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The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
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The picture of Dorian Gray (1891)

by Oscar Wilde, Ton Heuvelmans

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
21,331None61 (4.01)13 / 854
Member:Esther1987
Title:The picture of Dorian Gray
Authors:Oscar Wilde
Other authors:Ton Heuvelmans
Info:Groningen : Wolters-Noordhoff; 208 p, 20 cm; http://opc4.kb.nl/DB=1/PPN?PPN=126517347
Collections:Buitenlandse literatuur, Your library, Gelezen
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891)

1001 books (104) 19th century (490) art (114) British (232) British literature (214) classic (928) Classic Literature (106) classics (777) decadence (90) ebook (121) England (181) English (118) English literature (253) fantasy (186) fiction (2,281) gothic (240) horror (371) Irish (117) Irish literature (147) Kindle (95) literature (525) novel (414) Oscar Wilde (129) own (94) read (251) Roman (90) to-read (266) unread (126) Victorian (245) Wilde (113)
  1. 180
    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (chrisharpe)
  2. 140
    The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (sturlington)
    sturlington: Read Oscar Wilde at his finest.
  3. 110
    The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings by Edgar Allan Poe (WSB7)
  4. 71
    Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (roby72)
  5. 61
    The Stranger by Albert Camus (SanctiSpiritus)
  6. 62
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind (spiphany)
  7. 30
    The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill (OneMorePage)
  8. 30
    Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans (roby72, Zeeko, JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Wie in Wikipedia zu 'Gegen den Strich' beschrieben: "Ein französischer Roman, der den Protagonisten in Oscar Wildes Roman Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray zu dekadenten Ausschweifungen inspiriert, wird häufig als Anspielung auf À rebours gedeutet. Wilde war - wie auch Stéphane Mallarmé - ein Bewunderer des Romans."… (more)
  9. 30
    The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde by Neil McKenna (unknown_zoso05)
    unknown_zoso05: McKenna touches upon what influenced Wilde to write "The Picture of Dorian Gray".
  10. 31
    Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius by Barbara Belford (veracity)
    veracity: Belford discusses both editions of Dorian Gray.
  11. 11
    A fehér tigris by Ervin Lázár (Lucy_Skywalker)
  12. 00
    Shadow Dance by Angela Carter (rbtanger)
  13. 00
    Picture of Evil by Graham Masterton (Scottneumann)
  14. 66
    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (chrisharpe)
  15. 11
    Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello (SandSing7)
  16. 01
    The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares (StevenTX)
  17. 03
    Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber (Joles)
  18. 48
    Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: Heart of Darkness could be paired with Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray or the strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyse by Robert Louis Stevenson. In all three novels the authors depict the struggle of people against the forces of evil.
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English (296)  Spanish (8)  French (6)  German (3)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hungarian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (318)
Showing 1-5 of 296 (next | show all)
I will preface this review by saying that, while I am a huge fan of classics, I am not the hugest fan of pure horror. Thrillers, yes, but horror, no. Nevertheless, this book was recommended to me by someone whose opinion I hold in the highest regard, and since I've heard wonderful things about this classic, I gave it a go.

This is magnificently written. I didn't expect anything less, of course, being that it was written by Oscar Wilde, and I am a huge fan of some of his other works. The language used is rich and flowing with class and beauty. Although you're reading a book within the horror genre, his use of language is almost erotic in my eyes (although not in the way you are all thinking...). I adore his vivid descriptions of the men and the scenery involved, and it really does create such a strong image in your mind that you can picture yourself there without even thinking about it. The dialogue isn't choppy or clunky, and everything just flows together perfectly.

The only thing that let this book down for me, personally, was the plot. Obviously it's horror, and as such there aren't that many psychological twists and turns and figuring out whodunnit and whatnot, which is definitely the thing I like most about thrillers. I continue to admire his other works and rich tones.

This book is absolutely spectacular, it's just not to my tastes personally. Nevertheless, if you are interested in horror novels, I give this book my highest recommendation and I hope you pick it up. ( )
  kerryelizabeth | Apr 4, 2014 |
Despite a hasty bargain with his soul which left him perpetually youthful-looking, Dorian Gray was unable to avoid one heck of a midlife crisis.

I didn't like this book as much as I expected I would, but I did enjoy it. The description is lush, and there's some fabulous dialogue---to be expected from Wilde---some of which is almost entirely gratuitous (like the conversations between Lord Henry and the Duchess near the end), but it's so great, I didn't even mind.

There is a lot about the separation of the soul from the body and if it's even possible to have such a separation. At times, it sounds like a perversion of Buddhist philosophy, like when Dorian says to Basil, "To become the spectator of one's own life, as Harry says, is to escape the suffering of life." It got me thinking about what exactly the difference is between mindfully allowing emotions and physical sensations to go by and completely separating oneself from them, as Dorian does. Of course, the separation in Dorian's case causes him to abandon his non-physical self to corruption and degradation, which isn't really in line with Buddhist philosophy at all.

Dorian muses, "Beneath its purple pall, the face painted on the canvas could grow bestial, sodden, and unclean. What did it matter? No one could see it." What does it matter that our souls become corrupt so long as they remain hidden? But of course, it does matter, both in the book and in real life. There's such a focus in the book on beautiful-looking things necessarily being beautiful in nature (or that it doesn't matter whether someone/something is good or evil so long as it looks good). I think that Oscar Wilde is criticizing the focus on physical beauty and material excess of his own age; with our culture's worship of youth and rampant consumerism, this criticism easily applies to our own age as well.

There were a couple of encouraging bits, though, like when Lord Henry says, "The only artists I have ever known who are personally delightful are bad artists," which was encouraging to me as someone who, though possessed of many good qualities, has never been described as "delightful." It made me feel hopeful for my writing, if the converse is true. Of course, coming from Lord Henry, perhaps I shouldn't accept that as encouragement. He says a lot of things that appear wise but really shouldn't be taken seriously.

But I absolutely love what Wilde writes in the Preface about art and criticism:

"The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.

The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.

Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty."

Next book I read needs to be a lot more positive, though. I think Dorian's incorrigible poverty of spirit may have been responsible for the very hopeless mood I was in all of Tuesday. ( )
1 vote ImperfectCJ | Mar 28, 2014 |
A great story that held my interest to the end, but I couldn't help but feeling that it's a stretched novella rather than a short novel. I think the same story could have been told just as well in half the length. ( )
  tim.taylor | Mar 25, 2014 |
Dorian Gray is a young handsome, wealthy man who is painted by an artist, Basil. He meets Lord Henry, a man that Basil thinks he will be a bad influence for Dorian; and he is right. After a conversation with Lord Henry, Dorian worries about the dissapereance of his young beauty in the future and he pledges for an eternal youth. As years pass by he does not age, but the evidence of his sins are proyected in his portrait which changes with each transgression. He hides the portrait in the atic but his mysterious behaviour and permanent youth and beauty begin to attract suspicion.
  lauragesc | Mar 24, 2014 |
It was an okay book. Not exactly a book that you'll love reading, it's not really something you'll never forget. An easy , classic read. It felt eerie, creepy in a way. I felt sad for Dorian. Maybe he was around too many bad influences (or just one). If he never met Lord Henry then things may have been different. Too bad for him. ( )
  krizia_lazaro | Mar 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 296 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (110 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilde, Oscarprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ackroyd, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beraud, JeanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brassinga, AnnekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bristow, JosephEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Callow, SimonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calzini, RaffaeleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cauti, CamilleIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clark, Emma ChichesterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corcos, LucilleIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crossley, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drew, John M LIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eugenides, JeffreyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaulke, JohannesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gómez de la Serna, JulioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gullvåg, HåkonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heuvelmans, TonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, GarethDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaila, KaiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
König, Eva-MariaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kosztolányi, DezsőTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manso, LeoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathias, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maurois, AndréIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mighall, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morgan, JohnDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murray, Isobel M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Naugrette, Jean-PierreIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Novák, Jiří ZdeněkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nuis, AadAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Page, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piglia, PaolaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, TonyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sheen, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shi, YuanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toledo, RubenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trugo, LuiIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Welsh, IrvineIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, EdmundIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winwar, FrancesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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First words
The studio was filled with the rich odor of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amid the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink flowering thorn.
La fragancia de las rosas llenaba el estudio y, al soplar entre los árboles del jardín la suave brisa estival, entraba por la puerta abierta el fuerte olor de las lilas o el perfume más sutil del rosado espino en flor.
Quotations
'Your rank and wealth, Harry; my brains, such as they are -- my art, whatever it may be worth; Dorian Gray's good looks -- we shall all suffer for what the gods have given us, suffer terribly.'
'Harry,' said Basil Hallward, looking him straight in the face, 'every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself. The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul.'
He played with the idea and grew willful; tossed it into the air and transformed it; let it escape and recaptured it; made it iridescent with fancy and winged it with paradox. The praise of folly, as he went on, soared into a philosophy, and Philosophy herself became young, and catching the mad music of pleasure, wearing, one might fancy, her wine-stained robe and wreath of ivy, danced like a Bacchante over the hills of life, and mocked the slow Silenus for being sober. Facts fled before her like frightened forest things. Her white feet trod the huge press at which wise Omar sits, till the seething grape-juice rose round her bare limbs in waves of purple bubbles, or crawled in red foam over the vat's black, dripping, sloping sides. It was an extraordinary improvisation. He felt that the eyes of Dorian Gray were fixed on him, and the consciousness that amongst his audience there was one whose temperament he wished to fascinate seemed to give his wit keenness and to lend colour to his imagination. He was brilliant, fantastic, irresponsible. He charmed his listeners out of themselves, and they followed his pipe, laughing. Dorian Gray never took his gaze off him, but sat like one under a spell, smiles chasing each other over his lips and wonder growing grave in his darkening eyes.
Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.
The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
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This is the main work for The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Please do not combine with any adaptation, abridgement, etc.
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Book description
Dorian Gray has just had his portrait painted. It is a perfect likeness of the quite extraordinary beautiful young man, and it prompts him to make a mad wish for eternal youth. In the years to come, he devotes his public life to and aestheticism-and his private one to decadence and debauchery.
AR7.7, 14 Pts
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375751513, Paperback)

A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both? After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man's portrait, his subject's frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray's picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent. After he kills a young woman, "as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife," Dorian Gray is surprised to find no difference in his vision or surroundings. "The roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden."

As Hallward tries to make sense of his creation, his epigram-happy friend Lord Henry Wotton encourages Dorian in his sensual quest with any number of Wildean paradoxes, including the delightful "When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy." But despite its many languorous pleasures, The Picture of Dorian Gray is an imperfect work. Compared to the two (voyeuristic) older men, Dorian is a bore, and his search for ever new sensations far less fun than the novel's drawing-room discussions. Even more oddly, the moral message of the novel contradicts many of Wilde's supposed aims, not least "no artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style." Nonetheless, the glamour boy gets his just deserts. And Wilde, defending Dorian Gray, had it both ways: "All excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:35 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

An exquisitely beautiful young man in Victorian England retains his youthful and innocent appearance over the years while his portrait reflects both his age and evil soul as he pursues a life of decadence and corruption.

(summary from another edition)

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Six editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439572, 0141037687, 0141442468, 014119264X, 0143106147, 0141199490

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