- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (Oct. 27 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141442468
- ISBN-13: 978-0141442464
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.8 x 20.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 422 g
- Average Customer Review: 213 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #22,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Picture of Dorian Gray Hardcover – Oct 27 2009
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A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both? After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man's portrait, his subject's frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray's picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent. After he kills a young woman, "as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife," Dorian Gray is surprised to find no difference in his vision or surroundings. "The roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden."
As Hallward tries to make sense of his creation, his epigram-happy friend Lord Henry Wotton encourages Dorian in his sensual quest with any number of Wildean paradoxes, including the delightful "When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy." But despite its many languorous pleasures, The Picture of Dorian Gray is an imperfect work. Compared to the two (voyeuristic) older men, Dorian is a bore, and his search for ever new sensations far less fun than the novel's drawing-room discussions. Even more oddly, the moral message of the novel contradicts many of Wilde's supposed aims, not least "no artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style." Nonetheless, the glamour boy gets his just deserts. And Wilde, defending Dorian Gray, had it both ways: "All excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up-"The Whole Story" format provides illustrations and annotations to the classic text. Ross's lively and sophisticated cartoons add interest, and historical information helps readers place the novel in proper context and gives insight into its characters. The problem with this attractive, glossy layout, however, is that the text and the quotes pulled from it are not always on the same page. Further, some illustrations and notations visually cut into the narrative and may distract readers. For example, a drawing appears on the first page along with the passage, "In the centre of the room, clamped to an upright easel, stood the full-length portrait of a young man of extraordinary personal beauty," but that quote does not appear until the second page of the story. Useful as a supplement to the original novel, but not a replacement for it.
Karen Hoth, Marathon Middle/High School, FL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Main character, Dorian Gray, at the beginning of the book is a beautiful and youthful man. Dorian was a man everyone wanted to be around just because he had innocence and he was different. "He has a simple and beautiful nature." Says Basil Hallward. This innocence and beauty changes as he becomes friends with Lord Henry and his values of life change him. Because Dorian was so naïve, Lord Henry lured Dorian into a whole new life and new philosophies about love, beauty and selfishness. This is not the only deep friendship that is developed in this book. Dorian also becomes friends with Basil Hallward and Basil paints a portrait of Dorian and Basil puts his whole heart into this painting for it to ultimately destroy himself and Dorian. Anyway, Dorian wishes that he could stay young all his life and always be beautiful. As he grows older Dorian does many terrible and shocking things but he still remains beautiful and untouched while his painting of himself shows the real nasty, terrible, and corrupted Dorian.
One part of the book that really captivated me is when Dorian murder's one of his good friends. I think this is one of the turning points in the book because I believe Dorian realizes that life shouldn't be based on the appearance of things but more about quality and spirit. Dorian understands that his lifestyle of upscale parties with London's elite, and his friendship with Lord Henry is not all that it seems to be. You can see that after Dorian murders someone he questions himself and the painting because he realizes what the painting has done to him. During the last pages of the book we can see how Dorian self-destructs and finds away to restore the painting of exquisite and youth.
This book was very different from anything I read and I loved it. I like how Oscar Wilde wrapped me into this book with many compelling and interesting thoughts. The main lessons I learned from this book is question your role models and to value your life. Another lesson I learned is to not worry about beauty because if we only pick things that are beautiful we miss the wonderful and mysterious things that don't look pretty but deep inside they are.
While possessing the above traits, the novel does have its flaws that are more pronounced under the glare of contemporary light. Wilde's bigotry shows through. Some of the passages are melodramatic and wooden. Dorian Gray's physical beauty is a work of art, and as Wilde says at the outset, all art is useless. However much he embodies many of Wilde's ideas, he remains rather vapid, even when he is at his most corrupt. Part of that is due to the fact that many of the actions that condemn him are only spoken of or hinted at. Mostly we see the highlights, the suicide of a young girl to whom he was unjustly cruel and some subsequent deaths.
This is not the most entertaining or gripping novel that you will ever read. Far from it, in fact, but the real merits of the novel come not from the action and plot, but from the extremely clever dialogue and the shredding social commentary. (not surprisingly, this novel took a long time to get published, and was later used as evidence against Wilde during his trial for indecency) Wilde takes several shots at the aristocracy, especially their values, as well as art itself, hedonism, and the very concept of morality.
Perhaps the finest aspect of the novel are Wilde's quotes, often through his favorite mouthpiece: Lord Henry Wotton. Henry serves as a goad to Dorian through all of his excesses, and he waxes philosophical upon almost any subject that he can get anyone to listen to. He's wonderful and horrible all at once, and best of all, he doesn't even believe half of what he says. This is definitely a 'classic' novel, and well worth the read. Again, if you're expecting high paced action you'd probably best look elsewhere, but if you're in the mood to think a bit, then chances are you'll enjoy "The Picture of Dorian Gray".