The Triumph of Vice and Other Stories

By W.S. Gilbert

ISBN: 9781847497543

288 pages


RRP: £8.99 £7.19

Gilbert’s libretti of the comic operas composed by Arthur Sullivan are hugely well known, and lines such as “let the punishment fit the crime” have entered the English lexicon – but his short stories also deserve to be rediscovered by the modern reader. This collection, carefully curated by the secretary of the W.S. Gilbert Society, brings together the best of these sharp, clever, comical tales – many of which are published here for the first time since their first appearance in ephemeral magazines – enriched with the author’s own illustrations.

The stories feature many of the powerful motifs so associated with his work – fairies, elixirs, magic – and a wide variety of characters – from burglars to barristers and shopkeepers to gentlemen. This volume is shot through with the observational wit which drove Gilbert and Sullivan’s works to fame, and constitutes a hugely enjoyable companion for fans of the pair’s theatrical oeuvre.

Contains: ‘My Maiden Brief’, ‘The History of the Gentleman Who was Born at an Advanced Age’, ‘The Triumph of Vice’, ‘A Clown’s Story’, ‘A Christian Frame of Mind’, ‘The Story of Old Reginald and the Honest Burglar’, ‘Tom Poulton’s Joke’, ‘The Wicked World’, ‘The Finger of Fate’, ‘The Story of a Twelfth Cake’, ‘A Consistent Pantomime’, ‘An Elixir of Love’, ‘Wide Awake’, ‘The Burglar’s Story’, ‘A Tale of a Dry Plate’, ‘The Fairy’s Dilemma’ and ‘Lady Mildred’s Little Escapade’.


  • [Gilbert’s] lyrical facility and his mastery of metre raised the poetical quality of comic opera to a position that it had never reached before and has not reached since.

    The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

W.S. Gilbert

W.S. Gilbert (1836–1911) was an English poet, playwright, librettist and illustrator best known for the comic operas he produced in collaboration with the composer Arthur Sullivan – including theatre perennials such as The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore.