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The Picture of Dorian Gray Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1936594399 ISBN-10: 1936594390

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Tribeca Books (November 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936594390
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936594399
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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>

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roy Pickering on May 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
I knew what this story was about long before finally reading it. That's probably common. The famous premise is a fascinating one, though I found myself wondering if the narrative would have been even more impactful if written as a short story or novella length rather than stretched out to a full novel. The Lord Henry character who serves the purpose of putting bad ideas in Dorian's head gives multiple speeches throughout detailing his hedonistic world view. If the number or word count of these lectures was cut in half I don't think the story would suffer much from the absence. Another decision made by Oscar Wilde was not to show readers very much of Dorian's behavior. His first act of cruelty is laid out before us as is his final one, but in between we are only told that his bad reputation precedes him without being shown what he has done to earn it. It's left to our imagination. A few more scenes exhibiting decadent behavior rather than various dinner party conversations in which a pro decadence philsophy is expressed would have made for a juicier read. Would it have made for a better read? That's arguable, as perhaps it also is whether this book is intententially homoerotic or simply written during a time when heterosexual men were much more comfortable going on and on about how good looking a guy was. What's beyond debate is that Oscar Wilde came up with a great idea to build a story around, one that is as timeless as the desire for eternal youth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lagouge on April 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
The book "The Picture of Dorian Gray", written by Oscar Wilde, deals with the issue of getting old and the question of how you want to live your life. In my opinion the book is a typical book from Oscar Wilde which shows the difficulties and the pressures in the community. Oscar Wilde is a critical author who always writes about his own point of view. Furthermore you can also learn about his personality and the society this time.
I think that the Picture of Dorian Gray represents the wish from every person to stay young and beautiful with all the opportunities and chances, waiting for you to grab them. Also the second chance and the possibillity to change is a facility which is usually offered to the youth.
Also the end is a perfect rounding which brings all topics and themes together to one point. And as Oscar Wilde shows in his opinion, the point is not how you look, it is more how you lived and what you did. At least the ending says that when you die,you die as the person you were and it does not matter who you pretend you are.

The story of Dorian Gray is in my opinion a very gripping book which did not leave me until I finished it. And even then it makes me think about these things. Oscar Wilde's writing is very fast-moving and there are no long or boring scences in the book.
Bringing all considerations together I have to say that I enjoyed the book very much, which is why I have read it in only three hours.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jane Hoppe, author on April 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde's color commentary on the tug of war between Basil Hallward (good) and Lord Henry Wotton (evil--think Wormwood in C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters). The rope they pull is the young Dorian Gray. The score in this classic battle is widely known; in the end Wotton pulls Gray completely to his end of the field with Hallward dragged face-down in the mud. For those who have not read it, I will not reveal the absolute ending.

Several themes apply to us all: the high price of pleasure and self-indulgence as a way of life; the absurdity of our superficial preoccupation with outward beauty; and how idolizing appearances blinds us to the truth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CRISTY on April 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY is a very dark tale of vanity, debauchery, drug use, murder and depression. When a naïve and stunningly handsome young man unknowingly trades soul for eternal youth and beauty with a wish caught by the devils ear, he inevitably finds that physical perfection, charm and pleasures of the flesh are worth not at the cost of ones soul.

Is this classic an enjoyable read?... that's a tough one to answer for such a ominous story , but I will say it's an interesting one that holds some entertaining characters and introduces many thought provoking ideas. Obviously THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY is far from the best piece of literature I've ever experienced, but for me it was worth the short time it took to read, if for nothing else but for the appreciation of Oscar Wilde's famed wit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Reina VINE VOICE on February 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
What would a portrait of your soul look like?

More than anything else, this question beats at the heart of this thought provoking book.

For Oscar Wilde, his alter ego Dorian Gray would not be too pretty.

As the book demonstrates, years of sin ultimately rob Gray of his youthful beauty. But, consistent with a wish made by Gray, this theft occurs only a canvas copy of him made by an adoring male artist when Gray was still young.

While it would seem that eternal youth is a great prize, especially to the very vain Gray, it ends up becoming a curse. Gray locks the aging picture away in an attic only periodically returning to it to witness the ravages that would have been visited upon him were he not to have made his wish.

In this way, while Gray is permitted to retain his external beauty, he's also forced to witness his moral deterioration.

As with the more contemporary Angels in America, self reproach over one's homosexuality moves deeply along the subcurrents of this book. Though most don't know it, homosexuality was prohibited by law in Great Britain until 1967 and those convicted of it were forced into harsh punishments and even harsher treatments intended to "cure" them.

It's this deeper sense that most people resonate with in one way or another...substituting their own private sins for those of Gray in their estimation of their moral appearance.

Having said all that, it still prompts consideration that Gray himself and his friend Lord Henry -- sinful that they are -- are the most interesting characters in this book. Unintentionaly (perhaps), Wilde is suggesting that it's our sins that make us noteworthy.
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