It's Raining Books Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
  1. $18.19 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

spacer

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Vintage Classics)

by

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Vintage Classics) Cover

ISBN13: 9780307743527
ISBN10: 0307743527
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde’s enduringly popular story of a beautiful and corrupt man and the portrait that reveals all his secrets.

Entranced by the perfection of his recently painted portrait, the youthful Dorian Gray expresses a wish that the figure on the canvas could age and change in his place. When his wish comes true, the portrait becomes his hideous secret as he follows a downward trajectory of decadence and cruelty that leaves its traces only in the portrait’s degraded image. Wilde’s unforgettable portrayal of a Faustian bargain and its consequences is narrated with his characteristic incisive wit and diamond-sharp prose. The result is a novel that is as flamboyant and controversial as its incomparable author.

Synopsis:

Oscar Wilde's story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is one of his most popular works. Written in Wilde's characteristically dazzling manner, full of stinging epigrams and shrewd observations, the tale of Dorian Gray's moral disintegration caused something of a scandal when it first appeared in 1890. Wilde was attacked for his decadence and corrupting influence, and a few years later the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde's homosexual liaisons, trials that resulted in his imprisonment. Of the book's value as autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, "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."

About the Author

OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) was an Irish writer, poet, and playwright. His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, brought him lasting recognition, and he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era with a series of witty social satires, including his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

rileygpeterson, March 29, 2012 (view all comments by rileygpeterson)
Oscar Wilde’s, The Picture of Dorian Gray, centers on the life of Dorian Gray, an affluent youth living in 19th Century London. In receiving a portrait of his likeness, Dorian wishes the painting would bear the signs of age, and by some supernatural account, Dorian is cursed with eternal youth. Wilde makes a number of dramatic social statements in writing this novel. The most obvious point he was chasing after was the squandering of youth, and the arrogance of beauty. To reach this point, he attacks it from several angles. Wilde introduces a newfound, romantic sexuality to his male characters, an uncommon practice in literature of the period. He also slanders the idea of beauty, turning it into a curse, one that people are fated to carry with them. The characters themselves also serve as mediums of expressing Wilde’s views, particularly Lord Henry Wotton, an interesting representation of cynicism. These ideas work in concert to highlight Wilde’s major idea of the complacency of youth and vitality. It’s a beautiful tragedy of a novel, particularly for its relevance in today’s world.
Wilde’s opinions of sexuality are interlaced into the novel. Wilde was gay, but that’s not what makes the characters different, it’s the way they are romanticized indirectly. For example, the artist, Basil Halward, seems infatuated with Dorian, and the very idea of him, as he was blessed with unparalleled beauty. Basil states, “as long as I live, the personality of Dorian Gray will dominate me. You can’t feel what I feel” (Wilde 13). Dorian is the spirit behind Basil’s art, the foundation, but Wilde introduces this in such an obscure manner. Obviously no homosexual relationship exists, as that would be taboo to publish in the time period. However, male character’s we’re never presented in such manner. Beauty cares little about gender, and this ideas is woven into the novel. Basil wants to preserve Dorian, to keep him innocent to remain an inspiration for his art. This relation of the characters allows the idea of Dorian’s captivating beauty to take the helm.
Initially in the novel, Dorian’s beauty is glorified. Wilde writes, “There was something in his face that made one trust him at once. All the candour of youth was there, as well as youth’s passionate purity.” (Wilde 17). People are captivated with him, smitten by his looks, and engulfed by his personality. However, to highlight the effects of vanity and conceitedness, Wilde takes Dorian off the deep end, shattering the idea of his beauty, saying, “What was youth at best? A green, an unripe time, a time of shallow moods, and sickly thoughts… Youth had spoiled him” (Wilde 211). This is a drastic shift from the beginning of the work. Wilde essentially is saying that youth has little to do with good looks. He means that lacking the wisdom to prevent making mistakes will destroy you, and leave you corrupted like Dorian Gray. While his eternal beauty becomes his prison, he never understands that his mind is what is to blame, not his looks. However, the idea of eternal beauty is not glorified, it is presented as a haunting curse, which can shatter your inner psyche. The spark that ignited Dorian’s wickedness was the very character who he became engrossed with.
Lord Henry Wotton, one of my now favorite literary character’s, sheds an interesting light on the books central idea of complacency and vanity as well. Wotton is a particularly selfish character, but that is not his worse quality. Wotton’s hubris is his infallibility, and his incomparable wit. You love him because he’s always right and hate him for that at the same time. He fails to anticipate the effects he has on Dorian however. He is undoubtedly responsible for poisoning the mind of Dorian Gray, as he is particularly impressionable and Wotton’s realism can be hypnotizing. He offers such snippets as, “When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others” (Wilde 50). There is not a truer statement. His blatant realism is destructive, implying Wilde’s opinion that the truest answer is not always the best answer. On occasion, things are not what the world sees them to be, and it is better to believe what would seem unimaginable. Dorian possessed the ability to do this, and Wotton stripped it from him.
Wilde lived a unique life, and an even more unique writer. As Dorian Gray was his only novel, so many of his ideals were packed into this work. They all work in concert, however, to highlight the fault of vanity, as well as the complacency of one’s youth. The ideas compressed into these pages still hold weight today, and that is why it’s not gathering dust on shelves. Take the time to read this novel, perhaps more than once, because I guarantee you will miss certain nuances of the work that add to the experience.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
BChristy, January 21, 2012 (view all comments by BChristy)
Dorian Gray is one of those prevailing classics that will skate through generation after generation, ever provocative, ever insightful. It will ensnare you, kidnap your imagination, and take you on a journey into the depths of your own soul. You could read it a hundred times and still find some new treasure, some new meaning in Lord Henry Wotton's witty banter. It's a work of art as beautiful and grotesque as Dorian himself.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307743527
Author:
Wilde, Oscar
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Author:
Eugenides, Jeffrey
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Classics
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Classics
Publication Date:
20110731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8 x 5.17 x 0.63 in 0.46 lb

Other books you might like

  1. Go Ask Alice
    Used Trade Paper $4.00
  2. The Virgin Suicides
    Used Trade Paper $4.50
  3. Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales... New Trade Paper $32.95
  4. The Power of the Dog
    Used Trade Paper $10.95
  5. Savages Used Trade Paper $3.95
  6. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird... New Trade Paper $18.00

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Vintage Classics) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Vintage Books - English 9780307743527 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Oscar Wilde's story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is one of his most popular works. Written in Wilde's characteristically dazzling manner, full of stinging epigrams and shrewd observations, the tale of Dorian Gray's moral disintegration caused something of a scandal when it first appeared in 1890. Wilde was attacked for his decadence and corrupting influence, and a few years later the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde's homosexual liaisons, trials that resulted in his imprisonment. Of the book's value as autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, "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."
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.