Friday, March 18, 2011
The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde
The Reading Life. He hopes to make it a yearly event in time for St. Patrick’s Day. I’m a little late to the party, since I’ve been busy with finals and my thesis. However, I did manage to read Oscar Wilde’s short story The Nightingale and the Rose.
The story begins when a nightingale overhears the Student lamenting over not being able to find a red rose. The Student’s Love told him that she’ll dance with him if he gives her a red rose. The nightingale finds a nearly-dead rose bush, and begs the bush to produce one rose. The rose bush replies that a red rose can only be made with a moonlit song and a nightingale’s blood. The nightingale, then, must make a choice.
This is the first time that I read anything by Oscar Wilde, and I was pleasantly surprised. The Nightingale and the Rose almost feels like a fairy tale in the beginning, and the passages are so beautiful, almost like poetry. It takes a sinister turn in the end, and I wondered what Oscar Wilde’s views on love were. Judging by this short story alone, he seemed rather bitter.
This sample of Wilde’s writing made me want to read more. I intend to read The Picture of Dorian Gray this year, but I haven’t found an actual copy—I might have to settle for the free Gutenberg e-book.
You can read The Nightingale and the Rose here.