The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Introduction by Jeffrey Eugenides  Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he...

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Title:The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author:Oscar Wilde
Rating:
ISBN:0375751513
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:254 pages

The Picture of Dorian Gray Reviews

  • Scoobs
    Oct 02, 2007

    Oh Dorian. Oh Dorian.

    When I first read this book in the fruitless years of my youth I was excited, overwhelmed and a blank slate (as Dorian is, upon his first encounter with Lord Henry) easily molded, persuaded, influenced, etc.

    Certain Wildisms (Wildeisms?) would take my breath away. Would become my mottos to believe in. To follow. To live.

    Lines like:

    "It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

    "But beauty, real

    Oh Dorian. Oh Dorian.

    When I first read this book in the fruitless years of my youth I was excited, overwhelmed and a blank slate (as Dorian is, upon his first encounter with Lord Henry) easily molded, persuaded, influenced, etc.

    Certain Wildisms (Wildeisms?) would take my breath away. Would become my mottos to believe in. To follow. To live.

    Lines like:

    "It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

    "But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face."

    "If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat."

    "Genius lasts longer than Beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves. In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place."

    "You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know."

    Re-reading this masterpiece and coming upon these highlighted lines was possibly more interesting than the book this time. Why had I highlighted these lines? Do they still mean the same thing to me, as they did when I first took note of them, enough to highlight them? I still love all of those lines. But no longer feel so strongly for them.

    Now these are lines that stick out still to me. Or were newly underlined on the second pass through. New Wildisms to mold me.

    "Oh, I can't explain. When I like people immensely I never tell their names to any one. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure. It is a silly habit, I dare say, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one's life. I suppose you think me awfully foolish about it?"

    "Yes; she is a peacock in everything but beauty."

    "Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one."

    "I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects."

    "Ah! this Morning! You have lived since then."

    "what brings you out so early? I thought you dandies never got up till two, and were not visible till five." --A new personal favorite. That I follow very seriously.

    "She behaves as if she was beautiful. Most American women do. It is the secret of their charm."

    'He thought for a moment. "Can you remember any great error that you committed in your early days, Duchess?" he asked, looking at her across the table.

    "A great many, I fear," she cried.

    "Then commit them over again," he said, gravely. "To get back one's youth one has merely to repeat one's follies."

    "A delightful theory!" she exclaimed. " I must put it into practice."

    "Besides, each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved. Difference of object does not alter singleness of passion."

    It turns out that all of these quotes occur in the first 45 pages, except that last one which is right near the end. And it seems most of my reviews end up being mostly quotes from the book itself, but I figure this is what shaped and informed my reading, so I want to share it with all of you. What do you think of it all?

    That said, poor Sybil Vane! Poor James Vane! Poor Basil Hallward! Shit, even poor old Lord Henry Wotton! And Dorian! Oh Dorian! Lead the life you did and for what?

    That's all I am going to say about the book. I don't think I shall read Against Nature, for fear of being seduced like Dorian.

    If you're tired of this review or just tired in general, stop now and come back later. I am going to include two more quotes from the book that truly fucked me up. So much I had to read them at least 3 times in a row. And then transcribe them here for you. The last section, thats the one that did it. Beautiful.

    Here goes:

    "There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray. All influence is immoral-immoral from the scientific point of view."

    "Why?"

    "Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly-that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one's self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry and cloth the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals; the terror of God, which is the secret of religion-these are the two things that govern us. And yet-"

    "And yet," continues Lord Henry, in his low, musical voice,"I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream-I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of mediaevalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal-to something finer, richer than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man among us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sins, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also. You, Mr. Gray, you yourself, with your rose-red youth and your rose-white boyhood, you have had passions that have made you afraid, thoughts that have filled you with terror, day-dreams and sleeping dreams whose mere memory might stain your cheek with shame-"

    "Stop!" faltered Dorian Gray, "stop! you bewilder me. I don't know what to say. There is some answer to you, but I cannot find it. Don't speak. Let me think, or, rather, let me try not to think."

    Whew.

    And:

    "There are few of us who have not sometimes wakened before dawn, either after one of those dreamless nights that make us almost enamored of death, or one of those nights of horror and misshapen joy, when through the chambers of the brain sweep phantoms more terrible than reality itself, and instinct with that vivid life that lurks in all grotesques, and that lends to Gothic art its enduring vitality, this art being, one might fancy, especially the art of those who minds have been troubled with the malady of reverie. Gradually white fingers creep through the curtains, and they appear to tremble. In black, fantastic shapes, dumb shadows crawl into the corners of the room, and crouch there. Outside, there is the stirring of the birds among the leaves, or the sound of men going forth to their work, or the sigh and sob of the wind coming down from the hills and wandering round the silent house, as though it feared to wake the sleeper, and yet must needs call forth Sleep from her purple cave. Veil after veil of thin, dusky gauze is lifted, and by degrees the forms and colors of things are restored to them, and we watch the dawn remaking the world in its antique pattern. The wan mirrors get back their mimic life. The flameless tapers stand where we had left them, and beside them lies the half-cut book that we had been studying, or the wired flower that we had worn at the ball, or the letter we had been afraid to read, or that we had read too often. Nothing seems to us changed. Out of the unreal shadows of the night comes back the real life that we had known. We have to resume it where we had left off, and there steals over us a terrible sense of the necessity for the continuance of energy in the same wearisome round of stereotyped habits, or a wild longing, it may be, that our eyelids might open some morning upon a world that had been refashioned anew in the darkness for our pleasure, a world in which things would have fresh shapes and colors, and be changed, or have other secrets, a world in which the past would have little or no place, or survive, at any rate, in no conscious form of obligation or regret, the remembrance even of joy having its bitterness, and the memories of pleasure their pain."

    Yep.

  • Paula
    Feb 10, 2008

    This book reminded me why I hate classics.

    Like Frankenstein, it starts out with a great premise: what if a portrait bore the brunt of age and sin, while the person remained in the flush of youth? How would that person feel as they watched a constant reminder of their true nature develop? And like Frankenstein, it gets completely bogged down in uninteresting details and takes forever to get to the interesting bits. Seriously, in a 230-page novel, the portrait doesn't even start to change until 10

    This book reminded me why I hate classics.

    Like Frankenstein, it starts out with a great premise: what if a portrait bore the brunt of age and sin, while the person remained in the flush of youth? How would that person feel as they watched a constant reminder of their true nature develop? And like Frankenstein, it gets completely bogged down in uninteresting details and takes forever to get to the interesting bits. Seriously, in a 230-page novel, the portrait doesn't even start to change until 100 pages in.

    And it's so damn flowery. Every time Lord Harry starts talking (and believe me, he likes to talk) he's so witty. Witty witty witty. Ahahaha, you're soooooooo worldly wise and charming. And entirely cynical! You just have a quip for everything, don't you? Look, reader, look. See Harry. See Harry corrupt Dorian. Corrupt, Harry, corrupt!

    I actually ended up skimming most of the book. I really thought about stopping, but I hoped it would redeem itself by the end. It didn't. I should have just skipped to the last page. So to save you, dear reader, the same pain I went through, is the summary of Dorian Gray (spoilers, of course):

    Dorian semi-consciously makes Faustian bargain to transfer all his sins and signs of age to his portrait. He sins and feels guilty about it, but keeps doing it anyway. He finally decides to get ride of the portrait/evidence and stabs the painting. Surprise, it breaks the spell, and he is left ugly, old and dead while his portrait returns to its original form. The end. You can thank me later.

    UPDATE 9/3/12: Since this review is still around and kicking four years later, I thought I might point like-minded individuals to a new parody of classic literature to the tune of Call Me Maybe:

  • Trevor
    Mar 23, 2008

    This is another of those books I’ve been meaning to read for ages and kept putting off. Although I’ve a particularly good reason for putting this one off, as a very good friend of mine, who died a couple of years ago, spoke to me about this book and I was worried that might make it hard to read for quite other reasons.

    He said that when he read this book as a young man it made him certain that he was not homosexual. Now, that in itself was enough to make me curious about the book. This is a book

    This is another of those books I’ve been meaning to read for ages and kept putting off. Although I’ve a particularly good reason for putting this one off, as a very good friend of mine, who died a couple of years ago, spoke to me about this book and I was worried that might make it hard to read for quite other reasons.

    He said that when he read this book as a young man it made him certain that he was not homosexual. Now, that in itself was enough to make me curious about the book. This is a book that could only have been written by a homosexual male and it is a book about homosexuality in very many ways. The obsession with youth and beauty is almost a cliché of homosexual obsessions – though the ‘dandy’, the vanity of men, is much more common now, I think. We are increasingly a culture obsessed with appearance. I wonder if reading the book and seeing this obsession was the thing that convinced my friend he was not homosexual, if that was the thing that made him say, ‘no, that’s not me’. Or rather if it was the expression of desire very early in the book for Dorian Gray by Basil, his painter and ardent admirer, that convinced him.

    Lord Harry is one of those talking desk calendars, in fact, other than Hamlet, I think it would be hard to find a book with more quotable quotes per page. Some of them are deliciously funny and others are just the sort of illumination that a match struck in a dark room makes.

    There were moments in this book, as there are in other works by Wilde, when one gets a feeling of premonition of his fate – it is hard to think of a sadder story than that of the last years of his life, or one that makes more plain how incredibly stupid are societies that punish people for their sexuality. There would be very little I could not forgive Wilde for, particularly after he wrote

    – this book, his only novel, is nearly as good.

    Our sins are not quite displayed as clearly on our faces as is assumed here, but our lives do mark us – it is a pity that in our obsession with youth that we forget how beautiful our scars can be and that love, real love, the love that touches us most deeply, is when another accepts our scars and loves us for them, rather than in spite of them.

    One of the most quotable quotes in this book is an attack on realism in fiction – “That is the reason I hate vulgar realism in literature. The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for.” I understand this is hardly a ‘realistic’ story – I mean, it is really a myth and takes liberties with ‘reality’ so as to comment on the world through the form of a myth – but like all such stories centred on something that is clearly ‘over-the-top’ it is contained in a shell that struck me as remarkably realistic. There was no time when I felt Wilde was calling a spade an implement for cultivation or some such silly phrase. His writing is always clear and to the point. The most ‘flowery’ language is perhaps when he is describing the perfumes Gray becomes fascinated in and seeks to understand ‘what there was in frankincense that made one mystical, and in ambergris that stirred one’s passions’, but even this is hardly as romantic or less real than TS Eliot’s (that most ‘modern’ of writers) “In vails of ivory and coloured glass / Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,” Even at his most flowery, Wilde is hardly ‘unrealistic’.

    I came to this book expecting it to be much ‘sillier’ than it turned out to be. I’ve no idea why I thought this – perhaps because I knew that the central idea of the book was that a man has an odd relationship with a painting in that he stays young while the painting gets old. But the book wasn’t nearly as silly as I thought it would be. I really did enjoy it.

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    Jan 16, 2009

    The Picture of Dorian Gray is a hard book to review. After reading such eloquent, beautiful, and rich writing, I am at a loss for how to command my comparatively paltry ability to use words to express how I felt about this book.

    Forgive me as I go back to AP English for a few moments. I asked myself what were the themes of this novel. Here is my list:

    I will attempt to build my review, in part, around the discussion of these t

    The Picture of Dorian Gray is a hard book to review. After reading such eloquent, beautiful, and rich writing, I am at a loss for how to command my comparatively paltry ability to use words to express how I felt about this book.

    Forgive me as I go back to AP English for a few moments. I asked myself what were the themes of this novel. Here is my list:

    I will attempt to build my review, in part, around the discussion of these themes.

    Dorian Gray was a flawed man who was essentially empty inside. He was very young when this story began, seemingly full of potential. Sadly, he invested all his sense of worth in his external beauty, doing little to grow the inner man; unless you consider his descent into depravity, discovering more and more excesses for the meaningless value of those experiences (since his mentor Lord Henry taught him that experience has no value), yet he was strangely curious as to how they would affect the portrait of his soul. He was not quite a tragic figure, because I could not feel sorry for him. He had made this horrible decision (and I believe he had opportunities to repent of it, which he didn't take), but he chose never to take responsibility for himself. Which leads to the next theme.

    As I said above, I could feel no sympathy for Dorian Gray. Why? Because he never took responsibility for his actions. Being accountable for one's own actions is a crucial aspect of self-development, at least in my humble opinion. If a person cannot do that, they are doomed to eternal immaturity. This was Dorian's fate. It was Basil's fault for painting the picture. It was Sybil's fault for being a bad actress, and making him fall out of love with her. All the people he ruined in his relentless pursuit of pleasure and debauchery ruined themselves. He took no part in their ruination. Ultimately, he even blamed the picture, and sought to destroy it as the only true evidence of his black soul. I feel like this: If you're going to be a bad, selfish person, own up to it. Don't try to act like your sins should be laid at other people's feet. That was the route the Mr. Dorian Gray took.

    Lord Henry was the man who opens Dorian's eyes to the fact that the only thing he has to his advantage is the beauty of his youth, that he should enjoy life while he is young enough to experience it fully. He states that experience is not a teacher, and that men don't learn from the mistakes they make as they live. Your experiences don't count for anything. It seemed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy for Dorian Gray. Instead of realizing how his selfish, shallow actions could hurt and destroy others, he never did do that. He merely went from one fixation to the other, marking the effects on the portrait that he guarded jealously. In the end, there was no value to what he experienced. He was just wasting time (in my opinion).

    Dorian Gray became a voluptuary, lost in sensations. He didn't focus on becoming a learned person, only experiencing what he encountered in his pursuits, wallowing in those sensations; until he grew bored, and moved onto the next one. Lord Henry seemed like a good mentor. A man who appeared so intelligent, with a saying for everything. A witty, entertaining man, who had a reputation for saying utterly wicked things. But he wasn't a deep man. He didn't believe what he said. It was an image that he projected for lack of anything else to do as an aristocrat who had no need to work for a living. Dorian Gray took this as gospel, and took it to the next level. As a result, it made his life utterly meaningless. Sadly, his friend Basil, who was a fairly wise person, was dismissed, and made fun of by Lord Henry. I almost felt like Basil and Lord Henry were the warring aspects of Dorian's conscience, at times.

    What is beauty? I tend to think it's a double-edged sword. We are all attracted to things that are beautiful, that have a physical appeal. But, should we be content with merely a comely appearance, while the inside is rotted? Dorian Gray was a man of such unearthly beauty that people could not believe he was capable of the debauchery he had committed. Those who didn't heed the warnings given to them, came to rue it. Basil, who painted the young Dorian's fateful picture, couldn't accept that Dorian had become such a horrible person. What a sad fate that was for Basil.

    I felt several things as I read this book: interest, curiosity, disgust, sadness, and ultimately, a sense that justice had been done, in a very strange, but fitting way.

    One thing that became very apparent to me as I read this novel, was Oscar Wilde's considerable wit. I imagine he was quite entertaining to be around.

    I have trouble believing that. This was a novel I couldn't dismiss and treat as mere brain candy. There was some message there that hammered away at my brain. I do believe that Mr. Wilde hints at the subjective nature of art (which includes literature). I think that we could all read the same story and take away different things from it. Our brains are so very different, and the pathways are nurtured and developed by our various experiences, and our own values. So, that we will all come away from viewing a picture or reading a story with a hand-tailored message. Maybe that's what he means by saying that an artist strives not to be present in his work. Instead, it is a mirror reflecting the viewer. That makes sense to me, actually.

    At the end of the day, I believe that Dorian Gray led a worthless life. His eternal youth counted for nothing. He never grew as a person, and he used the bounteous gifts he'd been given selfishly. He did horrible things that made it even worse. He was lucky in that he didn't live long enough to count the full cost of those actions. He allowed the portrait to take the weight of those sins intead of letting them rest where they belonged. If anything really bothers me as a person, it's the thought of my time on this earth being wasted. Never having accomplished anything of value. For that reason, I found Dorian Gray to be a very sad man, but I could not feel sorry for him.

    I think this is a thinking person's horror novel. It is a study of how the sins we commit cannot be hidden, even if we lie to ourselves about that. Interestingly enough, Mr. Wilde does not elaborate on what vile acts Dorian committed. We are left to our own expansive imaginations to surmise the bulk of what he'd done. Some people don't believe in such a thing as sin. If you don't believe in sin, how could it have a cost? It didn't matter that Dorian Gray didn't acknowledge his sins. They caught up with him in the end. The horror is how he confronted the consequences of his sins, yet turned away from them, locking that manifestation away in the attic to view with a detached sort of curiosity. The horror is the lives he destroyed, but never felt more than a moment's remorse. Fundamentally, Dorian Gray was an angelically beautiful monster. The horror is that we can look upon beauty, and we can be fooled into never asking what lies beneath it.

  • Stephen
    Mar 15, 2010

    Arguably literature's greatest study of shallowness, vanity, casual cruelty and hedonistic selfishness, Wilde lays it down here with ABSOLUTE PERFECTION!! This was my first experience in reading Oscar Wilde and the man’s gift for prose and dialogue is magical. This story read somewhat like a dark, corrupted Jane Austen in that the writing was snappy and pleasant on the ear, but the feeling it left you with was one of hopelessness and despair.

    The level of cynicism and societal disregard that Wi

    Arguably literature's greatest study of shallowness, vanity, casual cruelty and hedonistic selfishness, Wilde lays it down here with ABSOLUTE PERFECTION!! This was my first experience in reading Oscar Wilde and the man’s gift for prose and dialogue is magical. This story read somewhat like a dark, corrupted Jane Austen in that the writing was snappy and pleasant on the ear, but the feeling it left you with was one of hopelessness and despair.

    The level of cynicism and societal disregard that Wilde’s characters display towards humanity is simply staggering. Despite the dark (or more likely because of it) this is one of the most engaging, compelling and lyrical pieces of literature I have read. The quality of the prose is nothing short masterful.

    I assume most people know the basic outline of the plot, but I will give you a few sentences on it. The three main characters are Basil Hallward, Lord Henry Wotton and Dorian Gray. Basil Hallward is an artist who after painting a picture of Dorian Gray becomes obsessed with him because of his beauty (the homosexual vs. art object love Basil feels towards Dorian are left vague, likely because of the time it was written). Dorian then meets a friend Basil’s, Lord Henry, and becomes enthralled with Lord Henry’s world view, which is a form of extreme hedonism that posits the only worthwhile life is one spent pursuing beauty and satisfaction for the senses.

    Well at one point, Dorian utters the famous words quoted at the beginning of my review and the “Faustian” bargain is struck.

    While this story is often mentioned among the classics of the Horror genre (which I do have a problem with) this is much more a study of the human monster than it is some boogeyman. My favorite parts of the story were the extensive dialogues between the characters, usually Dorian and Lord Henry. They were wonderfully perverse and display a level of casual cruelty and vileness towards humanity that make it hard to breathe while reading. Oh, and Lord Henry reserves particular offense for the female of the species, to wit:

    .

    YES folks...he absolutely did.

    One of the most intriguing quotes I have seen from Oscar Wilde regarding this book is his comparison of himself to the three main characters. He said that he wrote the three main characters as reflections of himself. Wilde said, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry is what the world thinks me: Dorian is what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”

    I was somewhat floored by this as I found Dorian to be a truly stark representation of evil and could not see how Wilde could find an idealized form within the character. When I say evil, I don't mean just misguided or weak-minded, someone bamboozled by the clever lectures of Lord Henry. I found Gray to be selfish, vain, inhumanly callous and sadistically cruel. I intend to try and learn more about Wilde’s outlook on this character as it truly escapes me.

    Regardless, this is a towering piece of literature. Beautifully written and filled with memorable characters and a deeply moving story. A novel deserving of its status as a classic of English Literature. 5.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!!

    P.S. For of audiobooks. I listened to the audio version of this read by Michael Page who has become one of my favorite narrators. His performance here was amazing.

  • Emily May
    Aug 15, 2012

    And so begins this tale of art and sin. I would highly recommend first watching the movie

    starring the wonderful

    , it is a film which takes the audience on a journey through the life of the tormented w

    And so begins this tale of art and sin. I would highly recommend first watching the movie

    starring the wonderful

    , it is a film which takes the audience on a journey through the life of the tormented writer, from the beginnings of his fame to his later incarceration for "gross indecency" - a charge used to imprison individuals when it was impossible to prove sodomy. Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labour and died not long after being freed due to health problems gained during those two years. Looking at Wilde's story from a twenty-first century perspective, it is sad and horrifying to realise this man was indirectly sentenced to death for being gay. The "hard labour" prescribed was carried out in various ways but one of the most common was the treadmill:

    This machine made prisoners walk continuously uphill for hours on end and had many long-term effects on people's health.

    Why do I think it's important to know this? Because, as Wilde claims, in every piece of art there is more of the artist than anything else. And I believe this is especially true of

    more than perhaps any other fictional work I've read. In this novel, Wilde explores the nature of sin, of morality and immorality. The homoerotic undertones between Dorian Gray, Basil Hallward and Lord Henry Wotton are, I think, the author's little expression of his own secret "sins" within his work. Rarely does a work of fiction so deeply seem to mirror elements of the author's life.

    By 1891, when

    was published, Oscar Wilde had met and fallen in love with Lord Alfred Douglas and they had begun a semi-secret affair, by which I mean that many were suspicious of the relationship but didn't argue with Wilde's claims that they shared a Socrates/Plato love that is between a close teacher and student. The idolisation of Dorian Gray's youth and beauty, his tendency to be mean at random, these characteristics all fit with the description and personality of Lord Alfred Douglas. For me, there is no real question as to whether part of Dorian is meant to be Mr Wilde's lover.

    I think if you familiarise yourself with Oscar Wilde, this becomes a very personal novel, much more than just a disturbing horror story where a man sells his soul. But even without any additional information, I think this is a sad and haunting book that tells of the joyful naivete of youth and the sad wisdom of maturity.

  • Barry Pierce
    Feb 06, 2014

    So I read all of Wilde's plays a couple of years ago but for some reason I never read this at the time. This is probably the number one most requested book for me to read. So I read it. Are ya happy now!? ARE YA!?

    I really rather enjoyed this. Well, obviously. I mean, did you honestly think I wasn't going to like

    ? It's by Oscar Wilde for fuck's sake. His prose is like spilled honey flowing across a wooden table and waterfalling onto the floor beneath. The viscous liquid

    So I read all of Wilde's plays a couple of years ago but for some reason I never read this at the time. This is probably the number one most requested book for me to read. So I read it. Are ya happy now!? ARE YA!?

    I really rather enjoyed this. Well, obviously. I mean, did you honestly think I wasn't going to like

    ? It's by Oscar Wilde for fuck's sake. His prose is like spilled honey flowing across a wooden table and waterfalling onto the floor beneath. The viscous liquid flowing slowly over the edge. His plot, perfectly paced, moves slowly as we wade deeper and deeper into Dorian Gray's maniacal life. Over the edge we go as everything goes wrong, there's death, there's pain, there's long conversations about art. We hit the floor as we finish and we see nothing but sweetness amassing around us as we escape from Wilde's prose. Putting the book down you see the light has hit the stream and it glows and it shines and it sparkles and you stand there mesmorised by what you're witnessing and you put the book back on your shelf and feel sorry for the book you read next.

    So, yeah, it's good.

  • Bookworm Sean
    Jun 17, 2014

    I finished reading this last night, and afterwards I spent an entire hour staring into space so I could contemplate over the majesty of this work. It left me speechless. This book is exquisite; it is an investigation into the human soul, the power of vanity and the problems of living a life with not a single consequence for your actions. It’s truly powerful stuff.

    It begins with a simple realisation, and perhaps an obvious one. But, for Dorian it is completely life changing. He realises that bea

    I finished reading this last night, and afterwards I spent an entire hour staring into space so I could contemplate over the majesty of this work. It left me speechless. This book is exquisite; it is an investigation into the human soul, the power of vanity and the problems of living a life with not a single consequence for your actions. It’s truly powerful stuff.

    It begins with a simple realisation, and perhaps an obvious one. But, for Dorian it is completely life changing. He realises that beauty is finite. It won’t last forever. It’s like a flower, temporary and splendid. So if you’re a young man whose appearance is your singular quality, then this is some damn scary news. People only want to be with you because you’re attractive and charming; they want to be near you, and with you, for your looks only.

    So what do you do? How do you retain your singular quality? Well, the answer is simple, you copy Doctor Faustus (

    ) and sell your soul to the devil!

    And this is where the real depravity begins. Dorian’s world has no consequences. Everything he does is attributed to the painting, everything. Any regret or malice leaves him quickly and is transferred to the canvas. So he can’t technically feel emotion for an extended period of time; thus, his attitude becomes one of nonchalance. He becomes a shell, an emotionless creature who can only seek his sin: vanity. He surrounds himself with beauty. His house is full of art, brilliant music and every luxury known to man. You name it. Dorian’s got it. Only through seeking new experiences, these pleasures, can Dorian’s being remain animated. I intentionally used the word “being” for Dorian’s body no longer harbours his soul; it’s in the painting. Everything he does is for his own indulgence; he just doesn’t care what affect his presence has on others. The prefect moment is all he lives for.

    The character of Dorian Gray is an interesting study because he is representative of many things. He shows how a seemingly pure soul can be corrupted if it’s left in a sense of privation and given terrible guidance. Also he is suggestive of the Victorian ideal of the perfect societal image. One must be respectable at all times, and have all the appropriate airs and graces. But behind closed doors, or perhaps even a curtain, anything goes. He is suggestive of the hidden evils of Victorian society as behind the mask was many dark things. For example, the Empire and colonialism to the Victorians was a wonderful thing; it built wealth and structure, but in reality it destroyed culture and subjected peoples to slavery. The same things can be said of child labour, the exploitation of women and terrible working conditions. Everything exists behind a veil of grandeur, and this is no less true for Dorian.

    The homosexual suggestions are practically ground-breaking. Wilde wasn’t the only Victorian author to suggest such things. Robert Louis Stevenson’s

    can be read in a similar vein, but Wilde was much more explicit. It’s not cryptic; it’s just plain homosexual lust for all to see on the part of Basil and (perhaps?) even Sir Henry later on. It’s still rather horrific that Wilde was actually arrested for homosexual acts. Silly Victorians. The novel also shows that despite being corrupted to such a degree, to commit murder in such a terrible sense, Dorian (the Victorian man?) isn’t beyond all redemption. He can still come back from his deeds and end it all. The ending was perfection. This has great allegorical meaning.

  • ❁ بــدريــه ❁
    Oct 09, 2014

    خلاصة الرواية في :

    " جمال الصورة و فساد الروح "

    حيث يمكن في كثير من الأحيان أن يكون الإنسان

    جميل من الخارج لكنه متبجح متكبر خبيث من الداخل ..

    شخصية دوريان و فلسفته تستند على الجمال البسيط لكل الأشياء

    في رحلة تنتهي بالقبح والبشاعة. ذلك الشاب البريء يتحول إلى رجل وضيع

    حين يستعرض جمالية شبابه وحياته من خلال النزوات المتعثرّة والحقيرة

    و ذلك يعكس رغبة أوسكار وايلد في إظهار الحركة الجمالية في ذلك العصر

    وما تمخضّ عنها من تبعات غير لائقة، ويبدو جليًا

    حين وثّق روايته بلوحة اشتهرت حتى أكثر من الرواية ..

    حيث

    خلاصة الرواية في :

    " جمال الصورة و فساد الروح "

    حيث يمكن في كثير من الأحيان أن يكون الإنسان

    جميل من الخارج لكنه متبجح متكبر خبيث من الداخل ..

    شخصية دوريان و فلسفته تستند على الجمال البسيط لكل الأشياء

    في رحلة تنتهي بالقبح والبشاعة. ذلك الشاب البريء يتحول إلى رجل وضيع

    حين يستعرض جمالية شبابه وحياته من خلال النزوات المتعثرّة والحقيرة

    و ذلك يعكس رغبة أوسكار وايلد في إظهار الحركة الجمالية في ذلك العصر

    وما تمخضّ عنها من تبعات غير لائقة، ويبدو جليًا

    حين وثّق روايته بلوحة اشتهرت حتى أكثر من الرواية ..

    حيث تعد الرواية من الروايات النادرة التي نشرت لأوسكار

    في العام 1890 وتوثيق لحركة الفلسفة الجمالية في ذلك الزمن الفكتوري

    كم منا يحمل شخصية " دوريان جراي "

    بداخله غير التى يبديها للناس وكلما قامت

    تلك الشخصية الخفية بتصرف سيىء إزداد

    قبح الصورة فيما نظل نحن أمام الناس

    أشخاص لطيفة بريئة فصورة دوريان جراي

    لدينا جميعًا ولكن يختلف قبح الصورة

    بحسب قبح الشخصية الخفية

    لذا الجمال الحقيقي هو جمال الروح لا

    جمال الجسد أو الوجه ، فالاخير يفنى و

    يزول ، أما الأول يبقى و لا يزول أثره

    كن صادقًا مع نفسك ، كيف هي صورتك ؟

  • Ana
    Nov 02, 2015

    This book is dark unicorns and rainbows. It's chocolate ice cream with cherries on top. It's a pizza with everything on it. It's a fluffy kitten. It's ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day.

    It is absolutely marvellous.

    I couldn't help but include this in my review. Keanu Reeves is the real life Dorian Gray.