- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2nd edition (August 29, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393927547
- ISBN-13: 978-0719546686
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.3 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,654 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Picture of Dorian Gray (Norton Critical Edition) 2nd Edition
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A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both? After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man's portrait, his subject's frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray's picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent. After he kills a young woman, "as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife," Dorian Gray is surprised to find no difference in his vision or surroundings. "The roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden."
As Hallward tries to make sense of his creation, his epigram-happy friend Lord Henry Wotton encourages Dorian in his sensual quest with any number of Wildean paradoxes, including the delightful "When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy." But despite its many languorous pleasures, The Picture of Dorian Gray is an imperfect work. Compared to the two (voyeuristic) older men, Dorian is a bore, and his search for ever new sensations far less fun than the novel's drawing-room discussions. Even more oddly, the moral message of the novel contradicts many of Wilde's supposed aims, not least "no artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style." Nonetheless, the glamour boy gets his just deserts. And Wilde, defending Dorian Gray, had it both ways: "All excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. First published in 1890 in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine and the following year in novel form, The Picture of Dorian Gray categorically changed Victorian Britain and the landscape of literature. An ostentatious, self-confessed aesthete, known for his wit and intellect, Wilde not only had to endure his prose being labeled "poisonous" and "vulgar," but also suffer its use as evidence in the ensuing trial, resulting in his eventual imprisonment for crimes of "gross indecency." Frankel's introduction provides a deft preliminary analysis of the novel itself—exploring etymology and extensive editorial alterations (both accidental and deliberate)—and offers valuable insight into the socio-cultural juxtaposition of aristocratic Victorian society and the London underworld. The original typescript provides the unique opportunity to examine what was considered acceptable in both the US and UK at the time. Intriguing annotations allude to Wilde's influences and enterprising range of reference, incorporating art, poetry, literature, Greek mythology, philosophy, and fashion (certain to inspire further reading; an appendix is provided). Comparisons are drawn between Dorian Gray and Wilde's other literary output, as well as to the work of Walter Pater. Numerous illustrations subtly compliment Frankelÿs inferences. A fine contextualization of a major work of fiction profoundly interpreted, ultimately riveting. (Mar.) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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But as a novel, THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY is wonderful and strange--if not entirely "successful". With this Annotated and Uncensored Edition of Wilde's book, we have its history and definitive text. The Contents:
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
Appendix A: Accidental Changes Introduced into the Text by J. M. Stoddart or His Associates
Appendix B: The 1891 Preface to THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
Notes of Wilde Editions
The annotations are in-depth, fascinating and informative, reflecting the era in which the novel was spawned, aspects of Wilde's biography, &c. Illustrations are plentiful and superb, with many in color, illustrations from the book, photographs of Oscar Wilde and his chums and lovers and enemies, various pictorial representations of the book's title character, and many of Aubrey Beardsley's irreverent illustration for SALOME.
I enjoy the novel as a novel. It is now a classic of supernatural fiction, and I think it has been in-print ever since its first book appearance, or shortly afterward when Robert Ross worked so diligently to bring Wilde's works back into print. This is a beautiful and definitive edition.
Having read this novella many years ago, I reread it because I needed to refresh my memory as to why it was the portrait that aged instead of Dorian Gray himself. It is a great reminder to be wary of the advice of friends, especially cynical ones.
This is a quote from the book:
"But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face. The moment one sits down to think, one becomes all nose, or all forehead, or something horrid. Look at the successful men in any of the learned professions. How perfectly hideous they are! Except, of course, in the Church. But then in the Church they don't think. A bishop keeps on saying at the age of eighty what he was told to say when he was a boy of eighteen, and as a natural consequence he always looks absolutely delightful."
When you open this book, you are not just reading a story, you are looking into a mirror. You see yourself in Dorian Gray's position as he goes through his trials and tribulations. Regardless of who you are, everyone feels and, at some point, thinks along the line's of Dorian Gray. For some, they may have even traveled down a similar path. It is for this reason that Oscar Wilde was able to create such a realistic character. He created something that people can relate to because each of us has a Dorian Gray within us, at least, to some degree.
I don't know if Wilde meant to be so philosophical or psychological with this story, but it is a work of genius. I believe that this book should be part of the required reading material in some age appropriate schools. I doubt that it will, but I feel the character of Dorian Gray and his 'life' would be an eye opener for many.
I highly recommend this book to anyone even vaguely curious about it. I honestly cannot understand why this has a single bad rating! If your still not sure after reading the reviews, check with your local library about borrowing it. If you like it, then buy it and save it to read for later. I've re-read mine several times now and have yet to grow bored or tired of it.