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The Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Popular Classics) Mass Market Paperback – 25 Jan 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 633 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 25 Jan 2007
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (25 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140620338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140620337
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.9 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (633 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 498,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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

“Simon Callow’s reading is amusing and poignant.”
Sunday Telegraph 7/12/97

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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Oct. 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read this story countless times, seen two film versions and even a stage play, but like many other people this story has stayed with me long after I have closed the book, and I thus come back to it again and again. This is the only novel by Oscar Wilde and if you follow the publication history of this you will see why that probably is. What Wilde wrote was originally censored for its publication in a magazine, and then Wilde re-wrote and extended the tale for its final book publication, which is what we are presented with here. Originally when this story first appeared in ‘Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine’ it caused a bit of an outrage and the story was also used against Wilde when he was prosecuted.

Nowadays though, with all the things we are presented with in the media and what we see on the internet some will consider this very tame. Although arguably it has never been what is mentioned in the tale, it is what is hinted at and how good your imagination can be.

I expect most people who decide to read this will already be quite familiar with the tale and so know the main plot. Dorian Gray of the title is soon to come into money, is a bit vain, relatively kind hearted and means well, and very handsome, and then he meets Basil Hallward, an artist, who wishes to do his portrait. So far not much to write home about, although Basil obviously makes Dorian vainer, and there are definite tones of amorousness between the two, and then he meets Basil’s friend Lord Henry. As a friendship develops between Dorian and Lord Henry, Dorian is led into a more hedonistic lifestyle. What Dorian doesn’t realise though is that he has unwittingly entered into a Devilish Pact caused by the portrait of him.
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By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Dec. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In case this gets cross posted by Amazon this review is for the Wisehouse Classics edition, which has original illustrations here, which are certainly worth looking at. Although these show up perfectly okay on a normal kindle e-reader on a tablet device they can also be enlarged if you so desire.

I have read this story countless times, seen two film versions and even a stage play, but like many other people this story has stayed with me long after I have closed the book, and I thus come back to it again and again. This is the only novel by Oscar Wilde and if you follow the publication history of this you will see why that probably is. What Wilde wrote was originally censored for its publication in a magazine, and then Wilde re-wrote and extended the tale for its final book publication, which is what we are presented with here. Originally when this story first appeared in ‘Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine’ it caused a bit of an outrage and the story was also used against Wilde when he was prosecuted.

Nowadays though, with all the things we are presented with in the media and what we see on the internet some will consider this very tame. Although arguably it has never been what is mentioned in the tale, it is what is hinted at and how good your imagination can be.

I expect most people who decide to read this will already be quite familiar with the tale and so know the main plot. Dorian Gray of the title is soon to come into money, is a bit vain, relatively kind hearted and means well, and very handsome, and then he meets Basil Hallward, an artist, who wishes to do his portrait. So far not much to write home about, although Basil obviously makes Dorian vainer, and there are definite tones of amorousness between the two, and then he meets Basil’s friend Lord Henry.
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Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When Dorian has his portrait painted by the brilliant artist Basil Hallward, he realises he will never look as young and beautiful as he does in that oil canvas. He will age and die, and it will stay forever young. Enraged by this he cries out a plea, selling his soul for an eternally youthful face. So the story follows Dorian as he walks down a path of destruction that ultimately leads to his downfall.

I love this book. I've read it so many times and it never ceases to amaze and fascinate me. It’s such a masterpiece. For starters it’s written in such a beautiful way, the language is so beautiful and is full of Wilde’s well known flourish and wit. It’s a wonderful example of a woeful Gothic tale.

The story also continually draws you in, more and more you wish for Dorian’s redemption, that eventually he will find his way back onto the right path and move away from such destruction. I think that’s a mark of how wonderful the book is, that even when all hope is lost, you still have hope for the character.

The book was seen as incredibly shocking when it was published and I can see why. Though it doesn’t go into explicit details about the kinds of behaviour Dorian resorts to, it’s not hard to conjure up some ideas. I think the book also goes a long way to criticise the society at the time and the way we very things like beauty.

“Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.”

The characters are great, not only Dorian, but Basil and Lord Henry, forever the angel and devil on Dorian’s shoulders, attempting to steer him in the right path. Oscar Wilde truly is a master of writing. I don’t know what it is about The Picture of Dorian Gray but I return to it again and again and each time I find something new or intriguing about the text.
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