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The Picture of Dorian Gray
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Archive: Other Books > The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, 4 stars

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message 1: by NancyJ (last edited Apr 22, 2019 06:15PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5232 comments The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. This is a brilliant classic novel with a great premise and a memorable ending. When Dorian Gray sees the portrait his friend painted of him, he realizes he will never again be this young and beautiful. He desperately wishes that as he grows older, the age could show on the picture instead of on his face. He said he would give his soul to remain young and beautiful forever.

After Dorian cruelly rejects the girl he was to marry (and she commits suicide), he notices that the picture changed and showed some cruelty around the mouth. He begins to realize that his wish is coming true. Instead of viewing this as a warning sign to reform his behavior, his behavior becomes more and more corrupt. The tension in the story builds from there, to a very satisfying ending.

Wilde gives the character of Lord Henry the most witty and philosophical quotes. These are fun to read at first, but they eventually wore on me, as many were just shallow and cynical. Lord Henry was a corrupting influence on young Dorian in many ways. (I was half expecting to see him revealed as the devil in this Faustian deal.) Henry gave Dorian a yellow book, that Dorian thought was evil, but kept reading. (There is much speculation online about the yellow book, but I initially figured it might be some type of porn.)

This book has many LGBTQ related tags, though there is almost no mention of homosexuality at all, and Dorian's corruption is said to focus on women, drugs and corrupting others. Wilde couldn't write about it at that time, but the book seems to say a lot about being gay during a time when it wasn't acceptable - The shame, secrecy, focus on youth and beauty, fear of being caught, blackmail, and the inability to change who you are.

message 2: by Magdalena (new)

Magdalena | 414 comments Great review! I haven't read this yet but I saw a really great version of the play where all the roles were gender swapped and I've wanted to read it ever since.

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