Book Review: The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

1 Sentence Summary: Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost” is a delightful blend of humor and romance that tells the story of a dashing American family’s encounter with a bumbling British ghost, challenging the very essence of the supernatural.

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

TitleThe Canterville Ghost
AuthorOscar Wilde
GenreClassics, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror
Publication DateJanuary 1, 1887
Length87 pages

Where to Purchase

Book Summary

Allow me to whisk you away to the enchanting world of Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost.” Set in the idyllic English countryside, this novella offers a delightful twist on the traditional ghost story, infusing it with Wilde’s signature wit, charm, and a dash of romantic allure.

The tale begins when the Otis family, a wealthy American clan, purchases Canterville Chase, an ancient English manor complete with a resident ghost—the eponymous Canterville Ghost. But the Otises are not your typical, easily frightened occupants. Instead, they bring their pragmatic American sensibilities with them, treating the ghostly apparitions with a blend of skepticism and humor.

Sir Simon, the ghost in question, is far from the menacing and terrifying specter one might expect. Instead, he’s a somewhat bumbling, tragic figure who has been haunting Canterville Chase for centuries, unable to find peace. The Otises’ nonchalant reaction to his attempts to scare them becomes a source of great frustration for Sir Simon.

Amidst the playful banter and humorous encounters between the family and the ghost, romance blooms between the Otises’ teenage daughter, Virginia, and the spectral Sir Simon. Virginia’s kindness and compassion ignite a spark of hope within the ghost, leading to a heartwarming and unexpected twist in the story.

“The Canterville Ghost” masterfully blends elements of comedy, romance, and the supernatural. It serves as a commentary on cultural differences, challenging the notion that the old-world charm of Britain is superior to the practicality of America. Wilde’s keen observations and witty dialogue provide a humorous lens through which to examine the clash of traditions and expectations.

Book Review

Oh, what a delightful and whimsical journey “The Canterville Ghost” by Oscar Wilde is! This charming novella is a testament to Wilde’s unique ability to infuse humor and romance into even the most unexpected of tales.

From the moment I delved into the pages of this book, I was captivated by Wilde’s wit and irreverent humor. The juxtaposition of the pragmatic American Otis family with the bumbling British ghost, Sir Simon, sets the stage for a series of comical and endearing encounters. It’s as if Wilde invites us to step into a world where the supernatural meets the absurd, and the results are nothing short of delightful.

Sir Simon, the Canterville Ghost, is a character who tugs at the heartstrings. Instead of being a menacing specter, he’s a ghost burdened by centuries of fruitless attempts to terrify the living. His vulnerability and frustration make him an unexpectedly sympathetic figure, and I couldn’t help but root for him as he navigated the challenges presented by the unflappable Otis family.

The Otises themselves are a breath of fresh air. Their practicality and refusal to be frightened by the supernatural are a source of constant amusement. Mrs. Otis’s unshakeable belief in the power of Pinkerton’s Champion Stain Remover and Paragon Detergent is a recurring gag that never fails to bring a smile to my face. The Otis twins, on the other hand, are mischievous and resourceful, adding to the playful spirit of the story.

But it’s the blossoming romance between Virginia Otis and Sir Simon that truly elevates “The Canterville Ghost” to a higher level. Virginia’s kindness and willingness to see beyond the ghostly exterior captivate both Sir Simon and the reader. Their love story is tender and heartwarming, a testament to the idea that true love knows no bounds, not even those of life and death.

Throughout the novella, Wilde’s commentary on the clash of cultures is both insightful and humorous. He pokes fun at the rigid traditions and expectations of British society, contrasting them with the practicality and forward-thinking nature of the Americans. It’s a reminder that sometimes, it takes an outsider’s perspective to challenge the status quo and bring about change.

“The Canterville Ghost” is a delightful gem of a novella that I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone in search of a charming and witty read. Oscar Wilde’s ability to blend humor, romance, and the supernatural in such a seamless and entertaining way is nothing short of magical. It’s a story that challenges our preconceptions about ghosts and the supernatural while reminding us of the enduring power of love and compassion. So, if you’re in the mood for a whimsical and heartwarming tale, do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in the world of “The Canterville Ghost.” You won’t be disappointed.


  • Elsie Sandlin

    Elsie Sandlin is a talented content writer and she seamlessly blends her love for reading with her flair for crafting engaging content. She finds solace and excitement between the pages of books, with a particular fondness for romance novels. Reading is not just a hobby for her; it's her favorite activity, a constant source of inspiration and joy. With a soft spot for love stories, Elsie has a discerning eye for the nuances that make each romance book unique and enthralling. Her reviews are not only insightful but also resonate with the hopes and dreams of readers who seek escape and connection through these tales of love. Through her words, she guides readers to the romance novels that are sure to captivate their hearts and imaginations. Elsie's deep and personal connection with the genre lends authenticity and warmth to her writing, making her an invaluable member of the book review team. Whether you're a seasoned romance reader or a newcomer to the genre, Elsie Sandlin's thoughtful recommendations and reviews are your compass to finding books that will whisk you away on romantic adventures.

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