The classic tale of a man who sells his moral health for the opportunity to retain his youth and good looks, and the portrait that reveals his own corruption to him, is well-suited to this graphic novel adaptation. Edginton retains many of Wilde’s eloquent phrasings, and Culbard’s black-and-white images give us a Belle Epoch London to fit with Dorian Gray’s recklessness. Lord Henry Wooton’s Svengali role is clearly defined here, and the working-class victims of Gray’s appetites and denials—including the Vane siblings—have some of the most distinct and personalized features among the cast of characters. Gray himself verges on cartoon proportions, a fitting tribute to Wilde’s presentation of him as lacking moral depth. Fitting with the original story, Culbard uses scenes from taverns, opium dens, and bawdy houses, and includes an image of an accurately rendered male nude garden statue. Teens who have read the original will appreciate this rendition, and those who haven’t read Wilde directly should be encouraged to give him a try after this taste. Grades 8-12. --Francisca Goldsmith
About the Author
Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Wilde studied at Trinity College in Dublin and at Magdalen College in Oxford, England, before settling down in London and having a long, successful career as a poet, playwright, and author. Wilde is best known for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and for his satirical play The Importance of Being Earnest.
Michael Patrick Gillespie is Louise Edna Goeden Professor of English at Marquette University. He is the author of Oscar Wilde and the Poetics of Ambiguity, The Aesthetics of Chaos: Nonlinear Thinking and Contemporary Literary Criticism, and Inverted Volumes Improperly Arranged: James Joyce and His Trieste Library, among others. His edited works include the Norton Critical Edition of The Importance of Being Earnest and James Joyce and the Fabrication of an Irish Identity.
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