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The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other…

The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Writings (1983)

by Oscar Wilde

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I recently re-read The Picture of Dorian Gray online (the book I have here on LibraryThing is back in the house we're trying to sell; thus I did not also re-read the Other Writings section) because my 8th grader son was reading it for class. I enjoyed re-visiting this novella and discussing it with my son.

There's a combination of things that makes this story so good: Wilde's version of the Faustian legend, the characters and his description of them, the conversation that they have which include many witty lines. Oscar Wilde indeed was known for his wit, which shows here and is mostly through the words of Lord Henry, Dorian's friend.

Some highlighted parts of this e-book (many of which I would not say I agree with, but liked how it was said):

"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about".

"An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life in them. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty".

"Young men want to be faithful, and are not; old men want to be faithless and cannot".

"Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing".

"The moon hung low in the sky like a yellow skull. From time to time a huge misshapen cloud stretched a long arm across and hid it. The gas-lamps grew fewer, and the streets more narrow and gloomy".

"Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there. That is the reason why people who live out of town are so absolutely uncivilized. Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is being cultured, the other is being corrupt. Country people have no opportunity of being either, so they stagnate."

"As for being poisoned by a book, there is no such thing as that. Art has no influence upon action. It annihilates the desire to act. It is superbly sterile. The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. That is all." ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Nov 24, 2014 |
I may get flamed for this, but I didn't enjoy this book at all. It took me forever to read and that was with skimming the seemingly endless pages of Wilde's prattling on about minute detail after minute detail. What I _did_ enjoy reading were the interactions between Gray and the other characters of the book, namely, Lord Henry and Basil. Sure, the ending was poetic, but it was so predictable that even that was ruined.

I must be a very shallow person since I am unable to see what the fuss was all about when it came to this "classic". ( )
  trishaj | Oct 7, 2014 |
I liked it. I know some people found Lord Henry pompous and overwhelming, but I enjoyed his (Wilde's) philosophical observations of human nature. I don't agree with all of them, but I found them intriguing and thought-provoking. While Basil was the artist who captured Dorian's physical image, Harry was the artist who created Dorian's soul. It was his influence on Dorian's much-vaunted innocence (a blank canvas, if you will) that provided the evil seeds that eventually sprouted into Dorian's twisted, degenerate soul. ( )
  darcy36 | Jul 8, 2014 |
"Oh yes, Dr. Chasuble is a most learned man. He has never written a single book, so you can imagine how much he knows." ( )
  helynrob | Aug 13, 2013 |
The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered a work of classic Gothic fiction with a strong Faustian theme. It is also a classic example of the Victorian novel and one of those books that can effect the reader in a powerful and unique way. The idea of selling your soul to the devil, like Faust as related by Marlowe, Goethe and others is an image that intrigues the modern reader. But there is in Wilde's version of this story a focus on the purity of innocence that is lost as one lives a life, whether filled with licentiousness or mere everyday experience.

The plot narrates the story of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian (whimsically) expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than he. Wilde gives the story his own imprimatur with the artistic twist and thus adds to the evidence of his genius that includes the drama, stories, poetry and criticism that he created. ( )
  jwhenderson | Aug 4, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Oscar Wildeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weales, GeraldForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The artist is the creator of beautiful things.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
"The Picture of Dorian Grey"
"Lady Windermere's Fan"
"An Ideal Husband"
"The Importance of Being Earnest"
"The Ballad of Reading Gaol"
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In the title story, a young man's quest for eternal youth and beauty ends in scandal, depravity and death.

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Legacy Library: Oscar Wilde

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