The Picture of Dorian Gray altered the way Victorians understood the world they inhabited. It heralded the end of a repressive Victorianism, and after its publication, literature had--in the words of biographer Richard Ellmann--"a different look." Yet the Dorian Gray that Victorians never knew was even more daring than the novel the British press condemned as "vulgar," "unclean," "poisonous," "discreditable," and "a sham." Now, more than 120 years after Wilde handed it over to his publisher, J. B. Lippincott & Company, ...
The Picture of Dorian Gray altered the way Victorians understood the world they inhabited. It heralded the end of a repressive Victorianism, and after its publication, literature had--in the words of biographer Richard Ellmann--"a different look." Yet the Dorian Gray that Victorians never knew was even more daring than the novel the British press condemned as "vulgar," "unclean," "poisonous," "discreditable," and "a sham." Now, more than 120 years after Wilde handed it over to his publisher, J. B. Lippincott & Company, Wilde's uncensored typescript is published for the first time, in an annotated, extensively illustrated edition. The novel's first editor, J. M. Stoddart, excised material--especially homosexual content--he thought would offend his readers' sensibilities. When Wilde enlarged the novel for the 1891 edition, he responded to his critics by further toning down its "immoral" elements. The differences between the text Wilde submitted to Lippincott and published versions of the novel have until now been evident to only the handful of scholars who have examined Wilde's typescript. Wilde famously said that Dorian Gray "contains much of me": Basil Hallward is "what I think I am," Lord Henry "what the world thinks me," and "Dorian what I would like to be--in other ages, perhaps." Wilde's comment suggests a backward glance to a Greek or Dorian Age, but also a forward-looking view to a more permissive time than his own, which saw Wilde sentenced to two years' hard labor for gross indecency. The appearance of Wilde's uncensored text is cause for celebration.
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This book may have somewhat of a slow start; however, it is worth reading. There lies within a deeper "moral story" for each of us, who dare to finish this one! An interesting story line, which I have never seen duplicated.
Jul 24, 2009
slow start. difficult reading due to British turn of century phrasing. 2nd half is better.
Jun 2, 2008
'The Picture of Dorian Gray'
this book is a fascinating insight into sin and beauty, crafted from a master of words. Wilde is brilliant and this kind of thing is certainly what he is famed for. it is a book which i have gladly re-read and would read again at any time. i like the way that Dorian is developed over the course of book, how the issues of revenge and love wind their way into the history of the title character. Dorian, as charming and lovely as he is, harbours his wonderful secrets, which serve to thicken the plot and entice the readers. from the first moment of Dorain's fascination, the reader likes him just as the other characters do, yet only we (the readers) are privy to his innermost sins. the writing is more suited to the era it was written in, yet many of Wilde's greatest quotes can - and have - been extracted from it, and it remains today a great novel which anyone who wishes to absorb a little culture should read in their lifetime.
Mar 30, 2008
If you like Oscar Wilde, you will love this work...it is a tragedy of the time in which he lived, but, as with all of his works, there is a definite edge of biting humor to it.
Nov 1, 2007
What Wonderful Wit
What's not to like about Oscar Wilde? As usual Wilde uses the vehicle of a novel (or a play or a short story) to absolutely skewer "drawing room morality" and social intercourse. His biting observations are still relevant and have not been rendered passe by the passage of time. This novel, and really all of Wilde's work, is a target rich environment for aphorisms, as for example when Dorian Gray's friend Lord Henry observes "The only things one never regrets are one's mistakes". This novel tells the story of Dorian Gray who is introduced to us as a naive and beautiful young man. He his sitting for a portrait by his friend Basil Hallward who is nothing less than inspired by Gray and produces one his finest portraits. Basil's friend, Lord Henry Wooten is equally intrigued by Gray but with entirely different motives; Wooten craves the pleasure of corrupting the purity of youth. Upon viewing the completed portrait Dorian makes a wish that he may always look as he does in the portrait and whatever coarseness he would acquire from the vicissitudes of life would appear in the portrait and not in his visage. Through the rest of the book you may follow Dorian's descent into depravity accompanied by the richest satire this side of J. Swift. Read it, quote it at cocktail parties and tell your illiterate friends about it.
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