Title: A Picture of Dorian Gray
Author: Oscar Wilde
Page Length: 331 pages
Synopsis: Blond-haired, blue-eyed Dorian Gray is a guileless young man, who arrives one day at the studio of painter Basil Hallward. There he meets the world-wise Lord Henry Wotton, whose hedonistic and cynical view of life is dramatically different from that of the more earnest Hallward. The two men spar in a witty war of words, and Dorian feels inexorably drawn to Wotton’s philosophy of youthful pleasure and amorality. As Hallward completes his portrait, Dorian wishes that he could always remain youthful-and that the painting could bear the burdens of the advancing years.
Wilde’s tale takes the reader into a world in which such things are possible. We meet the unaging Dorian Gray at his leisure, taking advantage of his ability to charm all those around him, and taking his pleasures without heed of the consequences. But one day, after a rash act of cruelty to the woman who loves him, Dorian notices that something in his portrait has changed–a cruel smile has twisted its once-perfect lips.
Adding touches of the gothic and the supernatural to his satiric depiction of upper-class British life, Wilde creates a classic modern myth: the handsome young aristocrat, who remains beautiful while his portrait, the mirror of his soul, withers.
Also included in this volume are “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime,” “The Canterville Ghost,” “The Sphinx Without a Secret,” and “The Model Millionaire,” which together comprise the most important of Wilde’s short fiction.
“You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.”
― Oscar Wilde, A Picture of Dorian Gray
Why did I chose this book?
There is something inherently wrong with seeing A Picture of Dorian Gray as anything other than pure horror. I think we’ve all had that one moment in our lives when something… really… throws us for a loop. Something we hide from others or we hide from ourselves suddenly turning on us and showing us just exactly who we are.
That’s what Dorian’s tale reveals. Human nature. Human… frailty. Human… wickedness or corruption in appearing to be just and true.
I enjoyed this story, not because it was engaging or captivated my attention, but because it slowly unfolded before my eyes, and slowly chopped everyone down to size and made them look at themselves for who they really are, and not who they pretend to be. The wit and intelligence within each line spoke to me as only someone deeply in tune with their thoughts can speak to another person and make them understand.
I’ve always loved reading Wilde’s works because he’s completely unafraid to speak his mind and get to the underbelly of a conversation. He might jest and jibe and throw caution to the wind, but underneath it all he has quite a bit to say. And if you’re willing… you might just learn he’s speaking directly to you.
I’d recommend this to anyone who loved or wanted to get into a solid classic read with a bit of horror and gothic thunder rumbling throughout. Pick up a copy from your local library and get to readin’! You won’t be disappointed.
What I love/like about it:
- I think I covered this above, but… the intelligence of it.
- The way it breaks down everyone’s defenses and makes them sees themselves (and everyone else) as they really are – whatever horrible, twisted, ugly thing that might be
- That it is unabashedly honest, yet still witty as only Wilde can make it. ❤
Warnings or Triggers
Some disturbing imagery. Basically fine otherwise.
ALTERNATIVE TITLES FOR THE DAY
What a strange collection I have for you today… Do tell me if you’ve read any of them. I love two, found one only “okay” and the other hated. Can you guess which?