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The Picture of Dorian Gray
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Previous Quarterly Reads > Spoiler Thread: The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Emma Flanagan (emma89) This is the spoiler thread for The Picture of Dorian Gray


Paul I finished this morning. I really enjoyed my reread. Its a wonderful dark moral tale. Even though I knew where it was going part of me was still on edge for the parts where Sybils brother is lurking in the background.
The language and turn of phrase though is what makes this.Henry's dialogue is worth the read alone


Trelawn Ah the Sybil section was great. The tension and the emotion. Such an amazing book. It really packs a punch for what is a relatively short read.


Paul Its amazing how easily Henry imprints his world view on Dorian as well. Dorian pretty much moulds himself to Henrys philisophy.


Trelawn Dorian, for all his bravado, is very impressionable. I think that's part of what drives his vanity. He cares what people think of him and he tries to be the best version of Henry and others expectations which of course is ironic.


Emma Flanagan (emma89) I think Henry is probably my favourite character in it. He strikes me as the one Wilde put the most of himself into with his rather droll comments on life and art.

As everyone has said it is of course a morality tale. Gothic horror is never about the horror,it's just a screen to allow the writer to explore issues which he could not have discussed otherwise, often the corruption and seedy underbelly of Victorian life. It has a somewhat fairytale character to it, the innocent corrupted but a picture bears witness to his fall. It's like something out of Brothers Grimm or the modern reworkings of fairytales in Angela Carters books.


Luciana Damasceno (lucydamasceno) | 11 comments Emma wrote: "I think Henry is probably my favourite character in it. He strikes me as the one Wilde put the most of himself into with his rather droll comments on life and art.

As everyone has said it is of c..."


Thanks, Emma, for putting in better words what I was about to say.

When I read this book, it felt not really like a proper novel, but as an brillant way to broadcast Wilde's ideas, to expose the hypocrisy of Victorian's high society. Sometimes, it sounded to me more like an essay than a tale really.

Moreover, I couldn't help myself but to believe that Wilde knew so much about it because he was part of it, or at least, he had many rich and poshy people in his circles.

Still, I am aware I don't know much about Irish literature and its authors, and even less about Victorian society.

Also, I wonder, was this book meant to be a theatre play? It seems so easy to imagine it on a stage that one could say it was intentional.


Paul The stage comment is probably correct as most of Wildes other famous works were plays. This is his only novel but it is easily imagined in a stage as you read


Emma Flanagan (emma89) The essay comment is also interesting. During his imprisonment Wilde wrote a letter to his ex lover which dealt with many of the themes in the book From what I remember. After his death it was published as an essay called De Profundis.

There is also no doubt that Wilde would have been very familiar with the seedy underbelly of Victorian society due to his sexuality. Though to be fair most gentlemen would have been. This is a period when thousands of women in London alone were working as prostitutes, some no more then 12, and syphilis was rampant affecting all classes of society. Children dying or being born blind due to syphilis contracted from their parents was common. Opium was also a big issue and big business. It is no coincidence that Sherlock Holmes has an opium addiction. It would have been very common.


Colleen | 1205 comments I read Dorian Grey in school and remember hating it so much. I'm so glad I reread it as an adult I got so much more out of it now.


message 11: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul I'd say it wouldnt be fun to micro analyse as a school kid . The curse of many a classic is a bad teacher


Colleen | 1205 comments That's true .I wonder how many other classic/novels I had to read for school that I would appreciate more as an adult...


message 13: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul There can always be a big difference between reading a book for study and for pleasure.


message 14: by Sara (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sara | 2357 comments Mod
Finally getting around to commenting.

So it appears that I'm the only one in the group that didn't totally love this book. When I was about a third of the way through the book I wrote, "I'm finding the degree of antisemitism in this super frustrating, especially given how keen an observer of society Wilde is otherwise..." and that "Also many of his characters are very misogynistic. I am generally of the opinion that when an author is having his characters make prejudiced statements, that it's incumbent on the author to be rather clear about whether he (or she) shares those prejudices or is commenting on them. I also give authors some degree of latitude for the time in which they were writing. I'll wait until I finish the whole book, but right now, the misogyny and anti-Semitic elements are what may drag down an otherwise 4 star read to 3 stars."

While there were other aspects of the books I loved (including the style, and ending), I couldn't get over the aforementioned aspects.

The style reminds me of Brideshead Revisited. Has anyone else read that?


message 15: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul I havent read that Sara but quick look at the blurb I probably should.


Colleen | 1205 comments Sounds like I should read it too


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