Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray

ISBN 13: 9781420925289

The Picture of Dorian Gray

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"The Picture of Dorian Gray" is Oscar Wilde's classic tale of the moral decline of its title character, Dorian Gray. When Dorian has his portrait painted by Basil Hallward and wishes that he would stay young while his picture changes, his wish comes true. In exchange for this Dorian gives up his soul and as he ages the bad deeds that he commits are reflected in his painting and not him. "The Picture of Dorian Gray", arguably Wilde's most popular work, was considered quite scandalous when it was first published in the late 1800s in Victorian England.

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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."

From the Publisher:

Oscar Wilde's only published full length novel, is the story of a man who sells his soul for eternal youth. In exchange, what does he give up and what does he gain? This novel, by Wilde is a wonderful soul-searching example of the cost of paradise, and the price of a wish.

Read by actor, comedian, novelist, journalist, screenwriter Stephen Fry, Dorian Gray's dilemma comes alive. He has also acted in a variety of films including A Fish Called Wanda, Peter's Friends, and The Wind in the Willows.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780486278070: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Dover Thrift Editions)

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ISBN 10:  0486278077 ISBN 13:  9780486278070
Publisher: Dover Publications, 1993
Softcover

9780141439570: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Pengui..., 2003
Softcover

9781420952629: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Digire..., 2016
Softcover

9780141442464: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Clothbound Classics)

Pengui..., 2009
Hardcover

9780393927542: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Norton Critical Edition)

W. W. ..., 2006
Softcover

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