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The Picture of Dorian Gray
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Diane Zwang | 1189 comments Mod
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
4/5 stars

My first Oscar Wilde and I rather enjoyed it. I believe the book made the 1001 list because it is the only novel that Oscar Wilde wrote. He was known primarily for his short stories and plays.

The story is about a young and dashing Dorian Gray whose beauty is immortalized by the painter Basil Hallward. Lord Henry Wotton also becomes smitten by Dorian's beauty and charm and the three remain friends for some time. The major themes of the novel are youth, the soul and the consequences of one's actions. I thought it a wonderful journey.

I look forward to reading more of Oscar Wilde and seeing some of his plays.

A few quotes I rather liked.
“Was the soul a shadow seated in the house of sin? Or was the body really in the soul...?”
“He began to wonder whether we could ever make psychology so absolute a science that each little spring of life would be revealed to us.”
“Experience was of no ethical value. It was merely the name men gave to their mistakes.”
“Each of us has heaven and hell in him, Basil, cried Dorian with a wild gesture of despair.”
“To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul.”
“Death walked there in the sunlight.”
“The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite history.”


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments 4 stars

My son told me I would hate this book because it was "too dark". My friend warned me that it was often boring. My ex-professor warned me that its exploration of aestheticism might anger me. And in many ways they were all correct, but despite all of that I still loved the book.

Wilde is a genius who explored people and life with humor, wit and intelligence. He makes you think. And although most readers today will guess the ending, the journey is so good that it doesn't matter. There are reviewers out there who will fully explain the themes and motifs of this book. There are reviewers who will summarize the story and analyze the characters. And all of them certainly enhanced my reading experience. I don't think I picked up on all of it myself until I read those reviews, so I don't consider myself capable of writing those things myself.

I will say this. I loved the symbolism of "the picture" and its ability to show both the reader and Dorian Gray himself how he should actually look. Before reading the book I knew that the picture aged .. I didn't know that it was less about time and more about sin and guilt. I didn't know that what the picture reflected was the evil and dark soul of Dorian Gray. I am glad that I didn't know and I am equally happy that it was deeper than I expected.


message 3: by Dree (new)

Dree | 243 comments 2 stars

A classic tale of what happens when a man sells his soul.

Or doesn't sell it per se, but makes a trade--this fabulous painted portrait will age, and he will stay a young handsome age. And this rich arrogant young man is mean--and as the portrait ages and looks meaner and uglier, he struggles with knowing it is there, he struggles with his own behavior.

A very interesting idea, but nearly all the characters are arrogant, wealthy, misogynistic racists. Not a fun read.


Gail (gailifer) | 1184 comments Full of Oscar Wilde's tremendous ability to capture the human condition in one sentence or less ("experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes", or "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing") this short novel also approaches the concept of the Faustian bargain with a slightly different perspective. The main character, a truly naive and very good looking young man, despairs of growing old and makes an exclamation on that thought which seals his fate. He does not age but his likeness which has been painted by a good friend, Basil Hallward, not only ages, but reflects every nuance of our beautiful young man's fall into the pursuit of pleasure for pleasure's sake and the joys of a completely hedonistic life style. The plot line is well known by all, but the conversations between Dorian Gray and Lord Henry Wotton, who plays a devilish instigator but not necessarily the devil, offers the reader some interesting insights into the life of a subset of upper class, ugly, decadent Englishmen before the world wars.


message 5: by Zeejane (last edited May 18, 2021 06:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeejane  | 193 comments I listened to the audio version, narrated by Simon Vance. This is my first book by Wilde, and my second audio book by Vance. Vance's narration made this book a delight. He is becoming one of my favorite narrators. He excels at character development, and he conveys the right tone for each scene, making it a truly enjoyable listening experience. This works especially well with this book, which poetic prose lends well to the audio/listening format.

The story itself was solid. Despite its age it was approachable and understandable. Though it has a slower pace, there's enough tension throughout, to keep the story moving along. The characters were well developed and it has all the elements of a good horror story.


Kristel (kristelh) | 3795 comments Mod
Horror story by Oscar Wilde about a young man who sells his soul for eternal beauty. Read this for f2f book club. Read this back when I didn't write reviews or hardly. Read in 2009. Pretty sure I've read it twice.


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