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The Picture of Dorian Gray [Paperback]

Oscar Wilde
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 4.75
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Book Description

Oct. 13 1993 Dover Thrift Editions
Celebrated novel traces the moral degeneration of a handsome young Londoner from an innocent fop into a cruel and reckless pursuer of pleasure and, ultimately, a murderer. As Dorian Gray sinks into depravity, his body retains perfect youth and vigor while his recently painted portrait reflects the ravages of crime and sensuality.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray + The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde + Frankenstein
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Picture of excellence May 12 2008
`So, Henry, how is that young Protégée of yours progressing, hem?
Lord Henry paused to saviour his glass. Pleased, he set it down, just so, beside his dinner plate, and turned to Lord Fermor.
`Pundits say troubles come in threes, Uncle,' replied Lord Henry. `What the pundits omit in their gabardine rush to spread their misery to others in a foolish attempt to alleviate their own, is that the best in life never travels solo. Take, for example, the wine and dinner before us. Both French. Together they constitute a meal to entice the gods down from the Mount. When did you ever come across a bad French meal, or a good French man? Yet when wine and food march together, they repay the Creator.'
`No doubt,' replied Lord Fermor, `but you evade the issue. I asked about the young chap you have taken into your entourage. You know,' Lord Fermor struggled to recall the name, `that chap who poses for Mr Hallward here.'
Basil Hallward felt the heat of recognition first on his brow, then running through his whole body. A retiring man, more at home with his easels and sitters than at high table, he shrank from the public glare.
Recognising the signs, though failing to sympathise with them, Lady Agatha piped up.
`Mr Hallword has many sitters, do you not, Sir.'
`Er, yes, indeed I do,' replied Mr Hallward, grateful for the prompt. `For example, just today I encountered a young man of exquisite appearance, youth in all its pomp. He has promised to sit for me. Lord Henry, I fancy, will try to take him away and teach him of the world, thereby spoiling him as a object d'art.' He laughed to denote humour, simultaneously glancing at his friend to convey the serious meaning behind his joke. Keep away Lord Henry, the glanced announced, shielded behind the laughter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a strange take on humanity May 25 2004
By A Customer
This fascinating story of extreme narcissism and moral dilemna provides food for thought on the author's strange and sometimes twisted views on society as played out by the characters. This book provides a deep pessimism which ultimately corrupts innocense in the end. rather a strange, but interesting novel to say the least
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3.0 out of 5 stars Forever Young Nov. 11 2003
Innocent and young Dorian Gray is seduced by some bad influences, and taught to worship youth, beauty, and sensation. Due to a passionate prayer, the physical effects of a life dedicated to self-gratification and pleasure-seeking are borne by a painting of him instead of by his own body. The story focuses not on the actual events of Dorian's life, but the discussions on the philosophies supporting such a life. To this reviewer, the message is that a life of selfishness and self-gratification corrupts, and in the end we can have no separation from this corruption. Dorian Gray is a tad slow at times, as the conversations can get long, but it is still educational, and certainly worth reading.
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars We are Dorain Gray Sept. 23 2003
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Appearances are not what they look like
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... Read more
Published on May 22 2003 by Jacques COULARDEAU
3.0 out of 5 stars The Picture of Dorian Gray
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... Read more
Published on May 11 2003 by Michele
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Words
Oscar Wilde was shunned by the public after publishing The Picture of Dorian Gray. It is a beautifully written book and is as much a work of art as an elegantly painted... Read more
Published on March 15 2003 by K. Mandalovic
5.0 out of 5 stars Be careful what you wish for
Gray is a beautiful young man who after seeing his portrait wishes that the painting ages rather than his own face. Read more
Published on Dec 21 2002 by David A. Riley
5.0 out of 5 stars an expose of human sin and folly
Three words: Dark, beautiful, sensitive.
Published on Oct. 25 2002 by Veloci86
4.0 out of 5 stars A True Moral Dilemma
After letting his friend Basil Hallward paint a portrait of him, Dorian Gray makes a wish to the heavens above that the the picture would take on all his sins and showings of age... Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2001 by Chelsey P.
4.0 out of 5 stars Was it really his fault?
Dorian Gray was definately an excellent book, although the wording was somewhat outdated. It is an excellent piece of work, but I just had one question about it. Read more
Published on May 7 2001 by "knicksfan_41"
4.0 out of 5 stars The price of eternal youth
To be honest, I had two reasons for choosing this book. One was for a class assignment. Having a list to choose from lead to the second reason I picked this- a friend told me she... Read more
Published on May 1 2001 by Kimberly Rau/Amanda Collins
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