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O Fantasma de Canterville

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Quando o milionário norte-americano Hiram B. Otis comprou a histórica mansão Canterville Chase, não fazia ideia que estava também adquirindo um inquilino para lá de excêntrico, Sir Simon Canterville, um fantasma que há mais de trezentos anos assombra o local e que está disposto a assustá-los de tal maneira que os leve a vender de novo a casa e irem embora. Mas Hiram pensa Quando o milionário norte-americano Hiram B. Otis comprou a histórica mansão Canterville Chase, não fazia ideia que estava também adquirindo um inquilino para lá de excêntrico, Sir Simon Canterville, um fantasma que há mais de trezentos anos assombra o local e que está disposto a assustá-los de tal maneira que os leve a vender de novo a casa e irem embora. Mas Hiram pensa que o problema deve ser resolvido de forma científica, enquanto a esposa Lucrécia descobre que um fantasma à solta até dá certa originalidade aos jantares que organiza. Apenas sua filha adolescente, Virginia, compreende a tragédia que amaldiçoa Sir Simon e vendo-o sentado sozinho e deprimido, a filha se compadece e oferece sua ajuda na tentativa de libertá-lo do assombro.


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Quando o milionário norte-americano Hiram B. Otis comprou a histórica mansão Canterville Chase, não fazia ideia que estava também adquirindo um inquilino para lá de excêntrico, Sir Simon Canterville, um fantasma que há mais de trezentos anos assombra o local e que está disposto a assustá-los de tal maneira que os leve a vender de novo a casa e irem embora. Mas Hiram pensa Quando o milionário norte-americano Hiram B. Otis comprou a histórica mansão Canterville Chase, não fazia ideia que estava também adquirindo um inquilino para lá de excêntrico, Sir Simon Canterville, um fantasma que há mais de trezentos anos assombra o local e que está disposto a assustá-los de tal maneira que os leve a vender de novo a casa e irem embora. Mas Hiram pensa que o problema deve ser resolvido de forma científica, enquanto a esposa Lucrécia descobre que um fantasma à solta até dá certa originalidade aos jantares que organiza. Apenas sua filha adolescente, Virginia, compreende a tragédia que amaldiçoa Sir Simon e vendo-o sentado sozinho e deprimido, a filha se compadece e oferece sua ajuda na tentativa de libertá-lo do assombro.

30 review for O Fantasma de Canterville

  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 plotting to tell a story with a little bit of everything. The funny is considerable, the sadness/>how 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

    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 mansion 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.

  3. 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; long for a shortline:We 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”

  4. 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 س 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 2000 میلادی عنوان: روح کانترویلا (کانترویل) و دو داستان دیگر؛ نویسنده: اسکار وایلد؛ مترجم: علیرضا شاهری؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، صدای معاصر، 1390، در 136 ص، مصور، شابک: 9786006298023؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده 19 م ارباب کانترویل پیر، به دلایلی، قصد بر فروش خانه ی بسیار قدیمی خود، که با نام محوطه ی: کانترویل، معروف است می‌کند. خانواده‌ ای آمریکایی به نام «اوتیس»، که به وجود روح معروف این خانه باور ندارند، آنرا می‌خرند. حالا شبح کانترویل تصمیم بر ترساندن این تازه‌ واردها می‌گیرد، ولی خیلی زود متوجه می‌شود، که با وجود دو پسر دوقلوی خانواده، اینکار به آسانی امکان‌پذیر نیست. در این بین روح، انواع حقه‌ های ترسناک را امتحان 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. ... ا. شربیانی

  5. 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 British arthat 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.

  6. 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 te 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.

  7. 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 novel 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+.

  8. 4 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. 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...

  9. 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 the English c 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    This is one of my favourite Wilde stories.

  12. 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 charming children’s stor “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.”

  13. 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 an 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!

  14. 4 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 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 5 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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 I grew up. Better said, till last year. 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 USA obtained a historic English mansion from the British Lord Canterv “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 I grew up. Better said, till last year. 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 USA obtained a historic English mansion from the British Lord Canterville. Through the eyes of murderous, aesthetically-minded ghost who likes to be a drama-queen and theatrical, 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 releasing him from his 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 fake ghost that twins put in his way. Later he steals Virginia’s colors to paint the blood stain 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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Cano

    “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 forgive life, to be at peace.” <3

  20. 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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Magdalen

    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 forgive life, to be at peace. Another excellent short story by my favourite Oscar Wilde.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    What a strange little tale this is. It starts out perfectly hilarious, full of all the trademark wit and humor of Oscar Wilde, but halfway through turns into a romantic story about redemption. I absolutely adored the ghost in all his indignation as he realizes that the new owners of his ancestral home are, egad, American philistines who do not appreciate the artistic value of his performances! I don't know what I find more precious, his vow to have his vengeance, or the children who delight in s What a strange little tale this is. It starts out perfectly hilarious, full of all the trademark wit and humor of Oscar Wilde, but halfway through turns into a romantic story about redemption. I absolutely adored the ghost in all his indignation as he realizes that the new owners of his ancestral home are, egad, American philistines who do not appreciate the artistic value of his performances! I don't know what I find more precious, his vow to have his vengeance, or the children who delight in scaring the ghost. Or maybe all the subtext and the sometimes not so subtle jabs at society. Possibly all of it together ^^ But despite all the hilarity of the first half, I actually liked the rather sentimental second half. I'm not going to give anything away, but let's just say it was masterfully done.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I really enjoyed this novella. The Canterville Ghost is a witty tale about a ghost who has the tables turned on him by an unimpressed American family. The story cleverly evokes the most empathy for the murderous ghost. I suspect, but have no proof, that JK Rowling may have read this book before she drew up her ghost characters in Harry Potter. The comedic tones of the human/ghost interactions mixed with twinges of pity and fright are very similar in both stories.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jay Schutt

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

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cherise

    For 300 years Sir Simon has successfully haunted and spooked everyone and anyone residing in his ancestral home, Canterville Chase, then the Otis family from America comes along and suddenly scaring isn’t coming so easily for Simon anymore. I was in love with this story in the 7th grade and I had read and reread it a zillion times during junior high and high school. I had recently purchased a copy of the book as it has been many, many years since I have visited Canterville Chase. Last For 300 years Sir Simon has successfully haunted and spooked everyone and anyone residing in his ancestral home, Canterville Chase, then the Otis family from America comes along and suddenly scaring isn’t coming so easily for Simon anymore. I was in love with this story in the 7th grade and I had read and reread it a zillion times during junior high and high school. I had recently purchased a copy of the book as it has been many, many years since I have visited Canterville Chase. Last night was storming and rainy and it left me in an Oscar Wilde kind of mood, I opened my copy and revisited the story I had loved so. It’s nice to find out the story has lost none of its luster. This tale cracks me up. Sir Simon has a huge repertoire of scare tactics and he pulls out all the stops to spook the Otis family to no avail. The utter frustration the ghost feels in the face of the American’s disregard is absolutely palpable. The harder he tries, the less he succeeds, the more I laugh. Then you have the family turning the tables on him and confronting him in various different ways, each one horrifying to Sir Simon and amusing to the reader. In the end, Sir Simon and the Otis family are indebted to one another for various reasons. Amidst the hilarity and fantasy there is just enough sentimentality and romance to make the tale all the more real and engaging. Oscar Wilde had a captivating imagination and luckily the talent to translate it to paper, I suspect I will reread this a zillion more times in my lifetime. Cherise Everhard, March 2009

  26. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    Read: November 2017 Rating: 5/5 stars, best of 2017 I loved this odd, funny ghost story. A no-nonsense American family move into Canterville Chase; the centuries old home of Sir Simon Canterville - an evil man who murdered his wife and has haunted his descendants, as well as other visitors in the house, to the point of madness. The Americans refuse to put up with any of his antics - demanding he use oil to clean his rusty chains as not to disturb them, using a modern cleaning det Read: November 2017 Rating: 5/5 stars, best of 2017 I loved this odd, funny ghost story. A no-nonsense American family move into Canterville Chase; the centuries old home of Sir Simon Canterville - an evil man who murdered his wife and has haunted his descendants, as well as other visitors in the house, to the point of madness. The Americans refuse to put up with any of his antics - demanding he use oil to clean his rusty chains as not to disturb them, using a modern cleaning detergent to scrub his infamous bloodstain from the library floor, and even treating him as a source of entertainment as the young children of the family lay traps for him and attempt to scare him themselves. Despite the humour, the ending of the story turns out to be quite sweet and poignant, leaving the reader feeling as though the story was more than just a funny joke. Thoroughly enjoyable, and free from Project Gutenberg so well worth downloading.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I really should read more of Oscar Wilde. This really delightful novella, which takes place at the estimable Canterville Chase, recounts the tale of what happens when a practical-minded American family buys a ghost-infested British estate. While gently satirizing both American and British customs (perhaps the Americans a bit more), Wilde provides a very sweet, yes sweet, ghost story, with humor, attempts at minor horror, and shows of love and devotion. Highly recommended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    I feel that I have to start this review almost apologetically by stating that I truly admire Oscar Wilde the person and utterly adore most of his work. Dorian Gray is a bona fide masterpiece, Earnest is immortal, and De Profundis is remarkably moving. I’ve read his stories since I was a child (I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read The Happy Prince) and he is one of the few classic writers whose work hasn’t aged a bit since he died. His books read as freshly today as they ever did because, I feel that I have to start this review almost apologetically by stating that I truly admire Oscar Wilde the person and utterly adore most of his work. Dorian Gray is a bona fide masterpiece, Earnest is immortal, and De Profundis is remarkably moving. I’ve read his stories since I was a child (I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read The Happy Prince) and he is one of the few classic writers whose work hasn’t aged a bit since he died. His books read as freshly today as they ever did because, though he lived in the Victorian era, he was years ahead of his time and thoroughly modern. (It’s said that Wilde was the inspiration for Mr Toad in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, motoring uncontrollably ahead of everyone else!) But, having read his entire canon, I know not everything he wrote was as sparkling as his greatest creations and, unfortunately, the stories collected in this Hesperus Press edition – The Canterville Ghost, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, and The Sphinx Without a Secret – are some of his least enchanting. In The Canterville Ghost, an American family moves into an old English manor house that’s haunted by the ghost of Sir Simon de Canterville who murdered his wife in the 17th century. His brother-in-laws then walled him up alive and his spirit has been clanking through the halls ever since. But don’t let the word “ghost” put you in mind of a horror story – this is in fact a lightly comedic children’s story that very gently satirises the differences between Americans and Brits, namely that Americans are modern and the British are fusty and maybe it’s better to leave the old-fashioned ways behind and embrace the new? After graduating from Oxford, Wilde went on a tour of America, promoting the artistic movement of aestheticism, and it’s very clear that he thinks very highly of that country and its population. The characters’ names in The Canterville Ghost are as American as you can get – the son and daughter are named Washington and Virginia while the twin boys are never called anything other than their nicknames, the Stars and Stripes. The story is told from the perspective of the ghost who is playfully tortured by the Stars and Stripes as he tries to haunt them and winds up an emasculated figure of fun - it’s like a Victorian version of Home Alone! Wilde’s version of a “ghost” though is bizarrely far too physical – Sir Simon treads on broken nut shells which hurt his feet and, after a bucket of water falls on his head, he catches a cold! IS he a “ghost” or an undying man (a la Wilde’s great-uncle’s creation, Melmoth the Wanderer)? It’s also a story that doesn’t possess the famous Wilde wit. If you’re familiar with Wilde at all, you’ll know that he’s best known for his epigrams and he is a genuinely funny writer – look at Earnest for proof. But none of his luminescent humour is present here and he drearily spins out his farcical ghost story much longer than it needed to be. It’s a predictable and unamusing tale – both qualities you wouldn’t associate with Wilde’s writing usually. But, disappointingly, it turns out The Canterville Ghost is the best story of the three! Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime is an even less interesting story featuring the naïve and dim-witted Lord Arthur who, when told by a palm-reader at a party that he will murder someone close to him before he marries, immediately begins to plot who to kill before he proposes to his girlfriend, Sybil. The story is another light satire against the empty-headedness of the British upper classes as well as charlatans like soothsayers and psychics, but it’s presented again in a humourless, repetitive fashion that bores beyond belief. The Sphinx Without a Secret feels like an elongated, weak joke than a short story, which follows a brief romance where the woman appears to be hiding secrets – but really isn’t. Or is she? The real question you’ll be asking is: “Is it over yet?” These stories are being republished in a lovely new paperback edition probably due to the fact that Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are teaming up for the first time in over a decade to star in a forthcoming animated feature of The Canterville Ghost, with Fry as the titular character (who also played Wilde himself in the 1997 biopic). I can only hope the production team borrow aspects of Wilde’s brilliance from his other works rather than rely on the tedious original story. If you are in search of a tremendous Oscar Wilde book, I highly recommend reading Dorian Gray instead.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maricarmen Estrada M

    Delightful. This story is so original and so much fun. It has irony, sarcasm, and the beautiful prose of Oscar Wilde. The ghost is the oddest and most lovely character. His misfortunes made me laugh out loud. After reading this book I think I won't ever feel frightened about a so called "haunted" place. I thought the ending was also perfect for this story. Highly recommended :D

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Wonderful book. It was funny, scary, and sad all in the same book. Highly recommend!

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