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The Picture of Dorian Gray
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Archive: Other Books > The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - 5 Stars

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message 1: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue | 1087 comments I can see why this book is a classic.

Dorian's (the main character) portrait is painted when he's a young man. At the start of the book he's very unworldly and innocent. His portrait shows glowing perfection; other characters in the book compare him to the statue of David.

Dorian is praised highly for his youth and beauty, and he makes a wish that he could remain young, and that his portrait will age instead.

For anyone who doesn't already know the overarching story, I don't want to give any spoilers. This is definitive book in the "sold my soul" theme - which is a recurring theme throughout human story telling. And like all sold my soul stories, it never ends well for the protagonist.

I really enjoyed this book, but the writing is a little hard to work through. Written in the 19th century, it's a little flowery. And the author valued long, drawn out descriptions.

I read that this book could have/should have been written as a short story. And in the published form that's probably correct. On the other hand, I've also read that the author's original manuscript was much longer and gave a far more detailed accounting of Dorian's activities once he was freed from consequences. Much of that detail had to be censored out to meet the sensibilities of the day.


Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2224 comments I read this when I was a young adult and it scared me!


message 3: by Joanne (last edited Sep 13, 2019 02:40PM) (new) - added it

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7488 comments Barbara wrote: "I read this when I was a young adult and it scared me!"

Me too Barbara, I DNF-don't do scary very well


Karin | 7011 comments I liked it when I read it but probably wouldn't like it now.

My son didn't know about this book until last Friday. He made a music pun about Hurricane Dorian (due to something called the dorian mode or modality) and one of the people there asked him if he knew the literary significance. When he told me, I told him about the book, but my son has no interest in reading it.

FYI for those who are interested in the music part of it some musical examples of dorian mode (NOT minor keys) are Scarborough Fair, the 1970s song "Horse with No Name" by the band America and JS Bach's Tocatta and Fugue BWV 538. They are often called minor, but the true natural minor is a different mode :)


message 5: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue | 1087 comments Karin - I've never heard of the musical reference for dorian. Thanks for sharing - I love learning about new (to me) things!

And the song references were perfect - I can hear Scarborough Fair and Horse with No Name in my head. I've always loved the unique sound for both of those songs. Nice to know it has a name!

I would need to look up the Bach pieces. I usually go for lighter classic music (Vivaldi, etc). But I'm going to look up and see if I can find the Bach pieces to listen on line.


message 6: by Karin (last edited Sep 14, 2019 02:56PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karin | 7011 comments Sue wrote: "Karin - I've never heard of the musical reference for dorian. Thanks for sharing - I love learning about new (to me) things!

And the song references were perfect - I can hear Scarborough Fair and ..."


Thanks. I teach piano so know some music theory, although my son will surpass me by the time he's done his music degrees! I don't like much music theory, but am not supposed to say that to my students because it's actually important. This means that most of what is beyond what I teach I have forgotten or am very rusty on.


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