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The Picture of Dorian Gray (Vintage Classics) [Paperback]

Oscar Wilde , Irvine Welsh
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (350 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Amazon Review

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." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A heady late-Victorian tale of double-living" (Sarah Waters)

"There's an incurable disease afflicting females - ageing. Men, on the other hand, never pass their amuse-by dates. Sean Connery is still cutting the sex god mustard and, if time flies, then HE has frequent air miles. Yet, you never hear a man described as mutton dressed as ram, now do you? This is a book about a bloke who realises that the night is young, but he is not..." (Kathy Lette)

"In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde set the gold standard for chroniclers of decadence" (Guardian)

"very decadent and Victorian" (Savidge Reads)

Book Description

Oscar Wilde's only novel: dark, captivating and intensely Victorian

From the Publisher

The Broadview Editions series is an effort to represent the ever-changing canon of literature in English by bringing together texts long regarded as classics with valuable, lesser-known literature. Newly type-set and produced on high-quality paper in trade paperback format, the Broadview Editions series is a delight to handle as well as to read.

Each volume includes a full introduction, chronology, bibliography, and explanatory notes along with a variety of documents from the period, giving readers a rich sense of the world from which the work emerged. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

'A heady late-Victorian tale of double-living' Sarah Waters

Dorian is a good-natured young man until he discovers the power of his own exceptional beauty. As he gradually sinks deep into a frivolous, glamorous world of selfish luxury, he apparently remains physically unchanged by the stresses of his corrupt lifestyle and untouched by age. But up in his attic, hidden behind a curtain, his portrait tells a different story...

'In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde set the gold standard for chroniclers of decadence' Guardian

See also: The Rape of the Lock

About the Author

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin on 16 October 1854. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford. He then lived in London and married Constance Lloyd in 1884. Wilde was a leader of the Aesthetic Movement. He became famous because of the immense success of his plays such as Lady Windemere's Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest. His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was first published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890 but was revised in 1891 after moralistic negative reviews. After a public scandal involving Wilde's relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, he was sentenced to two years' hard labour in Reading Gaol for 'gross indecency'. His poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol was published anonymously in 1898. Wilde never lived in England again and died at the age of forty-six in Paris on 30 November 1900. He is buried in Père Lachaise cemetery where admirers often leave the lipstick marks of kisses on his tomb.
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