The Picture of Dorian Gray (Barnes & Noble Signature Classics)

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Barnes & Noble Signature Classics)

by Oscar Wilde
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Overview

While waiting to begin his final sitting for artist Basil Hallward’s portrait of him, the beautiful, young Dorian Gray has a conversation that changes the course of his life. Basil’s friend Lord Henry Wotton fills Dorian’s head with the idea that youth, beauty, and pleasure are all that matter in the world. He urges Dorian to indulge in all of life’s sensual joys before age takes its toll and his good looks fade.

When Dorian sees Basil’s stunning finished picture, he is transfixed by its reflection of his own beauty. He is also troubled by the knowledge that the image in the painting will remain forever youthful and handsome while he himself grows older and less desirable. He wishes aloud that the roles were reversed, saying that he would give his soul, if only the painting would suffer the ravages of time and he were to remain forever young. As the old adage goes: Be careful what you wish for.

Is Oscar Wilde’s only published novel a paean to hedonism? A cautionary tale? Something else altogether? In his preface, Wilde warns readers not to search for meaning in the story. “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book,” he says. “Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of the most assuredly and elegantly written books of all time. That is all.

Barnes & Noble’s Signature Classics series offers readers great works of literature in affordable, beautifully designed editions. Each book features an authoritative text with an informative introduction and notes by a scholar expert, as well as a chronology of the author’s life, a discussion of adaptations of the work for film, television, and other media, and a bibliography of suggested further reading. These books are essential reading for lovers of classic literature and a foundation for any home library.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781435171466
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 10/27/2020
Series: Barnes & Noble Signature Classics Series
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 6,761
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Joseph Bristow is editor of the Oxford English Texts edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Poetry and Olive Schreiner's African Farm for OWC. He is the author of The Fin-de-Si cle Poem: English Culture and the 1890s (Ohio UP, 2005).

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

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!

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Picture of Dorian Gray"
by .
Copyright © 2003 Oscar Wilde.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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Table of Contents

Introduction
Author Name: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The Preface

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Appendix A: from Wilde’s “The Decay of Lying” (1889)
Appendix B: from Wilde’s “Pen, Pencil and Poison” (1889)
Appendix C: from Wilde’s “The Critic as Artist” (1890)
Appendix D: Dorian Gray’s Name
Appendix E: “Poisoned by a book” and “the worship of the senses”: Huysmans’ A Rebours and Pater’s Renaissance
Appendix F: The First Wilde Trial (1895)
Appendix G: Wildean “Languor”
Appendix H: Contemporary Reviews and Wilde’s Responses

Works Cited and Recommended Reading

What People are Saying About This

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

Customer Reviews