Dorian is a good-natured young man until he discovers the power of his own exceptional beauty. As he gradually sinks deep into a frivolous, glamorous world of selfish luxury, he apparently remains physically unchanged by the stresses of his corrupt lifestyle and untouched by age. But up in his attic, hidden behind a curtain, his portrait tells a different story.
First published in 1890 in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine and the following year in novel form, The Picture of Dorian Gray categorically changed Victorian Britain and the landscape of literature. An ostentatious, self-confessed aesthete, known for his wit and intellect, Wilde not only had to endure his prose being labeled "poisonous" and "vulgar," but also suffer its use as evidence in the ensuing trial, resulting in his eventual imprisonment for crimes of "gross indecency." Frankel's introduction provides a deft preliminary analysis of the novel itself exploring etymology and extensive editorial alterations (both accidental and deliberate) and offers valuable insight into the socio-cultural juxtaposition of aristocratic Victorian society and the London underworld. The original typescript provides the unique opportunity to examine what was considered acceptable in both the US and UK at the time. Intriguing annotations allude to Wilde's influences and enterprising range of reference, incorporating art, poetry, literature, Greek mythology, philosophy, and fashion (certain to inspire further reading; an appendix is provided). Comparisons are drawn between Dorian Gray and Wilde's other literary output, as well as to the work of Walter Pater. Numerous illustrations subtly compliment Frankel s inferences. A fine contextualization of a major work of fiction profoundly interpreted, ultimately riveting.
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The Picture of Dorian Gray
The real evil character in this book is Sir Harry Wotton. His theories, though clever and, to some readers may even seem to make sense, are all untrue. The things he says are examples of the subtlties of evil. It's somewhat frustrating to see this character's statements attributed to Oscar Wilde without the proviso that it is actually from a character in his book. I believe, due to the totallity of the message in the book, that Oscar Wilde doesn't adhere to any of the belifs expressed by this character he has created. This book is quite good and quite tragic.
Dark, mystifying, and beautiful
This novel is truly dark with heavy themes and deep issues. I enjoyed it immensely, Wilde's narrative was truly compelling, and the characters were original. Witty dialogue helped keep the story lively, and almost comic at times. A great classic, but one that needs to be read with discernment lest the reader be enticed by the darkness in beauty and shallowness of pleasure. A great deal can be learned from this book if you choose to ponder it.
After finishing this book, it's so clear that nothing comes close to the classics. It's 824 pages on iPhone but it goes by in two afternoons. Wilde was a genius and it's a tragedy that he never had the time or health for another novel. And the best part… it's free! No excuse to leave this one untouched!