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The Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Classics)

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The Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Classics) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Picture of Dorian Gray was a succès de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895.

Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray makes a Faustian bargain to sell his soul in exchange for eternal youth and beauty. Under the influence of Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, where he is able to indulge his desires while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only Dorian's picture bears the traces of his decadence.

A knowing account of a secret life and an analysis of the darker side of late Victorian society. The Picture of Dorian Gray offers a disturbing portrait of an individual coming face to face with the reality of his soul.

Synopsis:

Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society.

Synopsis:

The Picture of Dorian Gray was a succès de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895.

Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray makes a Faustian bargain to sell his soul in exchange for eternal youth and beauty. Under the influence of Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, where he is able to indulge his desires while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only Dorian's picture bears the traces of his decadence.

A knowing account of a secret life and an analysis of the darker side of late Victorian society. The Picture of Dorian Gray offers a disturbing portrait of an individual coming face to face with the reality of his soul.

@MajorLeagueAesthole Sadly my beauty will one day cease. Perhaps I could preserve it by having the doc pull and staple the skin of my face? No. A silly thought.

People seem put off by my self-absorption. But I can’t help but tell the truth about my excellence! It is important to be earnest, isn’t it?

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

Synopsis:

Dorian Gray has just had his portrait painted. It is a perfect likeness of the quite extraordinary beautiful young man, and it prompts him to make a mad wish for eternal youth. In the years to come, he devotes his public life to and aestheticism-and his private one to decadence and debauchery.

About the Author


Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. His father was a celebrated surgeon, his mother a supporter of Irish independence who presided over literary salons in Ireland and England. Although his brilliance as a classicist at Dublin's Trinity College won him a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, Wilde failed in his attempts at an academic career. Instead he set his sights on the literary and artistic worlds of London. Fusing the influences of Ruskin, the Pre-Raphaelites, Walter Pater, and Gautier's l'art pour l'art, he made himself the most visible manifestation of the Aesthetic movement; by 1881 a burlesque of Wilde provided the protagonist for the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Patience. It was to exploit the popularity of the operetta, in fact, that the producer D'Oyly Carte underwrote Wilde's immensely successful lecture tour of America. Married in 1884 to Constance Lloyd, Wilde worked briefly as a magazine editor while publishing poetry, plays, fairy tales, and essays.

The Picture of Dorian Gray was commissioned by J. M. Stoddardt, the Philadelphia publisher of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. It appeared in the July 1890 issue and immediately gained a certain notoriety for being 'mawkish and nauseous,' 'unclean,' 'effeminate,' and 'contaminating.' When it was published as a book the following year, Wilde greatly revised and expanded the text, filling it out with a melodramatic subplot and adding a preface that defended his aesthetic philosophy. As for the book's value as autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter that the main characters are in different ways reflections of him: 'Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be--in other ages, perhaps.'

In the early nineties, Wilde was at the center of an artistic milieu characterized by The Yellow Book, The Rhymers' Club, and the art of Aubrey Beardsley. Banned from performance in England, his poetic drama Salome (1892) was illustrated by Beardsley and finally produced in Paris in 1896. At the same time, Wilde achieved success as a popular playwright, writing in rapid succession Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, and The Importance of Being Earnest. In 1895, two of his plays were on the London stage simultaneously, and he was acknowledged as a pivotal figure in English literary life, admired for his wit and eloquence.

Since at least the mid-1880s, however, Wilde had lived a sexual double life, and in 1893 he distanced himself from his family by taking rooms at the Savoy Hotel. He had by then embarked on a passionate relationship with the considerably younger Lord Alfred Douglas, the English translator of Salome, whom he had met the year after he wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray. In March 1895, Wilde undertook a libel action against the Marquess of Queensberry, Lord Alfred's father, who had denounced Wilde as a 'somdomite' (sic). Wilde withdrew the suit following damaging cross-examination by the marquess's defense attorney, a former classmate of Wilde's. (Question: 'Have you ever adored a young man madly?' Answer: 'I have never given adoration to anybody but myself.') Shortly thereafter, Wilde was arrested for homosexual offenses and underwent two trials before being sentenced to hard labor at Wandsworth Prison and Reading Gaol. A long recriminatory letter to Douglas written while in prison was eventually published as De Profundis.

Released in 1897, Wilde left for France under the name Sebastian Melmoth, a pseudonym combining a martyred saint with a Faustian hero of Gothic romance. A poem based on his prison experience, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, was published in 1898. His health destroyed, and bankrupted by his legal expenses, Wilde lived in Paris for three years, making a conversion to Roman Catholicism just before his death in November 1900. He is buried in the cemetery of Pere Lachaise.

Table of Contents

The Picture of Dorian Gray Acknowledgements

Introduction

Chronology

Further Reading

A Note on the Text

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Appendix 1: Selected Contemporary Reviews of The Picture of Dorian Gray

Appendix 2: Introduction to the First Penguin Classics Edition, by Peter Ackroyd

Notes

Product Details

ISBN:
9780141439570
Editor:
Mighall, Robert
Preface:
Mighall, Robert
Editor:
Mighall, Robert
Author:
Wilde, Oscar
Author:
Mighall, Robert
Author:
Ackroyd, Peter
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Location:
London
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Soul
Subject:
Portraits
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Future life
Subject:
Didactic fiction
Subject:
Horror - General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Conduct of life
Subject:
Youthfulness
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Revised
Series:
Penguin Classics
Series Volume:
292
Publication Date:
20030231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
7.80x5.08x.72 in. .51 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Horror » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Classics) New Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages Penguin Books - English 9780141439570 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society.
"Synopsis" by ,

The Picture of Dorian Gray was a succès de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895.

Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray makes a Faustian bargain to sell his soul in exchange for eternal youth and beauty. Under the influence of Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, where he is able to indulge his desires while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only Dorian's picture bears the traces of his decadence.

A knowing account of a secret life and an analysis of the darker side of late Victorian society. The Picture of Dorian Gray offers a disturbing portrait of an individual coming face to face with the reality of his soul.

@MajorLeagueAesthole Sadly my beauty will one day cease. Perhaps I could preserve it by having the doc pull and staple the skin of my face? No. A silly thought.

People seem put off by my self-absorption. But I can’t help but tell the truth about my excellence! It is important to be earnest, isn’t it?

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

"Synopsis" by , Dorian Gray has just had his portrait painted. It is a perfect likeness of the quite extraordinary beautiful young man, and it prompts him to make a mad wish for eternal youth. In the years to come, he devotes his public life to and aestheticism-and his private one to decadence and debauchery.

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