Penguin Little Black Classic No.59: Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime

LORD ARTHUR SAVILE’S CRIME

BY OSCAR WILDE

lord arthur

Penguin Classics have published 80 Little Black Classics to mark their 80th anniversary. They are beautiful and neat and at just 80p each, instantly collectible.

Naturally, I chose Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime to be the first in my collection. A perfectly wonderful and funny story, easily devoured in a lunchbreak.

Lord Arthur has his palm read at lady Windemere’s party. He is alarmed and sickened to be warned that he is on the path to murder. Hopelessly in love with his beautiful fiance, he vows to commit the crime before they marry, saving her family from the ensuing scandal and disgrace. But who will he choose to murder? Why? How?

Wilde’s story is full of neat twists and of course the Wildean wit is ever present. Great little book, here are my best bits:

The author on Lady Windemere: “She was now forty years of age, childless, and with that inordinate passion for pleasure which is the secret of remaining young.”

Mr Podgers: “Comfort is the only thing our civilisation can give us.”

Lady Windemere: “If a woman can’t make her mistakes charming, she is only female.”

Lady Windemere: “I always like the last person who was introduced to me, but as a rule, as soon as I know people I get tired of them.”

SOUTHSEA BOOKWORM RATING: 9/10

I’m also hoping to collect these Penguin Little Black Classics:

  • Nietzsche – Aphorisms of love and hate
  • Keats – The Eve of St Agnes
  • Marx and Engels – The Communist Manifesto
  • D.H Lawrence – Il Duro
  • Mansfield – Miss Brill
  • Plato – Socrates’ defence
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