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The Picture of Dorian Gray

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Wilde, Oscar

  • Used
  • good
  • Paperback
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About This Item

Garden City: Dolphin, 1960. Owner's name on the first page. Underlining in pencil on about ten pages. A little wear to the edges.. Paperback. Good.


The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890. Wilde later revised this edition, making several alterations, and adding new chapters; the amended version was published by Ward, Lock, and Company in April 1891. The story is often mistitled The Portrait of Dorian Gray. The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward.


On Dec 13 2011, Feeney said:
Within months of each other appeared two sensational first English novels: THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY and THE LIGHT THAT FAILED. The first was by Irishman Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854 - 1900); the second by Anglo-Indian Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936). Both appeared in the same Philadelphia magazine in 1890. Both were then in 1891 quickly reworked, enlarged and issued as books. Both novels are about London painters, paintings, art and theories of art. Both have been made into excellent feature films. Both novels end tragically for their heroes, respectively pleasure-seeking Dorian Gray and war scenes painter Dick Heldar. *** Oscar Wilde preached that life imitates art, Rudyard Kipling the opposite. For Kipling (who grew up in artistic circles on both his mother's and his father's side) a good painter looked carefully at a scene then painted his memory of it better than what he had actually seen. Much traveled painter Dick Heldar notes that during his months in London he heard more admittedly competent painters talking at parties about painting than he ever saw evidence that they actually worked with canvases. That would have been the fashionable world of Oscar Wilde and his fanatic imitatators. It is, in a nutshell, instructive to read and compare THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY and THE LIGHT THAT FAILED. *** Dorian Gray is 20 at novel's beginning and 38 or older when on Wilde's novel's last page he is found in his locked childhood nursery deformed, hideous and dead, a knife in his heart and with his famous picture once again that of a beautiful, innocent 20-year old, looming in judgment above him. Gray's ten years older Ch. 19) friend Lord Henry Wotton very early on convinces a still innocent Dorian that his youth and beauty are his greatest assets. An agitated Dorian then wishes or prays that his body might remain young while a just completed adoring portrait would both age and display his moral developments -- instead of Dorian himself. Over time the picture and its changes for the worse became Dorian's conscience. *** Dorian got his wish. Despite sporadic, perhaps merely hypocritical efforts to be good, Dorian Gray does heartless deeds. He callously rebuffs Sybil Vane, a young, good, innocent actress who loves him and who then takes poison. Dorian Gray murders his onetime friend and admirer the painter Basil Hallward who created the picture that is Dorian's conscience. Over an 18 year period, Gray alienates most of the ostensbily correct, decent upper class people in London. His friends are always the worse for being his friends. *** At times throughout the novel's 20 chapters, a reader feels as if half the text is non-narrative, given over to philosophizing about morality and art, to discussing aesthetic theories and to giving hints at literary sources behind the decadent nihilism preached by Dorian Gray and his mentor Lord Henry Wotton. This didactic dimension of the novel is well summarized when Dorian Gray tells Lord Henry: "You would sacrifice anybody, Harry, for the sake of an epigram" (Ch. 18). ***THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY is good read. The narrative is undemanding, gothic, realistic, and moves forward, posed tableau following tableau with increasing speed. The didactic half, with its digressions into architecture, decadent French literature, tapestries and priestly vestments and far more demands close attention. The last ten chapters are shorter than the first ten and the pace of the narrative accordingly accelerates. This is above all a novel of conscience, religion, morals and the life of artists. It abounds in epigrams, smart sayings and repartee. -OOO-

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book dealer
Steve Kilby CA (CA)
Bookseller’s Inventory #
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Wilde, Oscar
Book condition
second hand - Good
Place of Publication
Garden City
Date Published
Bookseller catalogs
Literature; Old Paperback;

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Steve Kilby

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About the Seller

Steve Kilby

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2005
Guelph, Ontario
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About Steve Kilby

Specializing in popular fiction and liberal arts books, particularly from British publishers.


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