"The Ballad of Reading Gaol" is a poem by Oscar Wilde, written in exile, either in Berneval or Dieppe, France, after his release from Reading Gaol on or about the 19th of May 1897. During his imprisonment, a hanging took place. This had a profound effect on Wilde, inspiring the famous line "we all are guilty of killing the thing we love."
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I had never bought an audio-book before, but being a life-long fan of the actor Sir Donald Sinden, when I saw that he had recorded the 'Ballad of Reading Gaol', I thought that I would give it a go. I sat on the train with my eyes closed and just listened to a really wonderful recording. I was transported by Sir Donald's beautiful voice (having seen him many, many times on stage, its not a voice that you forget) and it is one of the most moving and emotional readings of such a dark poem that I have ever heard. I would really recommend this recording to others.
I'm sure Oscar Wilde himself would have loved Sir Donald Sinden's recording of "The Ballad of Reading Gaol". Quite apart from the quality of his interpretation, it's extraordinary to think that you're listening to the voice of probably the only living person who actually knew Lord Alfred Douglas (Wilde's young lover Bosie).
At 27 minutes there's no excuse NOT to listen to all of it in one sitting!
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