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The Picture of Dorian Gray (Dover Thrift Editions) [Unabridged] [Paperback]

by Oscar Wilde
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (679 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 13, 1993 0486278077 978-0486278070 Reprint
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 (Dover Thrift Editions) + The Importance of Being Earnest + Frankenstein (Dover Thrift Editions)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Moral fantasy novel by Oscar Wilde, published in an early form in Lippincott's Magazine in 1890. The novel had six additional chapters when it appeared in book form in 1891. An archetypal tale of a young man who purchases eternal youth at the expense of his soul, the novel was a romantic exposition of Wilde's Aestheticism. Dorian Gray is a wealthy Englishman who gradually sinks into a life of dissipation and crime. Despite his unhealthy behavior, his physical appearance remains youthful and unmarked by dissolution. Instead, a portrait of himself catalogues every evil deed by turning his once handsome features into a hideous mask. When Gray destroys the painting, his face turns into a human replica of the portrait, and he dies.Gray's final negation, "ugliness is the only reality," neatly summarizes Wilde's Aestheticism, both his love of the beautiful and his fascination with the profane. Publication of the novel scandalized Victorian England, and The Picture of Dorian Gray was used as evidence against Wilde in his 1895 trial for homosexuality. The novel became a classic of English literature. --The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

<DIV><DIV><DIV>Oscar Wilde (1854 1900) was an influential figure within the Aesthetic Movement. He is best known for his barbed wit and his highly successful plays, among them Lady Windemere s Fan (1892) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). </DIV></div></div> --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (October 13, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486278077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486278070
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (679 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
267 of 293 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forever young February 6, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This sophisticated but crude novel is the story of man's eternal desire for perennial youth, of our vanity and frivolity, of the dangers of messing with the laws of life. Just like "Faust" and "The immortal" by Borges.
Dorian Gray is beautiful and irresistible. He is a socialité with a high ego and superficial thinking. When his friend Basil Hallward paints his portrait, Gray expresses his wish that he could stay forever as young and charming as the portrait. The wish comes true.
Allured by his depraved friend Henry Wotton, perhaps the best character of the book, Gray jumps into a life of utter pervertion and sin. But, every time he sins, the portrait gets older, while Gray stays young and healthy. His life turns into a maelstrom of sex, lies, murder and crime. Some day he will want to cancel the deal and be normal again. But Fate has other plans.
Wilde, a man of the world who vaguely resembles Gray, wrote this masterpiece with a great but dark sense of humor, saying every thing he has to say. It is an ironic view of vanity, of superflous desires. Gray is a man destroyed by his very beauty, to whom an unknown magical power gave the chance to contemplate in his own portrait all the vices that his looks and the world put in his hands. Love becomes carnal lust; passion becomes crime. The characters and the scenes are perfect. Wilde's wit and sarcasm come in full splendor to tell us that the world is dangerous for the soul, when its rules are not followed. But, and it's a big but, it is not a moralizing story. Wilde was not the man to do that. It is a fierce and unrepressed exposition of all the ugly side of us humans, when unchecked by nature. To be rich, beautiful and eternally young is a sure way to hell. And the writing makes it a classical novel. Come go with Wotton and Wilde to the theater, and then to an orgy. You'll wish you age peacefully.
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93 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thrilling Read March 13, 2000
By Ellen
Format:Paperback
I first was introduced to Dorian Gray through a book club, and I thought 'Oh no, Oscar Wilde, here I go, another hard to read boring society book". I was wrong. Within the first two chapters of Dorian Gray I was intrigued and fascinated. This book deals with several issues that are as important now as they are today: the way our culture worships beauty and youth, an admiration that boarders on homosexual love, virtues, the differences between men and women, and what art is and what makes it truly art. Dorian Gray is a beautiful young man, who sees a portrait of himself and says "How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young...If only it were the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the portrait to grow old...I would give my soul for that!" The book takes off from there, leading you from a small theater to great parties. While younger readers may find some of the wording as tough as an old gym shoe, anyone older than 13 with an interest in mystery, romance, and how society runs, will find this a pleasurable and haunting read.
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96 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be careful what you wish for June 8, 2002
Format:Paperback
The Picture of Dorian Gray is a mesmerizing read dominated by two amazing personalities. Dorian Gray is certainly interesting, but I was much more impressed by his friend and mentor Lord Henry Wotton. Dorian is a perfectly nice, well-meaning young man when we first meet him in the studio of the painter Basil Hallward. Hallward in fact is so drawn to the youth that he draws his greatest inspiration from painting him and just being with him. It is the influence of Hallward's friend Lord Henry which leads to Gray's downfall. There are few characters in literature as decadent, witty, and somehow enchanting as Lord Henry. He is never at a loss for words, fatalistic observations of life and people, sarcastic philosophical musings, and brilliantly devious ideas. Among his world of social decadents and artistic do-nothings, his charm remains redoubtable and highly sought-after. Gray immediately falls under his spell, soon devoting himself to living life to its fullest and enjoying his youth and beauty to the utmost. He solemnly wishes that he could remain young and beautiful forever, that Hallward's exquisite picture of him should bear the marks of age and debauchery rather than himself. To his surprise and ultimate horror, he finds his wish fulfilled. Small lines and creases first appear in the portrait, but after he cruelly breaks the heart of an unfortunate young actress who then takes her own life, the first real signs of horror and blood manifest themselves on his portrait. His love for the ill-fated Sibyl Vane is a sordid, heartbreaking tale, and it marks the culmination of his descent into debauchery. He frequents opium dens and houses of ill repute, justifying all of his worst actions to himself, while the influence of Lord Henry continues to work its black magic on his soul. Read more ›
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
What made Oscar Wild(e)?
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press has published a new edition of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. While there is no burning need for such a volume in the day of Lady Gaga and marriage equality, it's important to remember that Wilde spent two years in prison for being gay and for having the guts (stupidity?) to flaunt his sexuality. In many ways, it was the flaunting rather than the act themselves that so angered his persecutors.
And Dorian Gray, his first and only novel, was certainly a shot fired directly into the heart of Victorian prudery.
And in this day of Kindles, e-books and tweets, this is truly a magnificent job of bookmaking. Oversized, lavishly illustrated and gorgeously presented, Oscar would have loved it. The text is examined minutely, with a variety of comparisons from various publications of the novel, as well as Wilde's original manuscript. While there's nothing particularly new to discover in the emendations from the sources, merely a reinforcement of the outrageousness inherent in the piece, the scholarship is both astounding and informative.
The annotator and editor, Nicholas Frankel, easily and effortlessly places the modern reader in Wilde's time and place, London's late Victorian Age in London. There is still a tingle to Dorian's story of endless debauchery while he remains looking pure and innocent for decades and the painting ages and grows monstrous, reflecting his sins and crimes.
Strangely, the book seems more modern than one would imagine. Rather than merely a potboiler from two centuries back, WIlde's genius imbues the story with a strange and haunting immediacy, and a cautionary tale for us all: Be careful what you wish for.
One could hardly wish for a more beautifully accoutered book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic
This story really is a warning on how you let others affect your life.
Just one comment changed everything Dorian Gray had been and changed him into something awful. Read more
Published 15 days ago by jennifer
4.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly intriguing
It has great detailed descriptions, witting quotable characters and surprising everts and climax. I am glad to have finally read it.
Published 19 days ago by Terry Farrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic
If you are looking for classics to stock your kindle with this is one of them. Worth the read, maybe a couple times.
Published 23 days ago by ambax
5.0 out of 5 stars The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
This is a strange, psychological thriller which takes place in the main character's mind. It has a feeling of evil, more so as the book goes on.
Published 25 days ago by Susan Twardochleb
4.0 out of 5 stars Books like this are not written any more...
I just loved the plot and the typical conversations from English high society back in the end of the 19th century. A classic, a must read more so now that is free on Kindle.
Published 29 days ago by Masca
4.0 out of 5 stars A keeper
The book was a little slow to start, but soon, the characters become quite enticing. It is a nice, short read, so at least it is not a daunting epic of a novel. Read more
Published 1 month ago by PluralEntropy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
such an amazing book! the book came undamaged and it was just perfect. I enjoyed this book so much and I will recommened it to everybody!
Published 1 month ago by lacy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic Read
This book makes me look inward and analyze the ethical, taboo, and morale lines. This is a great short read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nathan W Farmer
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring till my teeth hurt
I've seen different movie versions of the book and I have to say, the movies are much better than this dragged out, yawn a minute book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by trinitycause
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
This is an incredible book. The story of Dorian mirrors that of Wilde's future life after it was published and is haunting in that respect. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Denis Flynn
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