products like fancy oils to make his chains stop rattling and special cleaners to remove the blood that he is constantly re-staining the floor with. The youngest children find great pleasure in torturing him in numerous ways that slowly eat away at his self-confidence. The interplay of an increasingly impotent and indignant ghost with not one, but two Macaulay Culkin-esque* beast-children constantly tormenting it with Home Alone and Dennis the Menace-like tricks and traps, and the vain, materialistic parents constantly shoving their modernity down his throat are where the comedic tone of this "horror" story really work best. Fortunately for this sad bastard spirit, the family contains an open-minded and kind-hearted teenage daughter (yes, seriously) who understands the ghost in ways that her family never could, and therefore wants to help him out. This is where the plot veers off from Burton, and this is where I must leave you. To maintain an aura of mystery around this story, let's just say that she gets an A on the big math test and note that I am probably lying. The story is well-written, well-paced, and just plain fun to read. Though my rating may be a wee-bit high, it is only because I am trying to avoid the "judging a work for how good that author can be rather than for the story's own merit" effect. Dorian Gray is one of my favorite books of all time, and I am afraid that if I gauge my rating of this short on that masterpiece of a novel, I would have to knock it down far too low for what it deserves as a stand-alone story largely designed for children. So, yeah. How about we just say 3.666 stars and call it even? *Interesting but useless observation: same mom. Huh.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    What a fun read this was! I'm definitely in love with Oscar Wild works. He combines simple language with wit and humour which is easy to read and which completely holds your attention and leave you in awe once you are done with the reading. The story is about a ghost who had haunted his family castle and who had terrified all his descendants and their associates who was finally outwitted by an American family. Poor Ghost. He was so humiliated as he says to himself that "no ghost in history had e What a fun read this was! I'm definitely in love with Oscar Wild works. He combines simple language with wit and humour which is easy to read and which completely holds your attention and leave you in awe once you are done with the reading. The story is about a ghost who had haunted his family castle and who had terrified all his descendants and their associates who was finally outwitted by an American family. Poor Ghost. He was so humiliated as he says to himself that "no ghost in history had ever been treated in this manner". Underlying this simple fun story, there is a contrast that has been drawn between British and American culture, values and ways of thinking. There is gentle humour on both sides. And amidst the humour, there is also an important message set in the story on life, death, love and forgiveness. All in all, I enjoyed the read thoroughly and had a good laugh.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    This is one of my favourite Wilde stories.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    “But there is no such thing, sir, as a ghost, and I guess the laws of Nature are not going to be suspended for the British aristocracy.” Says Mr. Hiram B. Otis, the American Minister does not believe in no ghost, but he soon changes his mind when he has his close encounter. Even then, contrary to expectations, he is not particularly bothered. The Canterville Ghost is Oscar Wilde turning the ghost story tradition on its head, I suppose it can be regarded as a parody, but it also works well as a ch “But there is no such thing, sir, as a ghost, and I guess the laws of Nature are not going to be suspended for the British aristocracy.” Says Mr. Hiram B. Otis, the American Minister does not believe in no ghost, but he soon changes his mind when he has his close encounter. Even then, contrary to expectations, he is not particularly bothered. The Canterville Ghost is Oscar Wilde turning the ghost story tradition on its head, I suppose it can be regarded as a parody, but it also works well as a charming children’s story for Halloween. Mr. Otis and family move into Canterville Chase, completely unmindful of the warning from Lord Canterville that the house is haunted. However, he is soon convinced by seeing the ghost of Sir Simon de Canterville himself. The first thing he does is to offer Sir Simon a bottle of “Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator” to oil his noisy clanking chains, much to the ghost’s mortification. Soon Sir Simon finds himself the object of bullying and pranks the Otis twins. His continued efforts to scare the Otis family members meet with failure, and humiliation and he ends up being more scared of the living than they are of him. Eventually, Sir Simon is left dejected and depressed, taking to moping in some quiet corner by himself. Fortunately the kindly Virginia Otis, Hiram’s teenage daughter, takes pity on him and befriends him. Aww… Oscar Wilde has a strange notion of the mechanic of the ghostly state, that is how a ghost functions in practical terms. Sir Simon feels out of breath, cold, discomfort and other sensations that you would not expect a non-corporeal being to worry about. He even has a “severe fall, through treading on a butter-slide”. Still, it would be pedantic to worry about such details, if this is how ghosts work in this story then fine. The Canterville Ghost is nice, pleasant, funny, and charming. It lacks the hilarity of The Importance of Being Earnest or the darkness of The Picture of Dorian Gray (also great for a Halloween read), but for children or anyone looking for something Halloweeny to read, just to get into the “spirit” of things, that is not violent, bloody or actually scary in any way, then this is probably the best option. As a ghost story, it is too tame for my taste, but I am always a fan of Wilde’s wit so it made me quite happy. Notes: • The Project Gutenberg e-book of this title comes with wonderful drawings by Wallace Goldsmith (a couple of them are used here). • There is, of course, a free Librivox audiobook version, wonderfully read by David Barnes, thank you. Quotes: “I have come from a modern country, where we have everything that money can buy; and with all our spry young fellows painting the Old World red, and carrying off your best actors and prima-donnas, I reckon that if there were such a thing as a ghost in Europe, we'd have it at home in a very short time in one of our public museums, or on the road as a show.” “Many American ladies on leaving their native land adopt an appearance of chronic ill-health, under the impression that it is a form of European refinement, but Mrs. Otis had never fallen into this error.” “What a monstrous climate!" said the American Minister, calmly, as he lit a long cheroot. "I guess the old country is so overpopulated that they have not enough decent weather for everybody. I have always been of opinion that emigration is the only thing for England.”

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    A fun Victorian read. I do always enjoy Oscar Wilde.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Almost witless. By which I mean this is nearly free of wit. That's a problem for Oscar Wilde, a writer whose career was based on his rapier wit. But I'm sorry fans, I just don't see it in The Canterville Ghost. In this story we have your typical set up where Americans come to the UK, buy up a castle, ghost-included, and then proceed to dash away hundreds of years of well-cultivated English tedium. (And I like their tedium, so that was a drag...) Wilde's commentary on stuffy Brits and cocky America Almost witless. By which I mean this is nearly free of wit. That's a problem for Oscar Wilde, a writer whose career was based on his rapier wit. But I'm sorry fans, I just don't see it in The Canterville Ghost. In this story we have your typical set up where Americans come to the UK, buy up a castle, ghost-included, and then proceed to dash away hundreds of years of well-cultivated English tedium. (And I like their tedium, so that was a drag...) Wilde's commentary on stuffy Brits and cocky Americans is broad and soon played out. All that's left is a sappy love story. Well, that and a ghost story that's used for some good comic effect. The only problem with this part of the story is that recently it's been done a bajillion times. That's no fault of Wilde's, mind you! I don't blame him. But the fact it, these days the old put-one-over-on-the-scary-ghost bit has been done ad nauseam. If only we'd all read this book before being inundated by recent tv and movies... Still and all, this is an Oscar Wilde book and as such it's still good reading even with all of its faults. Yes, I've bashed it good here, but look up there at those shiny three stars. That's a solid thumbs-tepidly-up if I ever saw one!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hirdesh

    Another book from treasure of Oscar Wilde. The way of writing was comprehensive and utterly persecuted. Ghost's different kind of preconception has seen which was awful for him. Brilliant classic book. Another book from treasure of Oscar Wilde. The way of writing was comprehensive and utterly persecuted. Ghost's different kind of preconception has seen which was awful for him. Brilliant classic book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    4.5* I feel so sorry for the Canterville ghost. Sir Simon Canterville has haunted Canterville Hall for the past 300 years. He takes pleasure in scaring all the inhabitants and is very creative and pulls off new disguises to increase the severity of the fear he instills on others. So proud and confident, he walks undaunted until a new rich American family buys the place. The whole family is just unconcerned about his existence and the children find great interest in him, especially the twins who tr 4.5* I feel so sorry for the Canterville ghost. Sir Simon Canterville has haunted Canterville Hall for the past 300 years. He takes pleasure in scaring all the inhabitants and is very creative and pulls off new disguises to increase the severity of the fear he instills on others. So proud and confident, he walks undaunted until a new rich American family buys the place. The whole family is just unconcerned about his existence and the children find great interest in him, especially the twins who tries out new ways to mock his presence. The ghost is deeply hurt and tries all he can to take revenge on the family. An unexpected encounter with Virginia Otis, daughter of the American, changes the course of the story. This book is so funny in the beginning and a little sad at the end. Sir Simon is a very interesting character and his actions and thoughts are hilarious. I loved it a lot.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Isabella

    actual rating: 4.5 stars Not this being the funniest gothic novel I've read!! Americans hazing and taunting a GHOST, SCARIng him and making him feel insecure about his spooky ways eye- This was insanely fun and quick too!! And then there's a definite change in the narrative; it becomes a lot more somber as the ghost starts to think about death, loneliness & the power of love. actual rating: 4.5 stars Not this being the funniest gothic novel I've read!! Americans hazing and taunting a GHOST, SCARIng him and making him feel insecure about his spooky ways eye- This was insanely fun and quick too!! And then there's a definite change in the narrative; it becomes a lot more somber as the ghost starts to think about death, loneliness & the power of love.

  24. 4 out of 5

    JimZ

    A comedic ghost story - the hardcover edition I read was published by Picture Book Studio with very nice illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger. A ghost, who when living, murdered his wife is condemned to haunt the dwelling where the wicked deed was done, Canterville Chase, in England. The new owners/dwellers of the manor, Mr. And Mr. Otis and family, who come from the United States, will have nothing to do with such nonsense of ghost stories initially but later on believe in him. What happens between A comedic ghost story - the hardcover edition I read was published by Picture Book Studio with very nice illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger. A ghost, who when living, murdered his wife is condemned to haunt the dwelling where the wicked deed was done, Canterville Chase, in England. The new owners/dwellers of the manor, Mr. And Mr. Otis and family, who come from the United States, will have nothing to do with such nonsense of ghost stories initially but later on believe in him. What happens between that family and the ghost I cannot tell…because the fun of reading this tale would be diminished. Boo! The story appeared in two parts in The Court and Society Review, 23 February and 2 March 1887. For a review of the story, that gives everything away (so if you want to read the book go to this link afterwards 😊) as well as anything else you might want to possibly know about the book, including movie and TV versions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Can...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    Now that was a good ghost story. It was refreshing. I loved the humor, but there was also pathos. I kind of liked the old crusty Canterville ghost, even though he was kind of evil. I loved how the Otis children turned the tables on him. And how Virginia felt sad for Sir Simon, and helped him to get closure. This is the second story I've read by Oscar Wilde, and I must say, I am very impressed with his writing. His work has a depth, but an airy lightness to it, and a hard to define beauty to it. Now that was a good ghost story. It was refreshing. I loved the humor, but there was also pathos. I kind of liked the old crusty Canterville ghost, even though he was kind of evil. I loved how the Otis children turned the tables on him. And how Virginia felt sad for Sir Simon, and helped him to get closure. This is the second story I've read by Oscar Wilde, and I must say, I am very impressed with his writing. His work has a depth, but an airy lightness to it, and a hard to define beauty to it. Honestly, I can't find the words to really explain how I feel about it. I think that he managed to put so much into this short story, and I was very pleased with the result. I can't believe I waited so long to read Oscar Wilde. Shame on me. If you have not read The Canterville Ghost, I highly recommend doing so. It is free online through various sources.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kaya

    “He made me see what Life is, and what Death signifies, and why Love is stronger than both.” Wilde and I hadn't agreed very well until a few years ago. Today, I can say I'm a big fan of his work and this book is a great example of his talent and wit. It's amazing how many topics can be covered in a short story of only 40 pages. There is humor, morbidity, young love and tragedy. A family from the USA obtained a historic English mansion from the British Lord Canterville. Through the eyes of a mur “He made me see what Life is, and what Death signifies, and why Love is stronger than both.” Wilde and I hadn't agreed very well until a few years ago. Today, I can say I'm a big fan of his work and this book is a great example of his talent and wit. It's amazing how many topics can be covered in a short story of only 40 pages. There is humor, morbidity, young love and tragedy. A family from the USA obtained a historic English mansion from the British Lord Canterville. Through the eyes of a murderous, aesthetically-minded ghost who likes to be a drama-queen, you can read a story about clashing cultures and conflict between progress and tradition, past and future. Sir Simon tries many different approaches to scare his new, stubborn and pretentious roommates but is sinking deeper and deeper into despair. Twisting and distorting his body in graphically violent ways, moaning and groaning throughout the house at night, and attempts to fake his own death in front of one of the kids are all tragic failures and only add to the ghost’s frustration at his inability to frighten the unwelcome guests. Children find great pleasure in torturing the ghost, slowly stripping his self-confidence. Only one of them takes Sir Simon seriously, and that's sensitive and caring 15-year-old Virginia. Their friendship will help Sir Simon leave this dimension after three hundred years of sleepless nights. Then, there's the extravagant humanization of the ghost, who falls and rubs his hurting knees, who is also scared of a fake ghost that twins put in his way. Later he steals Virginia’s colors to paint the bloodstain on the floor and hides in his room full of angst. A very wise step of making readers empathize with him. “We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.” The humor reaches its climax. For a story that's less than 30 pages long, the author accomplishes so much in telling a story with so many conflicting topics, without falling into a trap of not explaining everything. There is forgiveness, redemption and moving on after dealing with obstacles. The end is quite fluffy and touching. “You can have your secret as long as I have your heart." Victoria and her husband shared only few scenes but they succeeded to be very cute. At the same time, they're pure version of first love and healthy, mature relationship that can consequence in a happy marriage, which I hope they managed to have. „Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace." I just love how Wilde mixes melancholy and comedy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    In Canterville Chase there is a misunderstood, unsuccessful ghost, who used to be very successful, until an American family, Otis, moved in. The Americans are portrayed in a peculiar manner. They have a fancy for materialim and American super products, and know nothing about the English etiquette. Wilde emphasized differences in culture by creating special characters and then pitting the "unsophisticated tastes" of the patriotic Americans - patriotic as their children are named Washington and Vi In Canterville Chase there is a misunderstood, unsuccessful ghost, who used to be very successful, until an American family, Otis, moved in. The Americans are portrayed in a peculiar manner. They have a fancy for materialim and American super products, and know nothing about the English etiquette. Wilde emphasized differences in culture by creating special characters and then pitting the "unsophisticated tastes" of the patriotic Americans - patriotic as their children are named Washington and Virginia - against the Brittish esteem of traditions. Spoiler's alert! Thereby, the family haven’t got a clue how to behave when seeing a ghost, nor that it’s not very polite to insult him. The Ghost tries many different approaches, but is sinking deeper and deeper into despair. It all starts when Mr Otis is tired of the noise the Ghost is making - trying to scare them with rustling chains - and declares: ”I really must insist on your oiling those chains, and have brought you for that purpose a small bottle of the Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator”. The self-centred Americans don’t respect him at all, despite all his effords to frighten them, and the fact that he's not able to fulfill his duty makes him depressed. He can't understand their behavior, and, in fact, he ends up being the one fleeing from them. ”There was evidently no time to be lost, so, hastily adopting the Fourth Dimension of Space as a means of escape, he vanished through the wainscoting, and the house became quiet quiet.” My favorite parts were the ones with the blood-stain. It is hilarious, and referred to many times. ”For some days after this he was extremely ill, and hardly stirred out of his room at all, except to keep the blood-stain in proper repair.” ”For five days he kept to his room, and at last made up his mind to give up the point of the blood-stain on the library floor. It the Otis family did not want it, they clearly did not deserve it. They were evidently people on a low, material plane of existence, and quite incapable of appreciating the symbolic value of sensuous phenomena.” ”'...who ever heard of emerald-green blood?' 'Well, really' said the Ghost, rather meekly, 'what was I to do? It is a very difficult thing to get real blood nowadays, and as your brother began it all with his Paragon Detergent, I certainly was no reason why I should not have your paints. As for colour, that is always a matter of taste: the Cantervilles have blue blood, for instance, the very bluest in England; but I know you Americans don’t care for things of this kind.'” What is it with Oscar Wilde that so captures me? I ask myself. Well, first and foremost, his books have an exceptional wit. Second, Wilde had a scary, extraordinary ability to reveal people’s inner nature, that is a fact, evident in masterpieces like "Picture of Dorian Gray" and "The Nightingale and the Rose". Third, Wilde often turned things around, and offered new perspectives. In this piece of work, Wilde’s main protagonist isn't one of the family, often adopted by other authors of ghost stories, but the Ghost itself. Wilde concentrated on his feelings, fears and despair, and the story takes a different turn than you might have thought. It’s not entirely a satire, it's also deeply insightful and moving. The story, as I see it, is really about forgiveness and moving on, something that, interestingly, is examined through a ghost. The ending, where Virginia must weep for him for his sins, because he have no tears, and pray for him for his soul, because he have no faith, was beautiful.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jay Schutt

    A nice little story about a friendly ghost. Well done.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    I do so love Oscar Wilde's words! The Canterville Ghost was a surprise. . . the last work I read of OW's was Dorian Grey, and that was wry, humorous, but I don't remember laughing out loud. The Canterville Ghost was actually funny! Droll and eye-winking filled, chuckle-generating! The ghost's voice says it, but the words are all Wilde's: "We have really everything in common with America now except, of course, language." I googled about trying to understand why this comes up in a Christmas list, a I do so love Oscar Wilde's words! The Canterville Ghost was a surprise. . . the last work I read of OW's was Dorian Grey, and that was wry, humorous, but I don't remember laughing out loud. The Canterville Ghost was actually funny! Droll and eye-winking filled, chuckle-generating! The ghost's voice says it, but the words are all Wilde's: "We have really everything in common with America now except, of course, language." I googled about trying to understand why this comes up in a Christmas list, and it appears to be a favorite to put on in play form during the holiday or winter season, as a nod to or on the coat-tails of all things Dickens during the same time. The imposing, self-confident ghost, Sir Simon, that begins the story with his weary task of chasing off humans is not the Sir Simon you end out with. . . .he seeks out and leans on the purity and reasonable thinking of 15-year old Virginia, after the many slings and arrows of outrageous fortune he suffers at the hands of her twin brothers. She steps up and helps with true reconciliation, returning with new resources and a peaceful future for this redoubtable American family living in the heart of Victorian England. 3.5 stars rounded up for two new book heros: Sir Simon de Canterville, my favorite ghost who is willing to change, and Virginia, a teenager who fearlessly risks and is undistracted by the other side (the garden) and returns to ordinary family life and an eventual happy ending.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn (devours and digests words)

    This was funny, gruesome, macabre and WISTFUL at the same time - all rolled into one little story. Leave it up to Oscar Wilde to write something as genius as this. If you like ghosts, haunted mansions, and silly pranks. Pick this shortie.

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