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Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Popular…
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Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Popular Classics) (original 1891; edition 1994)

by Oscar Wilde

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
21,83132861 (4.01)13 / 883
Member:aggs33
Title:Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Popular Classics)
Authors:Oscar Wilde
Info:Penguin Putnam~mass (1994), Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891)

  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. 00
    Shadow Dance by Angela Carter (rbtanger)
  12. 00
    Picture of Evil by Graham Masterton (Scottneumann)
  13. 11
    Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello (SandSing7)
  14. 66
    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (chrisharpe)
  15. 12
    A fehér tigris by Ervin Lázár (Lucy_Skywalker)
  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 (305)  Spanish (8)  French (6)  German (3)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hungarian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (327)
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Shelf Notes Review

Dear Reader,

This is THAT book. The book that you know exists, you know you should read, you can even confidently say you know you'll enjoy it... but haven't read it yet. I'm in my mid 30's and I just read THIS book, the book that I know is the perfect classic for me. It has the creep factor, the large and thoughtful ideas, the punch in the stomach, and the shock value! ALL of this is included in your very own copy of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and yet, I had not read it yet. No longer! I can now say that I've read THIS classic that has all those traits I love. This wasn't my favorite "classic" book, but it surprisingly didn't disappoint. My expectations were completely met with this book. I wasn't overly impressed but on the same token, wasn't disappointed.

So if you're anything like me, you know the basics behind the story but I'll fill you in anyways. There's this guy named Dorian Gray, a wealthy young gentleman who associates with the aristocrats and artists of his time. He befriends a particular artist that develops a slight obsession with Dorian while painting his portrait. After the portrait is painted, Dorian wishes that the painting could hold all of his sins and his age. Why? Well, because of his corrupt and incorrigible "friend" Lord Henry. This man is despicable and corrupts Mr. Gray slowly and surely throughout the story. His first known "corruption" deals with convincing and lecturing Dorian on age and pointing out that this painting of him will forever be younger than Mr. Gray himself. So, from the beginning, we see Dorian as a nice enough guy, one who thinks well of others and has good intentions BUT he starts getting a little self involved (especially on his looks). So Dorian looks upon this newly painted portrait of himself and begins to hate what it represents... AGING! He wishes the painting could hold his sins and age and all of a sudden "poof", (we find out a little later on) this is EXACTLY what has happened. Boy, oh boy... could you imagine a gift more important than that? You get to live forever AND not suffer from your sins? That can't backfire can it? Hahahahaha.

Poor Dorian Gray, we see his slow descent into corruption, becoming an overall terrible human being. He becomes even worse than Lord Henry, which I would have never guessed that could happen. Without giving the ending away, I must say... this story has a lot going for it, SO many "morals". To delve a little deeper below the surface, we start to realize that Lord Henry gives us TONS of fuel to fire our inner rage. How can you not be upset when he acts as if women have no worth, the only person that matters is yourself and you shouldn't care about anything else. Ugh, so frustrating to read his lengthy horrible spouts of monologues. I think Arianna said it nicely, in her review of this book. She had a hard time liking it because the characters had such horrible qualities, and I completely agree with Arianna on this one. It was hard to finish the book because I hardly cared for Dorian by the end.

I still feel strongly about the depth of ideas the Author was trying to convey, so deep that I have a hard time describing what that IS. I keep coming back to the conscience and relating it to the "Pinocchio" story. Just like Pinocchio, Dorian has a friend that leads him astray (Honest John the Fox was the character who led Pinocchio astray). Pinocchio ends up being coaxed to Pleasure Island and we find out "IT'S A TRAP". This is similar to what Lord Henry does to Dorian with all his talk on egotistical philosophy, which ultimately leads Dorian to his own Pleasure Island (that magical place where you can be completely selfish and disregard the emotions of others). You want to scream at the book and at Dorian, telling him to STOP listening to Lord Henry and START listening to his conscience. At one point, the star-struck Artist comes to speak with Dorian and tries to warn him of this dark path he is going down (like Jiminy Cricket?), but at this point Dorian is too far gone and finds his help insulting. I won't go into what happens from that point on, this is something that you have to find out on your own. I can't say I really enjoyed reading the book per se, but I do think Oscar Wilde made a very large statement with it. I think this is an important read, it delves into subjects that very few books bring up (or none that speak too deeply on the subjects), I would most certainly recommend it as a classic and one not to miss.

Happy Reading,
AmberBug ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
From a footnote of my book, I looked up Faust legion. Thank you Wiki.

It pretty much sums up the entire book. What happens when the handsome and wealthy Dorian Gray worries about losing his youthful bloom and will immediately look minutes, then days, weeks, years older than the just completed picture of him? His random outburst of giving his soul to stay looking the same as the picture was granted. Be careful what you ask for!

With the (mostly bad) influences of Lord Henry, a natural and encouraged narcissism, and a trigger point of the death of a potential bride, Dorian finds it necessary to test the limits of self-indulgence, a hedonistic lifestyle of the highest of the high (music, art, jewels, etc.) and the lowest of the low (opium, etc.). All the while, he blames the picture and its artist for forcing him to live such a life. How delusional and self-absorbed can a person become when they already have more in life than virtually the entire population?

Like many Victorian literature, I expected long, wordy descriptions. For this book, I additionally struggled with the put-down of women. “… no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.” Perhaps this is why I’ve known intelligent men who choose to love a woman because she is “simple”, whatever the hell that means. And “We have emancipated them, but they remain slaves looking for their masters, all the same. They love being dominated.” Argh, how crude. Despite efforts to place myself into the era and that this is supposed to be ‘witty’, I still find the verbatim words insulting.

The Longman cultural edition I have is highly informative with footnotes to explain references, including how this book was used against Oscar Wilde’s then-upcoming indecency trials. I recommend this edition.

Some Quotes:

On brains vs. looks – I laughed at this and then wondered if I should become dumber – kidding!!
“…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. The moment one sits down to think, one becomes all nose, or all forehead, or something horrid.”

On the power of words – perhaps this is why words can bring such joy and be so hurtful too:
“…Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?”

On old age:
“…But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty, becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our sense rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were much too afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to…”

On influences – this sent chills in me in the worst way, knowing others have influenced me and vice versa, so controlling and brain washing:
“…Talking to him was like playing upon an exquisite violin. He answered to every touch and thrill of the bow… There was something terribly enthralling in the exercise of influence… To project one’s soul into some gracious form, and let it tarry there for a moment; to hear one’s own intellectual views echoed back to one with all the added music of passion and youth; to convey one’s temperament into another as though it were a subtle fluid or a strange perfume: there was a real joy in that.”

On faithfulness – this was, hmm, interesting…
“My dear boy, the people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect – simply a confession of failure.”

On love and marriage – Bundy style perhaps:
“When a woman marries again, it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.”
And
“Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them they will forgive us everything, even our intellects.”
And
“’What nonsense people talk about happy marriages!’ exclaimed Lord Henry. ‘A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.’”

On the mind and body connection – if only it’s this simple:
“That is one of the great secrets of life – to cure the soul by means of the senses, and the sense by means of the soul.”

On experiences – this is different than anything I’ve ever read on the word “experience”:
“As it was, we always misunderstood ourselves, and rarely understood others. Experience was of no ethical value. It was merely the name men gave to their mistakes.”

On the small things in life – this is sweet:
“…a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play – I tell you, Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.” ( )
1 vote varwenea | Aug 4, 2014 |
When art itself kills its own creator there's no hope for redemption. Or is it?
For is it still art without a soul? Is art only beauty? Art for art's sake. And no one to tell the story. All vain, in vain. ( )
  henrique.maia | Aug 3, 2014 |
Very witty and a great plot. A fair few monologues which are very well written but I definitely wasn't smart enough to follow everything in this book! ( )
  Tilda.Tilds | Jul 23, 2014 |
A very simple narrative, but Wilde embraces the prose and embellishments of the time. Quite pretentious for the modern reader with constant references to classic literature and mythology.

Very much of its time, but it has inspirid much modern literature and consequently has become embodied in our culture as a reference novel.

I would not put this onto a general reading list and would only recommend to academics. ( )
  johnny_merc | Jun 30, 2014 |
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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
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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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36 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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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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