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The Picture of Dorian Gray

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The Picture of Dorian Gray Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Spellbound before his own portrait, Dorian Gray utters a fateful wish. In exchange for eternal youth he gives his soul, to be corrupted by the malign influence of his mentor, the aesthete and hedonist Lord Henry Wotton. The novel was met with moral outrage by contemporary critics who, dazzled perhaps by Wilde's brilliant style, may have confused the author with his creation, Lord Henry, to whom even Dorian protests, 'You cut life to pieces with your epigrams.'. Encouraged by Lord Henry to substitute pleasure for goodness and art for reality, Dorian tries to watch impassively as he brings misery and death to those who love him. But the picture is watching him, and, made hideous by the marks of sin, it confronts Dorian with the reflection of his fall from grace, the silent bearer of what is in effect a devastating moral judgement.

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."

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Synopsis:

With an Introduction and Notes by John M.L. Drew, University of Buckingham.

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."

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780679642091
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Subject:
Fiction
Introduction:
Crisp, Quentin
Author:
Oscar, Wilde
Author:
Wilde, Oscar
Author:
Uchida
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
British and irish fiction (fictional works by
Subject:
Conduct of life
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Fiction-Classics
Subject:
Fiction : Classics
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Portraits -- Fiction.
Subject:
Portraits
Subject:
Didactic fiction
Subject:
Fables
Subject:
Conduct of life -- Fiction.
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Edition Number:
1992
Edition Description:
1992
Publication Date:
19920905
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
254

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » General

The Picture of Dorian Gray
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Product details 254 pages Random House Publishing Group - English 9780679642091 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."

From the Trade Paperback edition.

"Synopsis" by , With an Introduction and Notes by John M.L. Drew, University of Buckingham.
"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."

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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