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The Picture of Dorian Gray
     

The Picture of Dorian Gray

4.1 805
by Oscar Wilde, Robert Mighall (Introduction)
 

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The Picture of Dorian Gray is a stage adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic and controversial novel, described by Osborne as a "Moral Entertainment". The story of a man who preserves his youth and is feted by society, while his portrait deteriorates with age and corruption.

Overview

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a stage adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic and controversial novel, described by Osborne as a "Moral Entertainment". The story of a man who preserves his youth and is feted by society, while his portrait deteriorates with age and corruption.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A heady late-Victorian tale of double-living, in which Dorian's fatal, corruptive influence over women and men alike is suggestively indistinct."  —Sarah Waters, author, Fingersmith

"Every line that Wilde ever wrote affected me so enormously."  —Morrissey, musician

William A. Cohen University of Maryland
"This is a fine edition of Oscar Wilde's novel, ideally suited to readers approaching the work (and all its accompanying mythology) for the first time. The informative introduction, as well as the collection of supplementary materials contained in the appendices, helpfully place the work in historical, biographical, political, and literary contexts. The edition is especially appropriate for undergraduate students, on whom the scandalousness of Wilde's story might be lost, without benefit of such contextualizations."
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
Basil Hallward paints a wonderful portrait of Dorian Gray, a handsome, young man. In painting the portrait, Dorian realizes that youth is most important but is fleeting. He offers his soul in order to stay young while the picture grows old. Basil allows Dorian to take the portrait home with him. After that, Dorian begins a series of cruel and horrible acts: breaking off his engagement to an actress, treating her cruelly, spending his money recklessly, and consorting with thieves. As time goes by, Dorian remains beautiful while the portrait becomes more and more ugly. Dorian finally confronts Basil and murders the artist to hopefully rid himself of the portrait's power. Unfortunately this murder does not help; Dorian decides he must destroy the portrait. As he tears the portrait, Dorian ends up destroying himself while the portrait of a beautiful youth remains. Adaptations of classic stories can be very helpful in exposing older literature to a wider audience. However, the story is already bizarre; this adaptation does not help clarify anything. The story remains true to Wilde but this faithfulness may cause younger readers to not understand Gray. The illustrations are rather mundane and do not really enhance the story. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780141439570
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/14/2003
Series:
Penguin Classics Series
Edition description:
Revised
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
217,451
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Dorian made no answer, but passed listlessly in front of his picture and turned towards it. When he saw it he drew back, and his cheeks flushed for a moment with pleasure. A look of joy came into his eyes, as if he had recognized himself for the first time. He stood there motionless and in wonder, dimly conscious that Hallward was speaking to him, but not catching the meaning of his words. The sense of his own beauty came on him like a revelation. He had never felt it before. Basil Hallwards's compliments has seemed to him to be merely the charming exaggerations of friendship. He had listened to them, laughed at them, forgotten them. They had not influenced his nature. Then had come Lord Henry Wotton with his strange panegyric on youth, his terrible warning of its brevity. That had stirred him at the time, and now, as he stood gazing at the shadow of his own loveliness, the full reality of the description flashed across him. Yes, there would be a day when his face would be wrinkled and wizen, his eyes dim and colourless, the grace of his figure broken and deformed. The scarlet would pass away from his lips, and the gold steal from his hair. The life that was to make his soul would mar his body. He would become dreadful, hideous, and uncouth.

As he thought of it, a sharp pang of pain struck though him like a knife, and made each delicate fibre of his nature quiver. His eyes deepened into amethyst, and across them came a mist of tears. He felt as is a hand of ice had been laid upon his heart.

'Don't you like it?' cried Hallward at last, stung a little by the lad's silence, not understanding what it meant.

'Of course he likes it,' said Lord Henry. 'Who wouldn't like it? It is one of the greatest things in modern art. I will give you anything you like to ask for it. I must have it.'

'It is not my property, Harry.'

'Whose property is it?'

'Dorian's, of course,' answered the painter.

'He's a very lucky fellow.'

'How sad it is!' murmured Dorian Gary, with his eyes still fixed upon his own portrait. 'How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. It will never be older than this particular day of June...If it were only the other way!

What People are Saying About This

Richard Ellman
His wit is an agent of renewal.
From the Publisher
"Simon Prebble perfectly achieves Lord Henry's 'low, languid voice' and sparkling conversation, while avidly expressing the other characters' more torrid emotions." —-AudioFile
Richard Ellmann
He is not one of those writers who as the centuries change lose their relevance. Wilde is one of us. His wit is an agent of renewal, as pertinent now as a hundred years ago.

Meet the Author

Oscar Wilde is one of the most popular writers of the late nineteenth century. Born in 1854 to Anglo-Irish intelligentsia parents, Wilde was educated at a very young age, quickly becoming trilingual and interested in philosophy. Throughout his career, he wrote many essays, plays, and short stories but only one novel: The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was criticized by contemporary reviewers for its homosexual undertones as well as its themes of self-indulgence and immorality. Although a failure during its time, the novel was later heralded as a classic. His other well-known works include Lady Windmere’s Fan, De Profundis, and The Importance of Being Earnest. At the peak of his career, Wilde was arrested on the grounds of “gross indecency with men,” tried, and sentenced to two years in prison. Upon his release, he was exiled from Britain and never returned. He died in Paris in 1900, impoverished and alone, at the young age of forty-six.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
October 16, 1854
Date of Death:
November 30, 1900
Place of Birth:
Dublin, Ireland
Place of Death:
Paris, France
Education:
The Royal School in Enniskillen, Dublin, 1864; Trinity College, Dublin, 1871; Magdalen College, Oxford, England, 1874

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The Picture of Dorian Gray (Collins Classics) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 805 reviews.
MDC_ColumbiaU More than 1 year ago
"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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
theokester More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First classic i've ever read and it was amazing. It was a unique and interesting change from most books i read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written in the late 1800s by a British author, you can expect lengthy phrasing and vocabulary specific to the Brits. However, the content is very thought provoking. A young and beautiful man, Dorian, who happens to be one of the idle rich that have nothing to do all day but delve in the arts and drink tea, has his portrait painted and subsequently becomes influenced by the artist and his friend. Having no sound background that anchors his psychological and moral character, he easily absorbs the skewed philosophies of the two men. He is taught by the artist that youth and beauty is everything and is so temporary that one must do anything to hold on to it. The other man teaches him that there are no consequences to your sins. "Men represent the triumph of mind over morals" and "the sins we commit once with loathing, we will do many more times with joy". Dorian quickly became totally hedonistic and sold his soul to stay young and beautiful. He wished that the portrait would take on the changes in his beauty as he grew older. It also began taking on physical changes of cruelty and evil. The book depicts his moral decline and the grotesque changes in the portrait. It has many quotable passages. The mind of Oscar Wilde is fascinating.
Bookworm95AO More than 1 year ago
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.
MrsG-EnglishTeacher More than 1 year ago
The Picture of Dorian Gray is an interesting exploration of human weaknesses. Kind of creepy!
XX18 More than 1 year ago
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!!!!
Holly2009 More than 1 year ago
This book is magnificient. It allowed me to appreciate my own mortality and the impact that my life has on others. It also made me realize that there truly are good and evil people that exist in this world. Wilde captures the beauty of human life in every syllable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One my favorite books since Phantom of the Opera. It should be on Oprahs reading list!!! VERY INTELLECTUAL!!! MUST READ!!! MEMORABLE!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Poe_Ho More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVE this book!!! Very quotable and extremely spellbinding! I highly recommend it!
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous 4 months ago
I could not put this book down! I read it in two days and was sad when it ended. I definitely recommend it for a rainy day and a cup of coffee, it has a message and is also a thrilling read.
Anonymous 9 months ago
What a great piece of writing! At first I was hesitant and only had to read it for a research paper for my college English class. But soon got engulfed in the life of Dorian Gray and couldn't put the book down!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Number ONE!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book. I would have given 5 stars if there weren't so many foot notes and side notes. The language style is a bit difficult to get used to at first but after a while it flowed quite nicely. I did end up purchasing the movie and I watched it before finishing the book. It helped the flow of the story a little better for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is is a wonderful read it has a rich setting and detaild that bring this exceptional work of literature to life I would hughly recomend to anyone!
semcdwes More than 1 year ago
Set at the height of the Victorian era in London, this novel tells the story of a young man who becomes so enamored of his youth and beauty that he allows it to steal his soul. Corrupted by the flattery of a painter who idolized him and the careless words of a dandy that the only virtues to be had are youth and beauty, he makes a desperate plea that his portrait will age while he remains unchanged. The premise is a fascinating one. What vices would one allow themself if they knew that it could never be seen on our faces by the outer world? However, I think it is an inherently flaws concept, as most people are guided by a set of morals and ethics that would stop us long before we reached that state of corruption that the titular character does. However I thought it was greatly redeemed by the novel's conclusion. More than anything, I found that the philosophical tone of the novel was overbearing. I enjoy the study of philosophy, and I don't typically mind it's presence in my books. That said, it so consumed the story that I found myself skimming not only passages but at one point a whole chapter. It was just too much and in my opinion detracted from the narrative. I know that Wilde is much more widely known as a playwright, and as this was only my first taste of his style, I intend to try one of his plays to see if I find it more readable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was destroyed by this book. Never have I felt such strong emotions, and this was all from reading this book. It's a different type of feeling that you get from reading Oscar Wilde. It's an enlightened feeling, a feeling of completion. This book gives me sense of that completion like I have learned everything there is in the world, yet I have not. The Picture of Dorian Gray takes place in late 19th century London. London at this time was a place of class. Men were men, and ladies were ladies. Basil Hallward was an artist, who painted a picture of this charming and mystical young man, Dorian Gray. Basil is so passionate about this perfect human being that he insists on him not meeting anyone else as to not spoil his delicate character. Dorian is seen by many as perfect, with his baby blue eyes, and blonde hair. He is liked by all, and is naive, and young.  Dorian meets Basil’s friend, Lord Henry, who tells Dorian about the darkness of life. “Women, as some witty Frenchman once put it, inspire us with the desire to do masterpieces and always prevent us from carrying them out.” -Lord Henry, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian realizes that he does not want to grow old and live these horrible things that man lives. So he goes to the painting that Basil painted of him, and wishes that he will never grow old.  Dorian then lives his life, committing atrocities and wrong doings, and his face always stays old. Then after he broke an actress’ heart and she kills herself, he realizes that the painting has a snarl. The painting grows older while he stays young! This book has a sense of science fiction or mythology but yet it is still quite enjoyable for me. It’s a realistic fiction book but the painting is definitely science fiction. The way that Oscar Wilde writes is powerful. His writings made me stay up late at night just thinking to myself. He has that deep striking style that is shown in this book and many others. Oscar Wilde is definitely a great writer and this book is a must read. Alex B.