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The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,507 ratings  ·  182 reviews
The Picture of Dorian Gray altered the way Victorians understood the world they inhabited. It heralded the end of a repressive Victorianism, and after its publication, literature had--in the words of biographer Richard Ellmann--a different look. Yet the Dorian Gray that Victorians never knew was even more daring than the novel the British press condemned as vulgar, ...more
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published April 11th 2011 by Belknap Press
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Karin My daughter read the uncensored and said that it simply has more overtly gay references. She's 17 and loves Oscar Wilde so I read the censored version…moreMy daughter read the uncensored and said that it simply has more overtly gay references. She's 17 and loves Oscar Wilde so I read the censored version for her not knowing there was a difference. We enjoyed chatting about it the entire way through and she didn't seem to think I'd missed any of the story. Also, WTF does Lord Henry walk away unscathed at the end - completely hate that guy. (less)

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JV (semi-hiatus)
To attain Power, Love, Youth, or even Beauty, to seek beyond what we are capable of, what part of you are you willing to sacrifice?

"For this — for this — I would give everything! Yes: there is nothing in the whole world I would not give!"
With prodigious erudition and eloquence, Wilde, a master of inversion and antithesis, concocts a rather harrowing yet legendary tale of a young man who never aged. With dashing prose, debonair characters, and graceful execution, Wilde becomes wild enough to
Sidharth Vardhan
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
All the characters in this book assume wrongly some kind of positive correlation between a person's looks and his characters - as if we are born pure and beautiful; each immoral act committed by a person leaves imprinted a Cain's mark on his or her face. I don't know whether writer suffered from this kind of lookism - for Dorin's painting actually got uglier and uglier with each wicked act done by him, or maybe Wilde was criticising prejudice - for Dorin did remain to look handsome despite all ...more
Vanessa J.
This is not going to be an usual review. If you want to read my original review for this book, go here.

I didn't know there was an uncensored version of this book until a few months ago. As soon as I discovered that, I looked for the book everywhere. Believe it or not, it was difficult for me to finally grab hold of one copy. I had completely forgotten about it, but recently I read The Importance of Being Earnest, and An Ideal Husband. After reading those plays, I soon became totally obsessed
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay, favorites
This original version is SO MUCH BETTER than the version that has been read by everyone for the past 120 years. I had thought that Wilde's original uncensored typescript was different only by a few "bad" words unacceptable to the Victorians. Well, I was completely wrong!

His first editors, and then Wilde himself, removed and altered substantial content, nearly all homoerotic, in response to severe and unrelenting criticism before and after its first magazine publication in 1890. In addition to
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A coworker recently told me that of all the books he read in school, The Picture of Dorian Gray was his favorite.

My response: "You know they're all gay, right?"

In hindsight, I may have overplayed my hand here. Because the beauty of Dorian Gray is that you can read the novel in (at least) two ways:

(1) On the surface, Wilde gives us a sort of modern fable, of the Be careful what you wish for variety. This is the side of the story everyone knows: Dorian, a beautiful young man on the verge of
Heather Purri
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: LGBTQ Lit Fans, Gothic Lit Fans
Shelves: fiction
Here's my interpretation of what this novel is about (spoilers ahead).

Lord Henry is a gossip and all talk. He likes to enchant refined socialites with tales about all the things that they're too proper to try, yet he too would never do anything to compromise his reputation. Dorian follows him blindly, taking Henry at his (untrustworthy) word, because Dorian doesn't like to do the hard work of thinking for himself (which he is ultimately forced to do at the end of the book). Henry is usually
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, irish-lit
Naturally, The Picture of Dorian Gray is probably my favorite novel of all time- of course, when I say this, I am encompassing all versions of the story, censored or uncensored, edited or unedited. I was very excited to find a nice paperback copy of the uncensored Dorian, which I proceeded to buy and almost immediately read, this time self-annotating for comparison. Needless to say, my week was made by finding this gem waiting for me in some book store. Some of the differences from Wilde's ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Classic horror story, later used against Oscar Wilde in his prosecution. I read the annotated version, which added information and visuals to an already strong story, though the annotations also contained spoilers for those who don't know the full plot.

The most interesting of the annotations described the use of "magic-pictures" in late Victorian fiction. Others picture objects described in the text, and illustrations from later editions. An appendix describes the textual differences between
Mar 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Picture must be from paperback. Hardcover has painting of Narcissus from the mid/late 1800's.

Wonderful to read the original finally, without all the homosexual subtext/plot removed. And the editor has done a phenomenal job of adding notes alongside the text, to explain and expand on themes and details that only Victorian/Edwardian (and antiquarian) readers would understand.
May 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
You can read this version for the annotations alone. Very well done. If you've ever wondered quite why Dorian is so scandalous, this is the version of the book to read.
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm so conflicted and hurt after reading this magnificent book. I don't even know if a review from my untalented fingers could give it justice. Maybe I'll try, and maybe I won't.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books, 2017
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

Even though my rating is quite a bit above average (in my standards), it is a very solid 3.5 stars. It was still a very enjoyable read and one that I can see myself recommending to people. Anyone that reads this book will have a sort of moment where you will find yourself baffled with Dorian Gray, but at the same time be able, somehow, to understand in a personal level his ideals of Art, Life, and Beauty. Or should I say, Lord Henry's ideal which were only manifested in
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(reviewing Uncensored edition separately)

"It is quite true that I have worshipped you with far more romance of feeling than a man should ever give to a friend. Somehow, I had never loved a woman. I supposed I never had time."

A few beloved quotes from this book were added in its edited re-release that I missed in this uncensored original, but it was incredibly special to read this story in the way it was written and intended.
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
The cluttered layout made differentiating between the text and the annotations difficult.
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You cannot hide your sins, Dorian. Oh Dorian, my Dorian! You were blessed with unparalleled beauty and breathtaking grace in your rose-white boyhood. Yes, Youth is such a precious thing. And the reason why our youth is precious is the fact that it does not last. But you made a terrible bargain for eternal youth. How little your superficial beauty means when your soul inside is black and rotten! Poor Sibyl. Poor Basil Hallward and all those souls you have wronged in your life.

And yes, this is my
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bi-rep, lgbtqia-rep
2019 Pride month read #18

Oscar Wilde was a tremendous writer, but man, did he not know how to tone down the gay. And by that, I mean he was absolutely terrible at it.

OW: *reads the manuscript out loud* "It is quite true that I have worshipped you with far more romance than a man should ever give to a friend. Somehow I have never loved a woman. I suppose I never had time. I quite admit that I adored you madly, extravagantly, absurdly. There was love in every line and in every touch there was
Frankie Reeves
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh sure, the 'uncensored' version is just a marginally less subtle homosexual novel than the popular edited edition, but it's well worth owning if you're a Wilde obsessive. The beautiful, timeless tale of the aesthete never gets old. Reading it this time around, I became especially absorbed in the chapter documenting Dorian's life as a collector of beautiful objects and materials -- I'm aware that it's lifted largely from another book, but regardless, the exoticism is still rife and the ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Uncensored edition, ed. Frankel for Belknap, is wonderful.
For a good discussion, including lots of bookdarted notes by me, see:
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is the text of the original manuscript that Wilde wrote, not the edited version that was published.

It was so much better that I ached for him. Many sections were excised or altered by the editors because they had obvious homosexual overtones. They were in the relationship between the artist Basil Hallward and Dorian Gray. (Basil was in love with Dorian. Dorian, of course, was indifferent.)

A passage from Oscar Wilde’s original manuscript

"It is quite true I have worshipped you with far
The entire time I was reading this book, the line "Ah! To come back to life again! To stare at our deformities!" from Night in Hell, a poem by the 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud kept running through my mind. In fact, I personally felt there were lots of parallels between Rimbaud's libertine lifestyle (which influenced many of his astounding works) and Dorian's - both were enamoured with the idea of experiencing passion, debauchery, in living life as if it were art.

I don't mean to
Feb 16, 2011 rated it liked it
I've seen a lot of 5-star reviews for this story, but I just can't match that level of enthusiasm. However, definitely try to get your hands on this annotated, UNCENSORED edition: The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition, as that edition is definitely deserving of 5 stars. It is certainly fun to see how far the world has come in the area of freedom of speech, as what was considered vulgar back then wouldn't even make someone gasp these days.

I got tired of Lord Henry's
Jul 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-book-club
I'm glad I learned in high school that I didn't have to love the classics just because they are classics.

It's a book that glorifies youth, (wittily) puts down women, and explores the darkness of cherub-faced amorality, decadence and high drama; none of those are particularly my cup of tea. In fact, they're pretty much the direct opposite.

However, I can appreciate the context of time and the way a story is woven with an author's life. For that I can find merit in the story even if it's unlikely
Moira Russell
Got totally sucked into the new illustrated annotated Lippincott's version of this while trying to piously go on with Ulysses. It's like delicious candy.
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book immensely. It is well versed. The plot is mythical, magical, immortal and yet so human. It is a must read.
The original (uncensored) version is so much better than the published censored ones. It is quite sad that it took over 120 some odd years to get rightfully published.
Jacques Coulardeau

The main character is not so much Dorian Gray as Lord Henry Wotton. He is the one who manipulated the seventeen-year-old Dorian Gray as if he were a puppet-master playing with his puppet on its strings and rod, unseen and yet the one who provided society, meaning here the top elite of this society, with the daily gossip that can only entertain their idleness. Both Dorian Gray and Lord Henry Wotton were part of this idle society and Lord Wotton occupied his time with making Dorian
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was assigned the uncensored edition for a class on "Innocence and Experience." As a historical document that was a lightening rod for Victorian prudery, the book sparks an interesting discussion. But from a craft perspective, it is truly terrible—wildly uneven and in desperate need of a copyeditor. For example, the characters are either murmering at each other or thinking in explanation points. They characterize everything as "charming," "curious" or "horrid." They make nonsensical arguments ...more
Natalie Cannon
The first thing I felt about this book was fury, and the fury had nothing to do with the text itself.

While I read the 1891 Preface version of The Picture of Dorian Gray as a high school student and knew an original, uncensored version existed, I had assumed the original was as equally out of copyright as the other editions were. It was written in 1890 and a LGBTQ literary treasure trove: why shouldn't it be available for everyone to read, like all of Shakespeare, The Faerie Queen, Memoirs of
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I read this version my mind turned back to when I read it for the first time, the edited version, when I was fifteen. I used to laugh to myself when I read or heard people call it terrible, frightening, a horror, insidious or any other adjective. I still find it strangely fascinating. But I couldn't find in it any terror. All this time on it is still exciting, it's thrilling and decidedly macabre. I have read it many times, I have the story in my collection of Oscar Wilde works. I have yet ...more
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
"I didn't say I liked it, Harry. I said it fascinated me. There is a great difference." This pretty much sums up how I felt after reading "The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Gray."

Knowing only the basic premise and being completely new to the works of Oscar Wilde, I was not sure what to expect, really. By the first couple of pages, I was hooked. I felt that the life lessons preached by the character Lord Henry "Harry" Wotton was very spot-on and spoke to me as I am in my own life, working on
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Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick - The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Gray 2 35 Sep 18, 2012 01:40PM  
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet, and author of numerous short stories, and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being ...more