The two stories in this volume deal with the complexity between ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ beauty by portraying beauty as both the cause of moral degradation and a reward for moral virtues. The Birthday of the Infanta is one of Oscar Wilde’s fantastic and truly meaningful fairytales written for adults rather than for children. The short story is about a hunchbacked dwarf found in the woods and brought to the palace for the amusement of the Infanta, on her twelfth birthday. She very much enjoys the many festivities arranged in her honour, especially the dwarf’s performance where he dances as he usually does in the woods, unaware that his audience is laughing at him. In The Star Child, a star falls from the winter sky into a wood, and there two shepherds find a strange infant. Though exquisitely beautiful of face and form, the Star-Child turns out to be a cruel and selfish boy. This volume (accompanied by an Audio-CD) offers the opportunity to enjoy an original text while learning at the same time. All the activities aim to integrate the various language skills. A final section is dedicated to Wilde’s Aesthetic Views.
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