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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful
This play is based on the biblical story of the death of John the Baptist. Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Judea, is married to his brother's wife Herodias, but finds himself lusting after her daughter Salome. Overcome with wine and passion for Salome, he offers her anything to dance the dance of seven veils for him. Little does he know what price she will exact.
Oscar...
Published on 30 Oct 2003 by Kurt A. Johnson

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm
Had to read this for Uni. Not my cup of tea and definitely not the best Wilde you'll ever read.
Published 2 months ago by J. M. Williams


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, 30 Oct 2003
By 
Kurt A. Johnson (Marseilles, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: SALOME (Paperback)
This play is based on the biblical story of the death of John the Baptist. Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Judea, is married to his brother's wife Herodias, but finds himself lusting after her daughter Salome. Overcome with wine and passion for Salome, he offers her anything to dance the dance of seven veils for him. Little does he know what price she will exact.
Oscar Wilde first published this book in Paris in 1891 in an attempt to bypass Victorian censorship. In 1894 it was translated into English, and published with a series of illustrations created by the incomparable Aubrey Beardsley. This book was quite shocking to Victorian Britain.
This book surprised me with its power. While not erotic in the modern, XXX sense, it is a compelling tale of decadence. The characters give no thought to anything but their own pleasure, and the worst of them all is the young (and far from innocent) Salome. Beardsley's stark, black-and-white pictures add to the tale, complementing Wilde's text with a disturbing, passionless sexuality. This is a fascinating story, and one that I recommend to any adult.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilde's erotic play with Beardsley's decadent illustrations, 5 Nov 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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The Salome legend has its beginnings in the Gospels of Matthew (14:3-11) and Mark (6:17-28), which tells of the beheading of John the Baptist at the instigation of Herodias, wife of Herod. The queen was angered by John's denunciation of her marriage as incestuous (she had been married to Herod's brother). In both accounts, Herodias uses her daughter (unnamed in scripture but known to tradition, through Josephus, as Salome) as the instrument of the prophet's destruction by having her dance for Herod. The story of Salome was prominent in both literature and the visual arts until the end of the Renaissance, and was revived in the nineteenth century by Heinrich Herne, and explored by such divergent authors as Gustave Flaubert, Stephane Mallarme, Joris-Karil Huysmans, and Oscar Wilde.
Wilde wrote "Salome" in French in 1893 for the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt. The play was performed once in Paris in 1904, and today is much better known as the libretto for Richard Strauss' operetta. In large part Wilde ignores the idea that Heroidas is the prime mover behind John death, focusing instead on the eroticism of Salome's passions for the Baptist. In this version of the story, John rejects the princess who then dances the infamous Dance of the Seven Veils for Herod to achieve her revenge. Of course, fans of Wilde, or at least those who know the highlights of his life's story, will recognize the name of Lord Alfred Douglass, the translator of the play into English. However, whatever the merits of the play, the chief attraction of this volume remains the illustrations.
Aubrey Beardsley was an important artist in the Esoteric Art movement of the "fin du siecle" (end of the 19th-century). A close friend of Oscar Wilde, he did both the illustrations and stage designs for Wilde's play "Salome." Obviously Beardsley represents the "Art Nouveau" school, but he also showed an affinity with the Symbolists and Pre-Raphaelite schools as well, all of which explored the rich symbolism of Judeo-Christian and pre-Judeo-Christian Pagan mythos. In this context the story of Salome is ideal. However, Beardsley remains the most controversial artist of the Art Nouveau era, renowned for his dark and perverse images and the grotesque erotic themes which he explored in his later work. Beardsley was not interested in creation any illusion of reality, but like the Eastern artists he studied, was concerned with making a beautiful design within a given space. His work on "Salome" is considered some of his finest examples of decadent erotica. This volume has 20 such illustrations, including those originally suppressed when the book was first published in 1905.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very attractive edition, 22 Feb 2011
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I went for this edition because I've always found Dover books attractive to look at and handle, which this certainly is. I also thought the larger size would be better for the Beardsley illustrations. It's spaciously laid out with cream pages and I think it's well worth paying a bit extra for. My interest in the play was because of Strauss's use of it as the libretto for his opera . I wasn't expecting much from the play itself and I was surprised how powerful it is. From the start there's an ominous feeling in the air and the atmosphere is heavy with obsession, lust and moral decay. The language is often beautiful and exotic. It gave me a much greater appreciation of Strauss's music and as a result I bought the CDs of the opera after reading this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy family, 30 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Salome (Kindle Edition)
Wow what a dysfunctional family! Wilde's play is a masterpiece bursting with psychological themes such as the side of guy nature
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm, 5 Oct 2014
By 
J. M. Williams (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Salome (Kindle Edition)
Had to read this for Uni. Not my cup of tea and definitely not the best Wilde you'll ever read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very very good read, 30 April 2014
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This review is from: SALOME (Paperback)
This is a well book at a really good price. I am very happy with this purchase. Very happy !
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4.0 out of 5 stars A nice guide, 9 Sep 2012
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This review is from: SALOME (Paperback)
A nice guide for theatre fanatics. It's an intense sort of playwright that only Oscar Wilde could conceive and I suppose it would make the work of directos, actors and producers a bit easier.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 Dec 2014
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This review is from: Salome (Kindle Edition)
If you like Wilde then you will not be disappointed....
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's really good, 2 July 2009
By 
James P. Weale "Whiskey" (Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: SALOME (Paperback)
A gourgeous farce on the mundanity of evil acts. It is more like a poem in blank verse than a play. The characters are entirely self-absorbed and throughout the play talk at cross purposes and butt in on each other's conversations, which is pretty funny.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The apocalypse served on a platter, 3 Feb 2009
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This review is from: SALOME (Paperback)
Originally written in French, when Oscar Wilde was in exile in Paris, after his time in prison for having had an affair with young Alfred Douglas, alias Bosie, the future Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas (poet, author, critic and correspondent, 1870-1945), then translated by Lord Alfred Douglas, a translation that is in some editions attributed to Oscar Wilde himself. In spite of his perfect bilingualism, Oscar Wilde let a few English mistakes slip into his French text but that is minor and even attractively exotic. It is difficult to really say if the English version is Wilde's or Lord Alfred Douglas's. But the first thing we can say about this play is that the theme itself is symbolical of Oscar Wilde and his time. Oscar Wilde somewhere is John the Baptist and that metaphor is easy. We will try to go a lot farther in a while. But it is also typical of the time, the very beginning of the 20th century. A time when all the princes and princesses, queens and kings, lords and barons, bankers and industrialists were dancing on a floor thickly littered with bank notes. But a time too when people were dying in the bush in South Africa, or all kinds of natives were suffering under the whip of colonialism. It was a time of hypocrisy in which those who wanted to be truthful to themselves, their beliefs, and at times their gods, be they God himself, or herself, the working class or artistic creation, were running against the thick wall of absolute lack of understanding, of mediocrity and bigotry. It was the time when exploitation was an understatement for what was happening in the mines or the factories of the industrialized countries. It was the time when all kinds of fundamentalist ethics were imposed on the world: hemp was banned from our fields because of the competition its leaves represented to tobacco and the empire that was behind. Absinth was banned for no reason at all, except that it was a heavy competition against wine or other alcoholic beverages that represented big industrial and financial interests. All kinds of sexual abnormality was condemned and persecuted in Great Britain, though France was slightly more liberal. This society was qualified as Victorian, though it was reviving the deep roots of puritan England, the heritage of the old Commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell. Puritanism was one of the fundamental characteristic of this time, with tantalizers and teetotalers and other torturous and tortuous social devices. It was the time of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the time of Dorian Gray in Wilde's own imagination. It was a time when well behaved people did not call a spade a spade, did not even call a spade anything at all because well behaved people had no commerce with that thing and had no word for that thing. It was the time of what was to be illustrated later as Lady Chatterley's lover or Maurice, or so many other intrigues and affairs crossing social classes, the acme of criminal activity in Great Britain at the time. And it is that drama Oscar Wilde lives in Salome. The fact that her society rejects the seer, the prophet, the announcer of the future, the liberator, and at the same time does not have the courage to execute him. And in this society she is the daughter of the Queen and step daughter and niece of the present King who imprisoned and put to death his brother, her father, the former king, and remarried his sister in law, Salome's mother, and by being all that, in two words a female Hamlet, she represents the upheaval which will bring the end of that rotten society. She falls in love with the imprisoned prophet, not because he is a lovable man in any way, not because she feels any sentimental attachment to him, but just because she is fascinated by the negation of her society he carries in himself, in his eyes and his body and his voice in a first ternary grouping of vision, doom and apocalypse, and then with his body and his hair and his mouth in a second grouping of sensual flesh, snakes and kissable lips, rebuilding like that the number of Solomon beyond the Christian trinity, the Jew beyond the Christian saint, the flesh of carnal life beyond the vision of the de-carnalized Christian trinity. And Oscar Wilde pushes this very metaphor to the extreme of transforming Salome from a sensual, sensitive and possessive lover into a vengeful, inflexible and purely animal executioner. Since John did not want to kiss her, she will have his head delivered to her on a silver platter just for the pleasure of kissing it, and, to her dismay, finding out that there is no pleasure in kissing a dead mouth and a dead tongue. The dance of the seven veils she paid for that head, that kiss, was of no avail since it did not deliver the sensual pleasure she was expecting in her foolish blindness. And the step father will have her slain by a plain soldier, like an unimportant piece of trash that has to be discarded and disposed of now she has brought the end of this world into being. How could Oscar Wilde be more visionary and see better the catastrophe of the big war, and all that will follow, being brought up in the future by the soul-less enjoyment of material goods and pleasures, wines and dances that are felling not only the tree that could hide the forest, but the forest itself that could have been hidden by the tree of a prophet, since a voice is only prophetic when you bring it to a dead end, the dead end of its own sacrifice, execution, martyrdom.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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Salome (Dover Thrift Editions)
Salome (Dover Thrift Editions) by Oscar Wilde (Paperback - 28 Mar 2003)
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