Thing Two's Reviews > The Picture of Dorian Gray and Three Stories

The Picture of Dorian Gray and Three Stories by Oscar Wilde
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Nov 02, 14

bookshelves: 1001-books-you-must-read-before-you, country-england-uk, book-club-local-orlando, continent-europe-northern
Recommended to Thing Two by: Book Club
Read from March 12 to 24, 2011

“Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.” ~ Oscar Wilde

In 1890, Oscar Wilde published the first chapters of what would be his only book in "Lippincott's Monthly Magazine" about a man at the pinnacle of his youth who meets two older men - one who paints his portrait, and the other who corrupts his soul.

Dorian Gray sits for portrait artist Basil Hallword in the opening scenes of this story, and the painter captures Dorian's perfection - beauty, youth, and presence. Dorian's reaction upon seeing the painting sets the story in motion: "How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June...If it were only the other way! If it where I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that-for that-I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my own soul for that!"

Lord Henry Wotton, or Harry to his friends, introduces young Dorian to Hedonism, convincing him through wit and satire to live out Harry's dreams by dedicating his life to pleasure. What follows is an immensely entertaining, and extremely dark tale of the destruction of young Dorian Gray.

The book, when released, was considered so scandalous, Wilde re-wrote sections and added 6 new chapters in order to appease the public. Its publication contributed to his imprisonment for "gross indecency". Wilde died in poverty within 10 years of its publication.

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