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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
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The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

by Oscar Wilde

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
27,61746963 (4)13 / 1234
  1. 220
    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (chrisharpe)
  2. 160
    The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (sturlington, Morteana)
    sturlington: Read Oscar Wilde at his finest.
    Morteana: Dorian Grey is Wilde in his darkest of moods, but Earnest is one of his lightest.
  3. 130
    The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings by Edgar Allan Poe (WSB7)
  4. 92
    Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (roby72)
  5. 83
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind (spiphany)
  6. 50
    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)
  7. 51
    The Stranger by Albert Camus (SanctiSpiritus)
  8. 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".
  9. 31
    Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius by Barbara Belford (veracity)
    veracity: Belford discusses both editions of Dorian Gray.
  10. 20
    The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill (OneMorePage)
  11. 00
    The Wild Ass's Skin by Honoré de Balzac (Lapsus_Linguae)
    Lapsus_Linguae: Both novels use fantastic elements and focus on the depiction of moral degradation of the main heroes.
  12. 00
    Aubrey Beardsley Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley (SnootyBaronet)
  13. 00
    Shadow Dance by Angela Carter (rbtanger)
  14. 11
    A fehér tigris by Ervin Lázár (Lucy_Skywalker)
  15. 66
    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (chrisharpe)
  16. 00
    Picture of Evil by Graham Masterton (Scottneumann)
  17. 12
    Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello (SandSing7)
  18. 03
    Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber (Joles)
  19. 58
    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.
1890s (2)
Read (50)
Romans (26)
Satire (164)
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English (435)  Spanish (12)  French (10)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hungarian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (468)
Showing 1-5 of 435 (next | show all)
There's a lot going on here for such a slender book, but I should expect nothing less from Oscar Wilde. It reads a little clunky at the beginning, it's just wit-wit-wit and since it's almost all coming from one character in large paragraphs, it doesn't move as smoothly as one of Wilde's plays. Those sections set the tone for the rest of the book, though. Without them, you wouldn't understand Lord Henry, and without that knowledge the book would be very hard to parse indeed. Although it's a character study of Dorian Gray, or a character drama or something like that, Lord Henry is the inciting incident, the fulcrum of the action, and the most complex character. People are constantly insisting "Oh, you don't believe that awful thing you just said," and he doesn't, but that makes him all the worse. Dorian tells him late in the book, "You would sacrifice anybody, Harry, for the sake of an epigram," and that's the horrible truth of him. I wish we'd had some insight into his opinion of his artwork, aka Dorian Gray's twisted nature, after it was finished, but I suppose we don't really need it, and that might have explained things away too much.

Dorian is interesting too, though. The gradual development of his character is really masterful, done partly in implications and partly with stated facts. His self-delusion -- acting as if he's the one who's been wronged when a girl commits suicide because of him, and only deepening in the climax -- is perfectly believable.

This is a book that would stand repeated readings and analysis to tease out the different threads and their implications, and I won't try to do that here. I must say, though, I'm quite blown away by how the "picture of Dorian Gray" idea seems like such an archetype now, when it's only famous because of this book. I mean to say, the idea of a man staying young while his picture grows old seems like such a mythical, omnipresent idea, like the idea of a vampire or a werewolf, but it wasn't before this. Having now read the book, I'd say the impact is well-deserved, and reading the book is valuable because of how many themes it involves that other books may not be willing to address. A lot of books shy away from depicting realistic selfishness, but this one doesn't. ( )
  FFortuna | Oct 13, 2018 |
Overall I enjoyed The Picture of Dorian Gray, it's witty, funny at times and captures the obsession over youth well. At times though the wit became too much and would cause me to lose focus because it was going on for 3 of 4 pages about one not even really related to the story subject. Chapter 11, where it tells what Dorian is up to for the rest of his 20s and early 30, wtf was that? Complete mess. I just started to skim after a few pages of that chapter. I really did like the plot though, from the picture changing and Dorian justifying everything then eventually not caring because he still looked fresh. I really wanted the sailor to kill him though. ( )
  wellreadcatlady | Oct 4, 2018 |
Loved it. Consistently interesting, though a few of the speeches dragged on as did a few of Wilde's "detailing paragraphs." Though I may not have agreed with everything that was said, overall it was very good, and Wilde is a beautiful writer. ( )
  Borrows-N-Wants | Sep 22, 2018 |
Dorian Gray is a young man with everything--looks, wealth, charm, position in Victorian society. He charms the artist Basil Hallward, who paints his portrait and accidentally introduce him to another friend, Lord Henry Wotten.

Hallward is a very good artist.

Wotton is a very bad influence.

Basil recognizes that Lord Henry says shocking, outrageous things, but doesn't take them seriously and assumes Lord Henry can't possibly believe them himself. But Dorian Gray is barely twenty, He's quite easily led to the point of saying he would give his soul if the portrait instead of him could bear the signs of his sins and his aging, and he remain eternally youthful.

What follows is the playing out of that wish.

Basil Hallward is a good man, but also a Victorian gentleman, reluctant to believe negative gossip about his friend, and reluctant to tell another gentleman how to live his life. Lord Henry, on the other hand, is always at hand to whisper poison in Dorian's ear, deriding conventional morality, and extolling the idea that the only morality is a person's own pleasure, defined in the most selfish ways possible. Wilde portrays this with subtlety and effectiveness. He also portrays the social mores of his time and society, without necessarily endorsing them. I don't have Wilde's subtlety and skill; I can't really convey how well he's done this. Social roles are what they are, and everyone around Dorian takes it for granted that this is natural law. Men are superior to women; the upper classes are superior to the lower classes. But while everyone in the book takes that for granted, they don't all act the same way in response to it.

Lord Henry, though Wilde never said it, seems to me to represent a minion of Satan. This is never heavy-handed. It's a word here and a phrase there; little touches building up to a powerful impression. Grant the premise of what happens with the portrait, and Dorian Gray's corruption is no melodrama; it's a realistic psychological portrait.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
I'm glad I finally got around to reading this classic and I'm a little upset that I didn't like it more. I knew the gist of the plot before I read it because of The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (nerd alert) and because it exists everywhere in pop culture. But I was still completely taken aback by how much I disliked the character of Dorian Gray. He was such a vain, pompous, scumbag that could do no wrong. It does beg the question though, would he have turned out the way he had, had it not been for the influence of his two friends who unknowingly set him on this path of self-indulgence? As a young man Dorian's friend paints a wonderful portrait of him and Dorian is so saddened that this painting will always look lovely and beautiful while he is destined to grow old and decrepit. He wishes that the burden of his sins and aging would fall upon the painting instead of himself, and lo and behold they do. After every wrong deed and every passing year, the painting becomes more dastardly and evil. His morality is long since gone and he has no care for how his actions ruin those around him. How long can the painting carry the burden of Dorian's indulgent, sinful, and lately, CRIMINAL ways. Fascinating concept, but there is too damn much dialogue in this book. Still glad I got around to reading it though! ( )
  ecataldi | Sep 15, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 435 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (165 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilde, Oscarprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ackroyd, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beraud, JeanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bickford-Smith, CoralieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brassinga, AnnekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bristow, JosephEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Callow, SimonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calzini, RaffaeleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cauti, CamilleIntroduction and Notessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corcos, LucilleIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crossley, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drew, John M LIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eugenides, JeffreyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Faulkner, PeterEditorsecondary 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
Keen, HenryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kosztolányi, DezsőTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manso, LeoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathias, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maurois, AndréIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mighall, RobertIntroductionsecondary 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
Sandys, Anthony FrederickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sheen, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shi, YuanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toledo, RubenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trugo, LuiIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watkins, LiselotteCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Welsh, IrvineIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, EdmundIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winwar, FrancesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wise, GregNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.
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, un giovane di straordinaria bellezza, si è fatto fare un ritratto da un pittore. Ossessionato dalla paura della vecchiaia, ottiene, con un sortilegio, che ogni segno che il tempo dovrebbe lasciare sul suo viso, compaia invece solo sul ritratto. Avido di piacere, si abbandona agli eccessi più sfrenati, mantenendo intatta la freschezza e la perfezione del suo viso. Poiché Hallward, il pittore, gli rimprovera tanta vergogna, lo uccide. A questo punto il ritratto diventa per Dorian un atto d'accusa e in un impeto di disperazione lo squarcia con una pugnalata. Ma è lui a cadere morto: il ritratto torna a raffigurare il giovane bello e puro di un tempo e a terra giace un vecchio segnato dal vizio.
(piopas)
Haiku summary
Miroir, oh, miroir.
Dis-moi qui est le plus beau!
Je sais le plus laid.
L'âme en ce portrait. Miroir d'hier et du jour. Choc et élégance.

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:24 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty.

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Penguin Australia

6 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

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

Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1907832335, 1907832378

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