The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde
4.2 354

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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940000750445
Publisher: B&R Samizdat Express
Publication date: 12/01/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 520 KB

About the Author

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. His father was a celebrated surgeon, his mother a supporter of Irish independence who presided over literary salons in Ireland and England. Although his brilliance as a classicist at Dublin's Trinity College won him a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, Wilde failed in his attempts at an academic career. Instead he set his sights on the literary and artistic worlds of London. Fusing the influences of Ruskin, the Pre-Raphaelites, Walter Pater, and Gautier's l'art pour l'art, he made himself the most visible manifestation of the Aesthetic movement; by 1881 a burlesque of Wilde provided the protagonist for the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Patience. It was to exploit the popularity of the operetta, in fact, that the producer D'Oyly Carte underwrote Wilde's immensely successful lecture tour of America. Married in 1884 to Constance Lloyd, Wilde worked briefly as a magazine editor while publishing poetry, plays, fairy tales, and essays.

The Picture of Dorian Gray was commissioned by J. M. Stoddardt, the Philadelphia publisher of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. It appeared in the July 1890 issue and immediately gained a certain notoriety for being 'mawkish and nauseous,' 'unclean,' 'effeminate,' and 'contaminating.' When it was published as a book the following year, Wilde greatly revised and expanded the text, filling it out with a melodramatic subplot and adding a preface that defended his aesthetic philosophy. As for the book's value as autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter that the main characters are in different ways reflections of him: 'Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be--in other ages, perhaps.'

In the early nineties, Wilde was at the center of an artistic milieu characterized by The Yellow Book, The Rhymers' Club, and the art of Aubrey Beardsley. Banned from performance in England, his poetic drama Salome (1892) was illustrated by Beardsley and finally produced in Paris in 1896. At the same time, Wilde achieved success as a popular playwright, writing in rapid succession Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, and The Importance of Being Earnest. In 1895, two of his plays were on the London stage simultaneously, and he was acknowledged as a pivotal figure in English literary life, admired for his wit and eloquence.

Since at least the mid-1880s, however, Wilde had lived a sexual double life, and in 1893 he distanced himself from his family by taking rooms at the Savoy Hotel. He had by then embarked on a passionate relationship with the considerably younger Lord Alfred Douglas, the English translator of Salome, whom he had met the year after he wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray. In March 1895, Wilde undertook a libel action against the Marquess of Queensberry, Lord Alfred's father, who had denounced Wilde as a 'somdomite' (sic). Wilde withdrew the suit following damaging cross-examination by the marquess's defense attorney, a former classmate of Wilde's. (Question: 'Have you ever adored a young man madly?' Answer: 'I have never given adoration to anybody but myself.') Shortly thereafter, Wilde was arrested for homosexual offenses and underwent two trials before being sentenced to hard labor at Wandsworth Prison and Reading Gaol. A long recriminatory letter to Douglas written while in prison was eventually published as De Profundis.

Released in 1897, Wilde left for France under the name Sebastian Melmoth, a pseudonym combining a martyred saint with a Faustian hero of Gothic romance. A poem based on his prison experience, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, was published in 1898. His health destroyed, and bankrupted by his legal expenses, Wilde lived in Paris for three years, making a conversion to Roman Catholicism just before his death in November 1900. He is buried in the cemetery of Pere Lachaise.

Date of Birth:

October 16, 1854

Date of Death:

November 30, 1900

Place of Birth:

Dublin, Ireland

Place of Death:

Paris, France


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 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 354 reviews.
Lark_LaVoix More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books of ALL time. I've read it over & over. Oscar Wilde was an amazing author & master of witty sarcasm. He has a thought-provoking view on life & society.

My copy is riddled with highlighted quotes that I think perfectly sum up the quirks of human behavior. This book is a thriller, social commentary, philosophical discussion, & vocabulary lesson all in one! He can ramble at some points, but read through it because what these ramblings reveal are quite insightful. Don't be intimidated, though. It's short compared to a lot of other classics with similarly "difficult" language. Grab a dictionary, open up your mind...& you'll get a lot out of this read.
Grey11 More than 1 year ago
I had heard the theatre tale of Dorian Gray and I wanted to know the real story. Something about the Barnes and Noble book cover of the portrait of Dorian Gray made it stand out amongst the other classics. I normally don't mark my books but there were so many whitty remarks and absolute truths I had to mark them so I could tell others. The story takes place over many years but somehow didn't feel rushed and leaves you screaming for more at the end. On top of that, the most interesting thing about the way Wilde writes this story is that he never really tells you what sins the character is guilty of, thus making you fill them in yourself. How wicked is your soul's own thoughts? Definately a buy and keep!
PiggityPig More than 1 year ago
I read the 13 chapter version, and then the 20 Chapter version. Never, ever read the 13ch version, it is dull and flat. The 20 version, the version we know now, is so much more provacative. While I would still recommend Frankenstein as a philosophical text of this, Dorian Gray makes you question within yourself the forces of hedonism and puritanism. The continual fight between Hedonism and Puritanism is still one we must struggle with today, and with both sides refusing to take a middle ground, Dorian Gray remains an important text.
love-2-readJT More than 1 year ago
I started to read this book because I had wanted to read as many of the classics and I could bear through. The Picture of Darian Grey really fooled me. I thought it would be ho-hum until I stated to read it. What a lesson about life. How very often we do away with someone who really loves us to get along with someone who just wants to use us......and we are too in love with ourselves to know or admit we made a mistake till it is too late. Oscar Wilde was a terrific writer.
CScottMorris More than 1 year ago
This ebook was poorly converted, and is riddled with errors. Find another free copy...
Tamara87 More than 1 year ago
I was first captured by this book by Oscar Wilde's wonderful use of language. Although many of his characters are rotten and dirty at the core, they are still very eloquent and every line could be a thought provoking quote. Even the narrations are equally eloquent. Aside from the language, the story is wonderful and I really enjoyed reading the book, as it is the only novel written by Oscar Wilde. If you enjoy the classics, you better not skip this one...and if you don't: still pick this one up from B&N, you will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a project in one of my english classes in high school. I loved it. The dialogue is great, the story is awesome, and I was always wondering what happened next. I recommend it!
Glass-Cannon More than 1 year ago
Good read but tends to drone on at times
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why are the same books listed numerous times and at differing cost?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has a great plot, as well as many lessons learned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The errors take away from the book, thoughit is good
BastilleDay More than 1 year ago
Good book club "classic"
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May I join the clan? And if I may my power would be to gain more strength during the break of dawn. I am a black shecat with blue eyes and have purple paches on my fur. My wing are black and the tips are purple. I hope you will acsept me I will follow the Warrior Code and perhapes find friends here. I promice if you give me an apprentice I will teach her/him the ways of the Code. And plege my self to you to protect you and may be to be friends with you. ~Dawn
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love the book its self. however this version has a good bit of typos, which is mainly just anoying but nothing terrible.
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Awesome book