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The Picture of Dorian Gray Paperback – Oct 13 1993

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; New edition edition (Oct. 13 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486278077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486278070
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

In this celebrated work, his only novel, Wilde forged a devastating portrait of the effects of evil and debauchery on a young aesthete in late-19th-century England. Combining elements of the Gothic horror novel and decadent French fiction, the book centers on a striking premise: As Dorian Gray sinks into a life of crime and gross sensuality, his body retains perfect youth and vigor while his recently painted portrait grows day by day into a hideous record of evil, which he must keep hidden from the world. For over a century, this mesmerizing tale of horror and suspense has enjoyed wide popularity. It ranks as one of Wilde's most important creations and among the classic achievements of its kind.

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THE studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
It's been a while since I read The Picture Of Dorian Gray, but I'll try to review it as well as I can.
The Picture Of Dorian Gray takes place in late nineteenth-century England, among the wealthy middle- or lower upper class. It is about Dorian Gray, a young man who is beautiful, charming and popular. His good friend Basil Hallward is painting his portrait, and during a visit at Basil's house he meets Lord Henry, another friend of Basils. Lord Henry is decadent and provocative, and Dorian is very impressed by him and his ideas.
Lord Henry tells him about how precious his youth and beauty is, and how awful everything will become when he grows old ("When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter then defeats").
When Basils painting is finished, Dorian sees his own beauty in it and is struck by the fear of aging. He makes a pact with the devil, and sells his soul so that he can remain young and beautiful forever, while his painting grows old and repulsive. His former kind and lovely self is gradually reformed, and he grows evil and corrupt although he still appears just as fresh and innocent as he has always been.
This book is not the best one I've read, but it is pretty good. I think that the characters are sometimes turned into caricatures of themselves; they don't really appear to be real persons. Although I really liked Lord Henry's philosophical monologues, they sometimes grew tiresome and a bit too long. The novel, and in particular the ending, is quite predictable.
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Format: Paperback
This is quite a book. Mr. Wilde has quite a literary ability. His characters are as vibrant as a Van Gogh, his plot is tense, and he has quite a gift for quips and comebacks. All of this combines for a great piece of literature, regardless of the topic or story.
This book explores the darker side of humanity, along the lines of Faust, Dr. Jekyll, and Lord of the Flies. We all feel this dread and anxiety deep within our soul; Wilde does not hold a mirror, but a picture for us to look upon and marvel. You get the chills up and own your spine as you watch Lord Henry seduce Dorian Grey.
I think the high point of the story was in Chapter XI when Dorian sets a mirror next to the foul picture and goes back and forth looking at his baby-face and then the incubus in the painting. What is crucial is that Dorian is so detached: he sees himself as the smooth-faced god, but in reality, he is the demon in the picture. But his detachment is what is so crucial. He knows what his soul looks like, but he doesn't care!
At times this books seems like a play, which has Wilde's native element. But the prose has such a smooth flow that you do not notice. I found myself constantly underlining Wilde's aphorism. He has a gift for one-liners, and his book is quite a charming read.
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Format: Paperback
Oscar Wilde is a man who is obsessed by appearances. In this particular novel, he follows from the moment Dorian Gray sells his soul to the devil named beauty and youth, pleasure and enjoyment, to his death and he describes how someone who looks perfect, perfectly young, intelligent, brilliant, beautiful, moral and healthy is in fact nothing but a monster decaying in all possible immoral actions, deeds and ways just under the surface. It is a very strong criticism of victorian society that considers appearances as more important than real ethics and morality. He exposes the hypocrisy of such a society where a whole class of people are nothing but perambulating pictures of perfection hiding the mire and mud of crime and evil. We can also feel another dilemma in this book. Oscar Wilde's own dilemma who has to keep up appearances, the appearances of a well behaved, well educated and perfectly integrated man in this aristocratic society of his, and who yet lives a passion and a whole basket of desires and impulses that are absolutely rejected as crimes by victorian society. We know he will not be able to hide this deeper nature forever. But the book shows that no one can evade one's being exposed and rejected, condemned and sentenced to some punishment forever. There always comes a moment when one will be exposed and rejected. This shows how deeply Oscar Wilde must have suffered in his life. The painting is nothing but a mirror of the deeper self of Dorian Gray, but a mirror who will become one day his accuser.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University of Perpignan.
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Format: Paperback
While Oscar Wilde's central theme of corruption initially captures the readers attention, the character development does not help to hold the reader's attention for a long period of time. Dorian Gray, the central character, has the potential to be a very romantic and dumbfounding character, but because Wilde does not go into great character development, he seems almost more like the painting that comes to represent him ... dimensionless. The point of the novel is to point out how changed Dorian becomes over the years and how he goes from being the epitome of beauty to someone that is hardly recognized as the person he once was. However, in order to feel this transformation, the reader would need to feel as if he or she knew the original Dorian Gray. Because the beginning of the novel does not describe him enough, the full effect of Dorian's startling transformation is unable to be fully comprehended.
In addition, although the theme of outer beauty coupled with inner corruption is a strong one, this book seems more like one that should be read in a class and discussed in groups. It is not a novel that is easy-reading for pleasure. The style of writing makes it hard to breeze through the book, although on the positive the book brings about much self-contemplation and is very thought provoking. The reader cannot put it down because the whole novel leads to the very disturbing, although somewhat predictable, ending.
In general, it is a book that should be read and will be enjoyed by many. The reader can relate to the feelings felt by the main characters and the themes in the book are ones that can be witnessed in real life. The general faults of the novel are eventually outweighed by the suspense and the intrigue as the painting of Dorian Gray, once a masterpiece, becomes more defiled with each horrible act committed by Dorian.
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