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The Canterville Ghost

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
By: (1854-1900)

An American diplomat's family moves into an ancient stately mansion. They're warned by the owner that it is haunted by a most horrifying and gruesome spirit who had once cruelly murdered his own wife. The story progresses with creaking floor boards, mysterious passages, dark attics, clanking chains, and weird howling. Yet, the reader is totally unprepared for Oscar Wilde's brand of tongue in cheek humor as he takes all the ingredients of a traditional ghost story and turns it on its head, and creates a hilarious parody instead of a morbid saga!

The Canterville Ghost was the first of Oscar Wilde's short stories to be published. It appeared in a magazine in 1887 and provides a prophetic glimpse into Wilde's genius for comic timing, dialogue and situational comedy. He had a successful career as a journalist and poet and consequently turned to fiction and drama.

The plot is one that leaves the reader chuckling at every turn. The American diplomat and his family are products of a purely pragmatic culture which has no patience with sentimentality and superstitions. The English mansion is steeped in legends about ancient curses and the diabolical doings of a seventeenth century specter. The Americans believe in a robust, healthy and practical way of life and use all manner of branded cleaning products. The two youngest members of the family called the Stars and Stripes set wicked traps for the ghost, while the daughter Virginia is the only one who can truly appreciate the poor ghost's situation.

The Canterville Ghost revels in stereotypes and mocks at society's typical ways of viewing people and history. Pitting the brash and impertinent Americans against the dignified and aristocratic English provides plenty of room for comedy. The reader comes to realize that the ghosts of the past have no power over the optimism of the present. It is also a tale of the clash between the Old and New Worlds, of new money and old, traditions and modernity. It also portrays the gradual decay of the aristocratic English way of life in the Victorian era and the advent of American heiresses whose untold millions made in a variety of industrial businesses pumped new blood into the dying aristocracy of Old England. However, the genteel good breeding of Lord Canterville and the innocent goodness of fifteen year old Virginia provide food for thought as Wilde creates characters who stand out in their humanity and compassion.

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 11 reviews)

Reviewer: - May 25, 2020
Subject: Centerville Ghost
A lovely story - Well read.
Reviewer: - January 15, 2018
Subject: Great
It was really great to read read this book and it was really great. I hope everybody likes this book. If some people hate this book, I will convince them to like this book
Reviewer: - November 14, 2017
Subject: The Canterfield Ghost
Good reading, the reader has a pleasant voice to listen to
Reviewer: - April 13, 2017
Subject: Excellent
Beautifully read by David Barns, he really does an excellent read and makes each person different-one of the best reads by far
Reviewer: - January 23, 2017
Subject: The canterville ghost
Well read, an enjoyable tale
Reviewer: - August 15, 2014
Beautiful story beautifully read by Mr. Barnes!
Reviewer: - July 3, 2014
Excellent book and wonderful reading!
Reviewer: - September 21, 2013
Subject: Excellent
I luv the story and the reader was great-one of the best readers..please read more books.
Reviewer: - September 17, 2013
Subject: Enjoyable
I liked the story. Good reading.
Reviewer: - September 1, 2013
Subject: Excellent
Excellent book
Reviewer: - March 15, 2013
Subject: Great
I loved the book as well as the reading.

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