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Picture of Dorian Gray [NOOK Book]

Overview

The novel begins on a beautiful summer day with Lord Henry Wotton, a strongly-opinionated man, observing the sensitive artist Basil Hallward painting the portrait of a handsome young man named Dorian Gray, who is Basil's ultimate muse. After hearing Lord Henry's world view, Dorian begins to think beauty is the only worthwhile aspect of life. He wishes that the portrait Basil painted would grow old in his place. Under the influence of Lord Henry (who relishes the hedonic lifestyle and is a major exponent thereof),...
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Picture of Dorian Gray

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Overview

The novel begins on a beautiful summer day with Lord Henry Wotton, a strongly-opinionated man, observing the sensitive artist Basil Hallward painting the portrait of a handsome young man named Dorian Gray, who is Basil's ultimate muse. After hearing Lord Henry's world view, Dorian begins to think beauty is the only worthwhile aspect of life. He wishes that the portrait Basil painted would grow old in his place. Under the influence of Lord Henry (who relishes the hedonic lifestyle and is a major exponent thereof), Dorian begins to explore his senses. He discovers amazing actress Sibyl Vane, who performs Shakespeare plays in a dingy theatre. Dorian approaches her and soon proposes marriage. Sibyl, who refers to him as "Prince Charming", swoons with happiness, but her protective brother James tells her that if "Prince Charming" harms her, he will certainly kill him.

Dorian invites Basil and Lord Henry to see Sibyl perform in Romeo and Juliet. Sibyl, whose only knowledge of love was love of theatre, casts aside her acting abilities through the experience of true love with Dorian. Disheartened, Dorian rejects her, saying her beauty was in her acting, and he is no longer interested in her. When he returns home, he notices that his portrait has changed. Dorian realizes his wish has come true – the portrait now bears a subtle sneer and will age with each sin he commits, while his own appearance remains unchanged.

He decides to reconcile with Sibyl, but Lord Henry later informs him that she has killed herself by swallowing prussic acid. Dorian realizes that lust and looks are where his life is headed and he needs nothing else. Over the next 18 years, he experiments with every vice, mostly under the influence of a "poisonous" French decadence novel, a present from Lord Henry. The title is never revealed in the novel, but at Oscar Wilde's trial he admitted that he had 'had in mind' Joris-Karl Huysmans's À Rebours ('Against Nature').

One night, before he leaves for Paris, Basil arrives to question Dorian about rumours of his indulgences. Dorian does not deny his debauchery. He takes Basil to the portrait, which is as hideous as Dorian's sins. In anger, Dorian blames Basil for his fate and stabs Basil to death. He then blackmails an old friend named Alan Campbell, a chemist, into destroying Basil's body. Wishing to escape the guilt of his crime, Dorian travels to an opium den. James Vane is present there and attempts to shoot Dorian after he hears someone refer to Dorian as "Prince Charming". However, he is deceived when Dorian fools James into thinking he is too young to have been involved with Sibyl 18 years earlier. James releases Dorian but is approached by a woman from the opium den who chastises him for not killing Dorian, revealing Dorian has not aged for 18 years. James attempts to run after him, only to find Dorian long gone.

While at dinner, Dorian sees James stalking the grounds and fears for his life. However, during a game-shooting party a few days later, a lurking James is accidentally shot and killed by one of the hunters. After returning to London, Dorian tells Lord Henry that he will be good from now on, and has started by not breaking the heart of his latest innocent conquest named Hetty Merton. Dorian wonders if the portrait has begun to change back, now that he has given up his immoral ways. He unveils the portrait to find it has become worse. Seeing this, he realizes that the motives behind his "self-sacrifice" were merely vanity, curiosity, and the quest for new emotional experiences.

Deciding that only full confession will absolve him, he decides to destroy the last vestige of his conscience. In a rage, he picks up the knife that killed Basil Hallward and plunges it into the painting. His servants wake hearing a cry from inside the locked room, and passers by on the street fetch the police. The servants find Dorian's body, stabbed in the heart and suddenly aged, withered and horrible. It is only through the rings on his hand that the corpse can be identified. Beside him, however, the portrait has reverted to its original form.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940016522425
  • Publisher: Romeo Publications
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 657 KB

Meet the Author

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and short story writer. Known for his barbed wit, he was one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. As the result of a famous trial, he suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years of hard labor after being convicted of the offence of "gross indecency". The scholar H. Montgomery Hyde suggests this term implies homosexual acts not amounting to buggery in British legislation of the time.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 742 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(338)

4 Star

(212)

3 Star

(113)

2 Star

(33)

1 Star

(46)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 743 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 20, 2009

    SPECTACULAR NOVEL, but buy a different edition

    "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is a fantastic book, mixing excellent wit with poignant commentary on society, intertwined around a spiritual story about a man who sold his soul unwittingly, but unrepentantly. Make sure you read this book, BUT ... buy a different edition.

    The editor of this book, Cauti, included many intelligent and spectacular notes throughout the book, but he includes asterisks and cross-marks throughout the book so that you will check his footnotes. These appear on 90% of the pages, and they ruin the flow of Wilde's prose because the reader is compelled to stop reading, check the footnote, and return to their previous position. The rhythm of the writing is totaly disrupted whenever this happens, and it is fair to say that this happens often. Often enough, in fact, that I recommend you buy another edition. Not this one.

    28 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Decadent

    I knew relatively little going into this book...and what little I did know was from less than 100% accurate retellings such as in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or references from cheesy shows or horror flicks (I think perhaps there was a reference in Scooby Doo somewhere?). I had the basic gist...there's a guy, Dorian Gray, who has some magical painting that ages while he stays young and wonderful forever. Not much to go on, but I was still excited to read it. I was pleasantly surprised that the book had much more depth to it.

    I was a little torn on my overall feeling for the book. It took me a while to get into it and there were long passages that were drudgerous to push through. However, from a high level, this is one of the better books I've read this year...or even for numerous years. It had a plenitude of intriguing themes that left me thinking in between readings. It had a lot of humorous quips and paradigms as presented by Harry that I laughed out loud at. It had surprising twists and tension that left me curious as to the true outcome (as opposed to that from rip-off stories). There are a couple of spots that could be considered "climax"...the confrontation with the artist is the main turning point in the book. Personally, I would have rather seen more pages after that turning point than before it. I think the last 1/3 of the book was far more engaging. At the same time, the buildup was necessary to promote the intended mood.

    Overall, this is a book I definitely recommend, with the caveat that you should be aware that it does slow down at points. Just push through those. The overall work is worthy of a couple of slow zones. In fact, perhaps those slow zones serve the purpose of allowing more pondering.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2011

    One of the most well written books you'll ever read

    Believe it or not, I had not heard of The Picture of Dorian Gray until the movie League of Extraordinaty Gentleman came out. I know, crazy right. No, I havn't lived under a rock my whole life. I don't know how i missed it. Well, after seeing the movie I rented every movie of The Picture of Dorian Gray I could find and fell in love with the story. Then I read the book... and fell in love with the writing.

    Reading the first chapter is like being swathed in wonderful writing from head too toe. I felt completely surrounded by it. You can almost feel the warmth of the garden, hear the sounds of the birds and dragonflies, and smell the beauty of the flowers as you sit and listen to this conversation between Harry and Basil. The writing is an immersive experince. And Basil's description of his first encounter with Dorian and the feelings that Dorian stirs in him, sound almost... romantic. At the least there's definately a bromance going on. And we also see the first crack of Dorian's facade in this chapter, which Basil's decsription of how Dorian sometiems seems purposefully cruel to him. Isn't it interesting, the first chapter ends with Harry demanding to meet Dorian and dragging Basil into the house and we haven't even met Dorian yet ourselves.

    As I read the book it occured to me that it could also have been titled the Influence of Lord Henry Wotten, for Harry's (as he's called by his friends) opinions and influence are as central to the story as Dorian Gray himself and more of a factor than the portrait itself. Hardly a scene goes by that Harry, whether present or not, is not quoted as an authority. It was as if he was the potter and Dorian was the clay. Harry was fully aware of his influence, and Dorian... Dorian seemed to be racing from one sensation to another like a spoiled child.

    This was by far one of the best written, most interesting stories I have read. I will read it over and over and would recommend it to everyone.

    STATS:
    Nook Pages: 240
    Genere: Classic
    Re-readability: Very High

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Better if you know about the author

    An interesting story rife with paradoxical witticisms and artistic commentary. Something falls short in the plot structure for me to withold labeling it as a great work of literature though I did very much enjoy it

    This book becomes infinitely more interesting as one researches Oscar Wilde and what the characters and art meant to him and the historical context in which they were illustrated.
    I would definitely recommend trying to find at least a brief account of Wilde's life and reading before delving into this book, it will pay dividends in the end and leave you less nonplussed about the surfeit of now untimely allusions.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2009

    Absolutely wonderful book

    I had to read this book for class. Sadly if it wasn't required I wouldn't have read it because I cannot stand classics. When I read this book and loved it I was astonished. Before reading it though I do recommend looking into the time period in which it was published so that you understand why it was such a controversial book. It was absolutely genius though.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    Really pretty good - probably deserves a 4.5

    I read this book many months ago, and as time has passed, it only grows upon me more. Though I will admit some parts are dry... other parts are fraught with action and suspense. The ending'and book itself' shocked me, and I am still thinking about it now, 7 months later. If you want a 'thriller', a book that is plot-driven and never drones, read another book. But if you want a complex, horrifying, intriguing work based on characters and self-conflict, then definitely I highly recommend Dorian Gray

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Very Bad

    This is a very poorly copied version of a great book and to my knowledge the only free version available. You are better off just buying a cheap copy of the ebook.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

    Very good book

    First classic i've ever read and it was amazing. It was a unique and interesting change from most books i read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2012

    DO not get.

    Horrible book scans that don't include the whole book do not get.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    Typos galore

    Typos galore

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2011

    Amazing!

    I honestly loved the book, couldn't stop reading. I truely fell in love with this book and its characters. Would most deffinately recomend it to everyone, if you enjoy mystery and scandelous happenings.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Insightful on the essentials of life...

    Reading the synopsis of this novel, you would expect it to be a fantastical tale of magic and suspense. This is absolutely untrue. The novel delves into the nooks and crannies of the human soul. It dwells upon the subjects of right and wrong, heaven and hell, and vanity and evil. Every page is quotable and in every line, a debate can be found. Excellent writing. Excellent skill. The ending is abrupt, but also brilliant.

    *On a scale of 1-10 of reading difficulty, this book is a 4 or 5. Not hard to understand at all. Go for it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2011

    Invest your time

    The Picture of Dorian Gray is an interesting exploration of human weaknesses. Kind of creepy!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    One of my favorite books.

    I's an amazing book, but hard to read mostly because i'm not familiar with the words used in the book. but when I read it again, I believe Oscar Wilde IS A GENIUS!!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    be careful what you wish for...

    This book contains 5 stories, all fascinating! The Picture of Dorian Gray is a gripping tale about the evils of being superficial. It was intriguing to see how the portrait changed to reflect the heart and soul of Dorian. Dorian was able to remain young and beautiful while his sins were reflected on canvas for the whole world to see. Dorian locks the portrait away to try to hide his shame from the world which is a very human impulse! I wonder, if it hadn't all been to much for him to bear, would he have been immortal? Could he truly have stayed young forever? Dorian must never have heard the old adage, be careful what you wish for because it may come true!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2013

    Great Book

    This is an amazing tale of how flesly desires can corrpput. Amazing classic!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    The Picture Of Dorian Gray Review

    Dorian Gray is a classic novel written by Irish author Oscar Wilde. It is a very unique book that is a classic due to its excellent plot, colorful characters, and dramatic conclusion, which is also an amazing combination of drama and a touch of horror. The book takes place in Victorian London and its main characters are Dorian and Lord Henry, two very wealthy men, and also a painter named Basil who later goes on to draw that infamous portrait. In a way the characters are a bit cliché, but they all have quite a bit of depth, Dorian in particular. The story is mainly based around Dorian and Henry discussing the best way to live their lives, while Basil comes in to talk every now and then. Lord Henry always seemed to be a bad influence on Dorian as they both grew up to be rich, fat, narcissistic pigs.
    Later on in the book, Basil made a picture of Dorian when he was around 17 years old, at the height of his late youth. He claimed it to be his best work although Dorian never permitted him to display it at a gallery. After Basil painted it, Dorian cried out as to why the painting could stay young but he would not. He then later went on to rant about wishing to have eternal youth. Afterwards, Dorian spent the rest of his days living his life in a terrible fashion while something peculiar seemed to happen to the painting. In the beginning I stated that some characters were cliché, but Oscar Wilde was only displaying the sad truth about many Victorian Lords. Many could be very greedy and self-centered (although not to the extent of Dorian obviously.) The Picture Of Dorian Gray was a marvelous book of the 19TH Century, and readers can still enjoy this wonderful book today.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    My most highlighted book!

    I absolutely LOVE this book!!! Very quotable and extremely spellbinding! I highly recommend it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    actually, horrible story

    I realized I never read this book, only knowing the legend through pop-culture. It was different than I expected, Widle's writing style is atrocious; no one in this novel sits down, they all throw themselves upon the furniture, Every Single Time. Its a ridiculous piece of prose, not all that engaging. The pop-culture idea of Dorian is much more interesting than the genuine article.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2014

    Hey

    Heuhey

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