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The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
By: (1854-1900)

A novel that disturbs you 160 years after it first appeared in print, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, has so much relevance and resonance even today.

Dorian Gray is a strikingly handsome young man whose beauty attracts a debauched aristocrat Sir Henry Wotton. Dorian's picture has been painted by a talented artist Basil Hallward and Sir Henry becomes desperate to meet Dorian, though Basil himself is against it. Sir Henry persuades Dorian to pose for a picture painted by Basil and during the painting sessions, Henry “educates” the young and impressionable Dorian about life. Sir Henry's vicious nature, his obsession with youth and his cynical, materialistic outlook on everything begin to slowly affect Dorian. Dorian descends into a horrifying world, where he commits all manner of abhorrent deeds with all round him feeling the effects. Lives are destroyed, crimes are committed but Dorian's self-indulgent and depraved life continues. The story takes a bizarre and terrifying twist from here onwards as the picture begins to develop a life of its own.

The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published as a serial in Lippincott's Magazine in 1890 with much apprehension by the editors who feared that it was too corrupt and depraved for readers. Wilde's own scandalous private life was already creating an uproar in society. Finally the novel was published in the magazine but with large-scale censorship without Wilde's permission. As predicted, it caused widespread outrage and condemnation. However, Wilde remained unfazed and proceeded to publish it in book form with a wonderful preface which he called an Apologia, in which he talks about art, philosophy and creativity.

Controversy apart, the story is gripping in its Gothic atmosphere, making it a literary masterpiece, with Wilde's brilliant touches of characterization, emotional sensitivity and understanding of human nature. Today's modern emphasis on youthfulness, fighting age and obsession with external appearance finds echoes in this richly evocative novel. It has been extensively adapted for film, stage and television, with references to Dorian Gray appearing in a wide variety of works of art. Radio adaptations, plays and musicals have been continuously appearing right down to the present day.

The Picture of Dorian Gray has fascinated readers the world over, with its eternal themes of art, youth, beauty, morality and immortality. Dorian Gray remains the symbol of what all mankind seeks even today – the Fountain of Youth - even though it comes with a price tag.

First Page:

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde THE PREFACE The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass. The moral life of man forms part of the subject matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium... Continue reading book >>

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 10 reviews)

Reviewer: - March 19, 2014
Subject: Dorian Gray
An absolutely amazing performance from the reader.
Reviewer: - October 8, 2013
Subject: Dorian Gray
The reader really brought the story to life. Listened to it over two days and enjoyed it very much.
Reviewer: - October 5, 2013
Great reader :) love the story
Reviewer: - September 20, 2013
Love the book. Don't think it should be in the "history" section, however.
Reviewer: - September 17, 2013
Excellent reader. Great story.
Reviewer: - September 15, 2013
Subject: Fantastic
Very Enjoyable Book and a Briliiant Reader!!!
Reviewer: - September 11, 2013
Very beautifully read! Thanks so much...
Reviewer: - September 8, 2013
He did read the book very well. :) I agree with the other reviewers.
August 11, 2013
Fantastic! Really loved this book. A great book read by an excellent reader!
Reviewer: - July 21, 2013
Subject: Dorian Gray
I enjoyed this book tremendously. The reader was excellent.


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