Customer Reviews


315 Reviews
5 star:
 (183)
4 star:
 (61)
3 star:
 (38)
2 star:
 (22)
1 star:
 (11)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Careful What You Wish For
I chose to read this book after watching the original black and white movie in class, even if I didn't understand it due to my absance for the first half of the film. I was very pleased with the book, and the beutiful style of Wilde's prose. It was so sensual in his description.
The book follows the highly narcissitc Dorian Gray, who after having a portrait of...
Published on 23 Jun 2003 by Mr. GJ Borrows

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great novel; medium leather binding quality
'The picture of Dorian Gray' ranks among the top-novels I have ever read. There's no question about that.

As for the leather binding:
I guess the book's relatively low price reflects the quality.
The leather (same quality as the bags the same company produces?) seems to be simply scotched to an otherwise well printed book (better paper quality than a...
Published on 30 Sep 2009 by Tom Catteau


‹ Previous | 1 2 332 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be careful what you wish for, 21 Jan 2003
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
The Picture of Dorian Gray is a mesmerizing read dominated by two amazing personalities. Dorian Gray is certainly interesting, but I was much more impressed by his friend and mentor Lord Henry Wotton. Dorian is a perfectly nice, well-meaning young man when we first meet him in the studio of the painter Basil Hallward. Hallward in fact is so drawn to the youth that he draws his greatest inspiration from painting him and just being with him. It is the influence of Hallward's friend Lord Henry which leads to Gray's downfall. There are few characters in literature as decadent, witty, and somehow enchanting as Lord Henry. He is never at a loss for words, fatalistic observations of life and people, sarcastic philosophical musings, and brilliantly devious ideas. Among his world of social decadents and artistic do-nothings, his charm remains redoubtable and highly sought-after. Gray immediately falls under his spell, soon devoting himself to living life to its fullest and enjoying his youth and beauty to the utmost. He solemnly wishes that he could remain young and beautiful forever, that Hallward's exquisite picture of him should bear the marks of age and debauchery rather than himself. To his surprise and ultimate horror, he finds his wish fulfilled. Small lines and creases first appear in the portrait, but after he cruelly breaks the heart of an unfortunate young actress who then takes her own life, the first real signs of horror and blood manifest themselves on his portrait. His love for the ill-fated Sibyl Vane is a sordid, heartbreaking tale, and it marks the culmination of his descent into debauchery. He frequents opium dens and houses of ill repute, justifying all of his worst actions to himself, while the influence of Lord Henry continues to work its black magic on his soul. He hides his increasingly grotesque portrait away in an upstairs room, sometimes going up to stare at it and take pleasure in the fact that it rather than he bears the stains of his iniquities. In time, his obsession with his secret grows, and he is constantly afraid that it will be discovered by someone. For eighteen years he lives in this manner, moving among the members of his society as a revered figure who magically retains his youth, but eventually he begins to see himself as he really is and to curse the portrait, blaming its magic for his miserable life of ill-begotten pleasures and loss of moral character. The final pages are well-written, and the climax is eminently satisfying.
Exhibiting the undeniable influence of the French Decadence movement of the late 19th century, this wonderful novel serves as a morality play of sorts. One can understand why its unique nature upset a British society emerging from the social constraints of Victorianism, but this reader is hard pressed to see why this novel proved so damaging to Wilde's eventual imprisonment and punishment. Dorian Gray is no hero, nor does his ultimate internal struggles and yearnings for rebirth inspire one to engage in the sort of life he himself eventually came to regret. The only "dangerous" character in this novel is Lord Henry; his delight in working his evil influence on others as a type of moral experiment and the silver-tongued charm he exploits to aid him in such misbegotten quests have the potential to do harm to a vulnerable mind such as that of Dorian Gray. Lord Henry's evil genius makes him much more interesting than his disciple Dorian Gray. By today's standards, this book is not shocking, and indeed it is much more dangerous to censor work such as this than it is to read it. This book in eminently quotable, and it still manages to cast a magical spell over readers of this day and age. Quite simply, The Picture of Dorian Gray deserves a place on the shelf of the world's greatest literature.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Spoiler in the in the preface, 28 July 2013
Do not read the introduction! It contains a synopsis of the main text.

I read through this synopsis only realising I was ruining the book for myself as it spelled out the details of the ending. I had read assuming that no editor would be so stupid as to put something in the introduction that would affect the reading of the main text.

Unbelievable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining real literature, 16 Mar 2010
By 
Poike (Tokyo, Japan) - See all my reviews
I am a slow reader, for English is not my native language, however, it did not take so long even for me to finish the Picture of Dorian Gray. This is so fascinating book. First, the plot is inviting that Dorian remains forever young and beautiful while his portrait grows old and corrupt absorbing all his sins. Then, the story itself is eventful such as an actress Sibyl Vane's suicide, murder of Basil Hallward, and James Vane's vindictive act for her sister, etc. Even without realizing it I was engrossed deeply into the world of the author. It may be because Wilde is playwright who knows exactly where to accentuate the story and where to withdraw to please audience or reader.

Wilde also inserts many paradoxical epigrams mostly marked by seemingly experienced but naive character, Load Henry which are so amusing and puzzling. It is as if I was trapped into the author's strategy to perplex reader playfully with his wits and pungent cynicisms about society, matrimonial life, art and so on.

Also, the story is filled with hedonistic notions occasionally insinuating Dorian's visit to opium den or his homosexual relationship with Basil Hallward, but they are not clearly mentioned anywhere, and these undemonstrative expressions leave the story so enigmatic that makes me wonder what in fact happens behind each scene. What interests me most is that Dorian's dissolute life may be displaced with the author's own real life which was always rumored for his homosexuality. I have a feeling that Wilde may have wanted to confess his inclination to his own sex ambiguously somewhere in this story.

Isn't it true irony that Wilde's own life was devastated by his own creation of the book as Dorian ended up being haunted by ghost of people whom he did so much wrong, then tried to be redeemed from his sins by slashing the portrait, but was avenged by it or "himself" at last?

It is pity to learn that this story was so severely criticized due to its immorality back then although this is full of entertaining factors as well as essences of genuine literature. Even as Asian residing in a small island country of Far East, I found this story very individual, entertaining, inviting, and this is one of the most interesting books I have ever read of English classic literature.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great novel; medium leather binding quality, 30 Sep 2009
By 
Tom Catteau (Bruges, Belgique) - See all my reviews
'The picture of Dorian Gray' ranks among the top-novels I have ever read. There's no question about that.

As for the leather binding:
I guess the book's relatively low price reflects the quality.
The leather (same quality as the bags the same company produces?) seems to be simply scotched to an otherwise well printed book (better paper quality than a paperback).

It really bears no resemblence to those real leather bound books (you know, 100-150 years old) you might already possess. In that case, you may be disappointed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luxurious Read...the Bentley of BOOKS, 24 Jan 2009
By 
I. Ramadi (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Buyers of any Bill Amberg Penguin Classics will find their books safely deposited within a box. Opening the box, unwrapping the cover and reading the inlay card is an experience in itself as it feels like opening a luxury gift and the card describes how the leather was made (no cows were slaughtered, they died naturally) and the process it went through.

The book has a leather cover and leather book mark, and the feel of the book whilst reading the book gives it a quality feel of luxury. I think this is the start of a new trend, luxurious books either in leather or other quality materials.

Now for the book itself, I've just received these books and looking forward to showing them off whilst reading during the rush hour traffic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was okay..., 2 Dec 2009
By 
Let me start by stating the obvious, this is not a bad book. It is quite clearly a well written book and has an interesting story. The reason that I class this book as only 'okay' is that Wilde, at times, simply appears to be showing off. There are entire pages of text which are completely readable, but seem to go off at a tangent from the main story line, simply to show just how much he knows about the world and modern (at the time) society. It was these moments that took the book down for me.

The story itself is excellent if somewhat tragic. The characters are very deep and provide soemthing extra to the book, you could spend hours just analysing them, without reading into the story too much!

I would recommend that people read this book, the things that I believe detract from this book may make the book for many others. It is certainly a lot 'easier' than many of the other 'classics' out there, and for that reason alone it is probably worth a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 17 May 2006
By 
Peter Moss "themusicsnob" (Herne Bay, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Firstly, why do people reiterate the plots in reviews? We already have a synopsis from Amazon we don't need another twelve dozen.

This book is wonderful and is so embedded in modern culture it has become elevated to the highest accolades in art by becoming a modern fable (for those who argue that it is the highest: argue with Tolstoy - not me). This is probably why people find it predictable, unsurprising or not as delightful as they thought. There are very few people ignorant of this story - even if they never read it of heard the name of Dorian Grey - as the fabric of the tale is woven into modern western thinking as tightly as that of Plato's or Aristotle's.

What is wonderful about this book is how Wilde has taken a very simple plot which would sit wonderfully in a children's novel and then developed it and deepened it with such complex issues, moral puzzles and twists on society, politics, ethics, religion, art, culture and virtually every other non-cognitive pursuit known to the pre-industrialized world that there is enough material for the greatest of philosophical thinkers to pursue. The novel truly transcends a multitude of intellectual and cultural levels while all the time being beautifully simple and to the point.

Wilde's control of the reader's moral thinking to the point were characters who are loved are despised pages later is nothing short of incredible. By the climax of the novel we are terrified in a way that no horror film can do - because when Wilde builds up to expose to final extent of Grey's soul does he threaten to expose some of our own?

How many novels can do all this: and in such a short book? Maybe Dickens has come close but Wilde achieves it with almost perfection (my only criticism is Wilde's self indulgence in the 'transformation' chapter).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray, 18 Nov 2008
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
By now, most people are aware of the basic plot of this book: young man foolishly wishes that, upon seeing his current beateous youth captured forever in a picture, he could remain in that moment of youth forever, and the picture age in his stead. Not only that, but the picture becomes twisted and cruel as a result of the callous hedonistic behaviour perpetrated by Gray in his perpetual youth. At first, Gray is horrified, but then finds himself submitting to it...

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a fantastic novel, so fantastic that it made me sad that the eminently quoteable Wilde has only written the one. At one point, a bad-influencing friend of Dorian's lends him a novel that Gray is charmed by, a novel that tells of a man who lives a hedonistic lifestyle, with care only for pleasure and enjoyment, and it's this novel that kick-starts Gray's eventual downfall as it affects Gray's behaviour, leading him to eventually describe it as dangerous. Wilde's novel is possibly such a book: it's seductive discussions on hedonism, pleasure, and the real joys of life almost make one want to throw mores out the window and life such a life oneself, or at least wish intensely for a period that one has or could. Henry Wotton, Gray's witty, philosophical influence is a raconeteur, a man of life, who knows its pleasures and derides it's follies, chosing simply to ignore them. It's his discourses that are particularly charming and fascinating. There's obviously a temperance to his message (in terms of the whole arc of the novel), but that's almost neither here nor there. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a superb book, fascinating, witty, supremely intelligent and philosophical, romantic and gothic and chilling also. It's one of those books that might lay a bomb under your life, and it deserves its classic status.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Masterpiece of Character driven storylines., 2 July 2007
By 
Mr. Selvarajah Gauthaman "Gauthaman" (East Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Having bought the book based on a friends possitive feedback from it, I began reading it having already heard of the dramatic ending, from various film adaptations of the book. Luckily I was not in the least bit way short-changed.

The book is an amazing testiment to the skills of Wilde. No chapter bored me. While the chapter spanning 18 years was a bit much, it was paced in such a way that the reader never really lost interest. I found myself glued to the book as one would be glued to a tv soap, especially nearing the end with the dramatic finale that occurs in the dusty room.

I found myself both pitying and admiring Dorian Gray throughout the story in equal measures, which goes to show how easy it is to slide into the path of Sin.

The dining room conversations made me think and laugh along with the characters. Lord Wottons ideals were very interesting and did make me ponder for a while.

Overall, I have not a single bad thing to say about it, which is eerie in many ways. It all goes to show how this book stands up for itself.

Highly recomendable to anyone looking to dip into the Classics section. The chapters are short bitesized sections and the language is very readable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff!, 6 April 2007
By 
N. Scarlett "Student" (Leeds, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Absolutely brilliant book!

I've read a fair few of the 'classics' from the Penguin selection, and a few of them I've found, fairly underwhelming, this one certainly wasn't. It's fairly small for a 'classic', and perhaps lacks a little bit in the way of plot, but it's just great reading, and probably one of the best character novels I've read in a long time.

The character of Dorian, which begins as a fairly shallow one, develops into one you cannot help but hate and pity in equal measure.

It's almost a fable against vanity and excesses, and the ending is superb!

A great book, and one you really shouldn't avoid reading, especially at the price of these Penguin classics!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 332 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Picture of Dorian Gray
Out of stock
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews