London: James R. Osgood, 1891. First edition. Original pictorial publisher's cloth binding stamped in gilt. Boards generally soiled and spine rubbed; front board slightly bowed. Pictorial endpapers with blank bookplate to front pastedown; bookseller's ticket to lower rear pastedown. Light scattered foxing to preliminaries, else internally clean. A scarce work in any condition, of Wilde's controversial and mature fairy tale selection for children. Housed in a custom clamshell and chemise.
A collection of fairy tales from the famed writer, wit, and aesthete. A House of Pomegranates includes stories of illegitimate princes, mermaids, and hunchback dwarfs. This was actually Wilde’s second collection of fairy tales – he had been writing such stories for years -- after The Happy Prince and Other Tales, published in 1888. A House of Pomegranates was met with some controversy, with many reviewers finding the stories too complex for children. But Wilde clearly had more wide-ranging ambitions, and found it absurd that ‘the extremely limited vocabulary at the disposal of the British child [is] the standard by which the prose of an artist is to be judged…‘in building this House of Pomegranates I had about as much intention of pleasing the British child as I had of pleasing the British public’ “Mr. Wilde is in sympathy with the somber magnificence of old Spain…The make-up of the book is exceptionally good” (Contemporary Review, New York Times). Very Good + (Item #3437)