The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Book - 2013
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The handsome appearance of dissolute, young Dorian Gray remains unchanged while the features in his portrait become distorted as his degeneration progresses.
Publisher: San Diego, CA : Canterbury Classics, ©2013.
ISBN: 9781607107323
Branch Call Number: WILDE O
Characteristics: vi, 193 pages ; 20 cm


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Mar 30, 2020

Absolutely great novel. Lord Henry Wotton spits out facts and philosophies with sharp wit almost every page.

Feb 11, 2020

This classic has been on my radar for years, and I found it staring me in the face on my last trip to the library. Since I had been utterly disappointed by my last classic, I thought it was time to turn it around. The Picture of Dorian Gray entertained, surprised and intrigued me. I'm still thinking about it 24 hours after reading the last page, which doesn't happen as often as I'd like. 19th century authors wrote stories with sticking power- novels that really delve deep into your mind and make you think, make you feel, and make you reflect on your life and society as a whole. Henry's ideals and influence over Dorian leads to his downfall, and helplessly watching Dorian spiral downwards into debauchery and madness is frustrating to say the least, but well done on Wilde's part. The appendices in my latest edition helped with the 19th century turns of phrase, colloquialisms and places that I wouldn't know as a 21rst century American. I found myself really enjoying this story, despite the few long-winded diatribes on society and the 19th century as a whole by one of the major characters (Henry). It seems people either love him or hate him, and I can certainly see both sides. While Henry is witty (I found myself actually laughing out loud several times when reading some of his observations and beliefs) he does get a bit grating after awhile, and by the last chapters I was happy to see the back of him.
I would have liked to have seen exactly what kinds of things that Dorian got up to that made his portrait change so (besides the two or three events actually depicted in the book). They are hinted at, but never explicitly stated or shown. I know this was 1800's England and the book probably wouldn't have been published had things gotten too graphic, but I'm still extremely curious. All in all, I really enjoyed reading this, and would recommend it to anyone as a jumping-off point for classics.

SPPL_Kristen Mar 15, 2018

A novel that never gets old.

Dec 12, 2017

If you think you know what there is to know about Oscar Wilde from his plays, most notably "The Importance of Being Earnest," you may be in for a shock with this book. Dank and dark, this book tells the story of a socialite who sells his soul for immortality (and immorality) ... only to discover a portrait of him gets more decrepit and old with the passage of time. The book was used against Wilde at his indecency trial in 1895, which speaks to its power. Highly recommended, though definitely not for younger readers.

Nov 26, 2017

Absolutely lovely and beautifully written! I was not only impressed with the novel's prose, but also with how Wilde exquisitely weaves together all those details, symbols and allusions. The character archetype and journey may not be unfamiliar to most people, but it is how Wilde executed based on this plot that makes all the difference.

Nov 24, 2017

This was on my literary bucket list. Full of quotable lines and descriptions of humanity. Glad I read it but wouldn't recommend it.

Jul 09, 2017

A brilliant and fun read. Wilde is a genius and a master of words. Every phrase is witty, meaningful, and simply enjoyable to soak up. I want to see more of Wilde's works, such as his plays and short stories. This book also opens the door for lots of interesting conversations about identity, life, beauty, and ugliness.

MirandaJo Feb 24, 2017

This is my absolute favorite novel. I have never read a piece of literature filled with more snappy comedy, meaningful symbols, and heart wrenching drama. I love (or love to hate) every single character. I compare every other piece of literature I read to this novel. This is a MUST read!

Oct 31, 2016

The story is familiar. As the result of a rash prayer, a young dandy is cursed - physically he will never change, but his portrait will. Seduced willingly into a life of debauchery, outwardly he remains the beautiful young man, but his portrait becomes increasingly hideous, reflecting the degeneration of his soul.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is, at its heart, a fairy tale, a fable exploring the connection between goodness and beauty which Wilde, along with the rest of Victorian England, learned from Ruskin. The novel is far from perfect. The early romance between Gray and an actress never rises above melodramatic cliche. The cascade of witticisms that emerges from the mouths of Gray and Lord Henry now suffers from a combination of antiquity and familiarity. Yet although the central message - that all sin is a form of self-mutilation, however the sinner may have been self-anaesthetized - is at least as old as Plato, Wilde's dramatization is memorable enough to make the old truth young again.

Cynthia_N Oct 17, 2016

I knew the story of Dorian Gray but I had never read it. I am so glad I did!

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Jun 22, 2018

"The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. That is all."

Dec 12, 2017

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."

Jul 05, 2016

"Oh, brothers! I don't care for brothers. My elder brother won't die, and my younger bothers seem to do nothing else."

Feb 23, 2015

"All art is quite useless."

Feb 23, 2015

"When they entered, they found hanging upon the wall a splendid portrait of their master as they had last seen him, in all the wonder of his exquisite youth and beauty. Lying on the floor was a dead man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. It was not till they had examined the rings that they recognized who it was."

Apr 28, 2011

"When I like someone immensely I never tell their names to anyone. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvellous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it."


Add Age Suitability
Dec 12, 2017

rpavlacic thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

EuSei Feb 28, 2016

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Apr 15, 2015

momofseven thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 16 and 99


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Jul 13, 2011

Written and set in 19th century England, this gothic psychological thriller is a classic horror story, refreshingly free of the graphic blood and gore that seems to be the standard horror theme these days.

The story begins with Dorian Gray, a young man of extraordinary good looks, having his portrait painted by his friend Basil Hallward. In the midst of posing for the portrait enters Lord Henry, a pompous and self-important character that convinces an innocent Dorian that his looks are his most important characteristic and that he will have tremendous power over people because of them. He tells Dorian that he should enjoy them while they last as like everything else they will fade with time and so will the power that comes with them.
Taking his words seriously, a naïve and melancholy Dorian wishes that his looks would last forever and instead of time ravaging his face and body, his portrait would age instead, leaving him forever young. As the story moves along and to Dorian’s increasing dismay, he starts noticing that his wish has been granted… with a twist. The portrait is noticeably growing more hideous as Dorian’s behaviour becomes progressively more callous and contemptible.
Though dated, the story is fast-paced, well written and an easy read. Its lighter side pokes fun at the aristocracy and their total uselessness while its darker side reveals the level of shallowness and depravity of human nature.


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