JV (semi-hiatus)'s Reviews > The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Gray

The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2018, classics, there-was-a-crooked-man, gay-lit, lgbtq, 5-star-reads, favourites

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 narrate an autobiographical account of men living double lives during the Victorian period.

Dorian Gray leads an innocent life. Basil Hallward, an artistic painter, becomes enamoured with the charming Dorian and offers to paint a portrait of the young lad. Later on, he gets introduced to Lord Henry Wotton and Dorian gets smitten with the older man. His once spotless world is now upended. With an uncanny passion for hedonism and pursuit of worldly sensations, he leads a blissful, shallow life. He succumbs to the inevitable corruption of his soul, with his deepest and darkest desires fully realized.
"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it — and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful."
While Dorian didn't age one bit, there's something quite bemusing about the beautiful portrait painted by Basil — something truly graphic and horrifying to witness, that our bonnie lad decided to keep the artwork permanently locked in the attic, away from prying eyes.
"This portrait would be to him the most magical of mirrors. As it had revealed to him his own body, so it would reveal to him his own soul."
The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Gray is an excellent literature that examines and explores homoerotic desires and homosocial relationships vis-à-vis the pursuit of art and pleasure. From another perspective, it can be interpreted as a critical look at human nature. One can also look at this in a religious (angel-demon) context, sort of, a tug of war:
Basil: "Don’t take away from me the one person that makes life absolutely lovely to me and that gives to my art whatever wonder or charm it possesses."

Lord Henry: "Yes, Dorian, you will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit."
In this unaltered, original version, as envisioned by Oscar Wilde, the sexual allusions and references are far more graphic than the 1891 version edited by Lippincott’s Joseph Marshall Stoddart, in which five hundred words were completely expunged due to its homosexual content. Take this one passage as an example:
"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. Well, from the moment I met you, your personality had the most extraordinary influence over me. I quite admit that I adored you madly, extravagantly, absurdly. I was jealous of every one to whom you spoke. I wanted to have you all to myself. I was only happy when I was with you. When I was away from you, you were still present in my art."


The repressed Victorian era deemed this as "gross indecency" and such publication would be very vulgar if released, thus, the need for some censorship and emendations. I do honestly think that the sensibilities of those who lived during the Victorian times was rather conservative or far too reserved, that the editors of Wilde's novel decided that it was absolutely necessary to remove the sensual, homoerotic parts to fit the publication's voice, tone, and format as well as to sensationalise things. This classic novel, right here, is a symbol of homosexual emancipation. Regardless of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation, no one should be persecuted or criminalized just because he/she is different from the general population. I have to thank Wilde for this honest and liberating book. If you want the unbowdlerised version, be sure to pick this one up!
"Each of us has Heaven and Hell in him, Basil."
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Reading Progress

November 2, 2018 – Started Reading
November 2, 2018 – Shelved
November 4, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-46 of 46 (46 new)

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classic reverie Looking forward to your review. I was thinking of reading this at some point and wondered how much it differed.


JV (semi-hiatus) classic reverie wrote: "Looking forward to your review. I was thinking of reading this at some point and wondered how much it differed."

I'm really enjoying this one, classic reverie! Will collate my thoughts as soon as I'm through with this 😊


message 3: by Fran (new)

Fran What a great review JV!


message 4: by classic reverie (last edited Nov 05, 2018 01:35AM) (new)

classic reverie Wonderful review, JV!😊 I can see by the passage why Wilde was worried in his time and it is wonderful insight for him not to destroy his original works for a future that could enjoy his story as intended.
I so agree with your comment. "Regardless of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation, no one should be persecuted or criminalized just because he/she is different from the general population." But I would add that as long as children are not harmed by adults (meaning adults don't include young in their wants of any sexual orientation) and willing partners not unwilling victims.
I have read the censored version twice but would love to read this version to get his story he wanted to tell!
I have been wondering about this and happy to see your review gave it more light!😊


message 5: by Lori (new)

Lori Fantastic review, JV! I need to find a copy of this version!


message 6: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Brilliant review JV!! I didn’t realise there was an uncensored version. Wonderful to see all those 🌟. 😊💕


message 7: by Adam (new)

Adam  Beautifully written review, JV!


message 8: by Holly (new)

Holly  B Wonderful review JV!


message 9: by Paula (new)

Paula Kalin Terrific review, JV!


JV (semi-hiatus) Fran wrote: "What a great review JV!"

Thank you so much, Fran! 😊

classic reverie wrote: "Wonderful review, JV!😊 I can see by the passage why Wilde was worried in his time and it is wonderful insight for him not to destroy his original works for a future that could enjoy his story as in..."

Many thanks, classic reverie! 😃 My heart aches for Wilde who had been sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labor and people associated his work and his identity as indecency. And what you said about children, I completely agree! This unaltered version was definitely amazing. I highly recommend it. 🥰

Lori wrote: "Fantastic review, JV! I need to find a copy of this version!"

Thank you very much, Lori! Hope you'll enjoy reading the original version 🤗

Nicola wrote: "Brilliant review JV!! I didn’t realise there was an uncensored version. Wonderful to see all those 🌟. 😊💕"

Thank you for your kind words, Nicola! ❤️ I was actually looking for the edited version which was widely released, but then I luckily saw this copy. Compared both and decided to get this one.


JV (semi-hiatus) Adam wrote: "Beautifully written review, JV!"

You are wonderfully kind, Adam. Thank you! 😊

Holly wrote: "Wonderful review JV!"

Thank you so much, Holly! 🤗

Paula wrote: "Terrific review, JV!"

My heartfelt gratitude, Paula! 🙋🏻‍♂️💖


message 12: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Wonderful review, JV! I love Oscar Wilde!


message 13: by Diane (new)

Diane Wallace Fantastic review, JV! ;)


JV (semi-hiatus) Meredith wrote: "Wonderful review, JV! I love Oscar Wilde!"

Thanks a million, Meredith! Just added Wilde as one of my fave authors! ❤️ He was a great thinker and aesthete 🤗

Diane wrote: "Fantastic review, JV! ;)"

Thank you very much, Diane! 😘


message 15: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Wow! Fantastic review JV 👏🏻


Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー One of your best reviews to date, JV! Fantastic.


message 17: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine from How Useful It Is I’m glad you enjoyed! Great review! I can’t wait to read this book.


message 18: by Julie (new)

Julie JV,
I swear I tried to concentrate on your review, but who's the man in photo #1?? He was a distraction.


message 19: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Fantastic review, JV!


message 20: by Shaina (new)

Shaina I had no idea... seriously ... no crap? This is the real edition ? His original ms. ?


message 21: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Wonderful review, JV! I love the well thought-out analysis.


message 22: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Absolutely brilliant review, JV! I wish I'd read this version instead of the edited one. I didn't realise this one even existed, or that Wilde had been censored.


JV (semi-hiatus) Maureen wrote: "Wow! Fantastic review JV 👏🏻"

Thank you very much, Maureen! 😊

Jennifer (Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー) wrote: "One of your best reviews to date, JV! Fantastic."

Thanks so much for your kind comment, Jen! I really appreciate it ❤️

Jasmine wrote: "I’m glad you enjoyed! Great review! I can’t wait to read this book."

Thank you, Jasmine! 🥰 This was a wonderful book! Hope you'll enjoy reading this.

Julie wrote: "JV,
I swear I tried to concentrate on your review, but who's the man in photo #1?? He was a distraction."


Haha! Oh yes! His charm still affects me even up to this day, Julie; and I've been smitten by him ever since he played the part of Prince Caspian in the Chronicles of Narnia. He's Ben Barnes, my version of Dorian Gray forever ❤️😁


JV (semi-hiatus) Melissa wrote: "Fantastic review, JV!"

Thank you, Melissa! 🙋🏻‍♂️

Shaina wrote: "I had no idea... seriously ... no crap? This is the real edition ? His original ms. ?"

Yup! I didn't believe it at first, Shaina, but when I read the preface and general introduction, this was really Wilde's original manuscript as published by Harvard University Press. I've checked the web and voila! It's true! 😃

Michelle wrote: "Wonderful review, JV! I love the well thought-out analysis."

Thank you so much, Michelle! 🤗

Jenna wrote: "Absolutely brilliant review, JV! I wish I'd read this version instead of the edited one. I didn't realise this one even existed, or that Wilde had been censored."

My heartfelt thanks, Jenna! 😘 This was the original version with insightful annotations. I had no idea too until I stumbled upon it.


message 25: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Langford Fantastic review JV!!


JV (semi-hiatus) Lucy wrote: "Fantastic review JV!!"

Thank you very much, Lucy! 🥰


message 27: by Paromjit (new)

Paromjit Wow! Excellent review, JV! 💖💖🎄


message 28: by JV (semi-hiatus) (last edited Nov 06, 2018 05:05AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

JV (semi-hiatus) Paromjit wrote: "Wow! Excellent review, JV! 💖💖🎄"

Thank you for your kind comment, Paromjit! 😊


message 29: by Beata (new)

Beata Splendid review,JV!! Uncensored?? Never come across it earlier :)


message 30: by Julie (new)

Julie Ben Barnes?? Come home to Mama!


message 31: by Renégade ♥ (new)

Renégade ♥ Wonderful review, JV :)


JV (semi-hiatus) Beata wrote: "Splendid review,JV!! Uncensored?? Never come across it earlier :)"

Thank you for your kind words, Beata! Yup, this was the original version as intended by Wilde. 😊

Julie wrote: "Ben Barnes?? Come home to Mama!"

lol! 😂

Renégade ♥ wrote: "Wonderful review, JV :)"

Thanks a bunch, Renégade! 🥰


message 33: by Beverly (new)

Beverly I love Oscar Wilde! A man ahead of his time and so freaking witty and erudite.


JV (semi-hiatus) Ana wrote: "I love this book. Great review JV"

Ditto, Ana! This was really amazing and thank you so much! 🙋🏻‍♂️

Beverly wrote: "I love Oscar Wilde! A man ahead of his time and so freaking witty and erudite."

I completely agree, Beverly! 🥰 He's definitely one of my favourite authors.


message 35: by Ilse (new)

Ilse Exquisite and edifying review, JV! It was a pleasure to revisit this one through your eyes, and fascinating to learn about the censorship, of which I was unaware. Great job!


JV (semi-hiatus) Ilse wrote: "Exquisite and edifying review, JV! It was a pleasure to revisit this one through your eyes, and fascinating to learn about the censorship, of which I was unaware. Great job!"

My heartfelt gratitude, Ilse! ❤️ You are wonderfully kind 🤗


message 37: by Gerhard (new)

Gerhard Wonderful review... No idea there was a 'director's cut' of this! It remains such an insightful classic of gay lit. A friend recently turned 40, and bemoaned the fact that his life as an object of desire was now officially over. Sigh.


JV (semi-hiatus) Gerhard wrote: "Wonderful review... No idea there was a 'director's cut' of this! It remains such an insightful classic of gay lit. A friend recently turned 40, and bemoaned the fact that his life as an object of ..."

Thanks so much, Gerhard! Indeed, a powerful and relevant gay lit even up to the present times. I've checked several versions and saw that this one was the original manuscript of Wilde and published by Harvard. And sigh indeed. 😔


message 39: by Susan's Reviews (new)

Susan's Reviews Whoa! Loved this review! I'm reading this for my monthly book club. This quote is so profound, and true for most of us: "I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit." In my next life, I am going to break ALL THE RULES!!! Just kidding. Go, Dorian! I'll let you know what I think of it when I'm done. (We are, unfortunately, reading the censored version) Your reviews "rock", as my nieces and nephews would say.


JV (semi-hiatus) Susan's wrote: "Whoa! Loved this review! I'm reading this for my monthly book club. This quote is so profound, and true for most of us: "I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit." I..."

Thank you very much, dear Susan! Wilde really has a way with words. He was brilliant! I hope you'll enjoy reading this one as it was indeed a fantastic read! And please say my heartfelt thanks to your nieces and nephews as well. I really appreciate it! 🤗


message 41: by Karina (new)

Karina Hi JV! Of course I had to come and see what you wrote! A little JV never hurt anybody! Lol... I'm reading this and saw in the intro at what you referring to about the censorship. I'd def like it the way it was meant to be told. They should have at some point uncensored it right? Although, sometimes it does feel like we're back to those Victorian times based on where one lives... Loved your review. I feel smarter reading it. Thank you


JV (semi-hiatus) Karina wrote: "Hi JV! Of course I had to come and see what you wrote! A little JV never hurt anybody! Lol... I'm reading this and saw in the intro at what you referring to about the censorship. I'd def like it th..."

Haha! Thank you so much, dear Karina! 🥰 The Victorian era was quite conservative so the publisher really removed those scenarios they consider rather sexual. Wilde was even put on trial for being a homosexual and some of the texts he wrote were used against him. 😢 That might also be one of the reasons why the publisher doesn't want to uncensor it.


JV (semi-hiatus) AMY(pronounced Ah-MEI)♥Queen Of The Fat Cats♥ wrote: "*sees Ben Barnes*
*Dies*"


lol! 😂 You're not alone dear Amy! I'd faint too! 😆


message 45: by Cassio (new)

Cassio Queiros You did it again, JV : an amazing review.
Congratulations.


JV (semi-hiatus) Cassio wrote: "You did it again, JV : an amazing review.
Congratulations."


Thank you very much Cassio! 🤗


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