Friday, October 8, 2010

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


Classic Literature / Fiction (194 pgs.)


Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, his dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged—petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral—while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying, enchanting, obsessing, even corrupting readers for more than a hundred years.
Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not only a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde’s fin-de-siècle world and a manifesto of the creed “Art for Art’s Sake.”


I have always wanted to read this book. I had heard from many others that this was a great classic fiction read, and being the classic fiction afficionado that I am, I just had to try it.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, to put it frankly, is one huge mind game. This philosophy in here will literally blow your mind. The way our main antagonist, Lord Henry Wotton thinks--how he views the world--is absolutely astounding. This heavy philosophical factor was both a good and bad thing... on one hand, it makes the reader really think, really presents them with a new perspective. But on the other hand, during some passages, I actually had to stop and comprehend what I was reading, which got a bit tedious at some points. But I really enjoyed that element of the book.

I loved Lord Henry Wotton's character. He's the kind of man who you should be best friends with, and whom you should never be enemies with. His witty quips and his philosophies about life are amazing. In some ways, by bringing out your "bad self," he makes you show your true character, your true colors. And I quite enjoyed that about him.

Poor Dorian Gray. If that's not a tortured soul, I don't know what is. He starts off a perfectly, well, perfect human being, but thanks to the corruption of Lord Henry, he becomes a dark, twisted being who drives people to suicide on more than one account and is capable of murder. His hunt for eternal perfection, eternal youth ends up killing him in the end. Such a tragic man, but such a dynamic character at the same time. He stands for so much in this story.

I loved the fact that just because this novel is set in Victorian England doesn't mean its tea parties and balls all of the time. Oscar Wilde did an outstanding job with writing the scenery in this novel. It's really reflective of Dorian Gray's character. In the beginning, when Dorian was still "pure," the sceneries are lush, romantic, typical Victorian-esque settings. But when Dorian turns darker, so does the world around him. London becomes a dark place... it becomes less of the prim and proper, and more seedy taverns and opium dens. I really admired Wilde's writing of the setting... it just brought everything together.

The ending is so epic! It couldn't have ended better in my opinion. This is one of those times where I have to say, "you just have to read it for yourself."

Overall, Dorian Gray was quite a twisted story. Don't go into reading this book thinking it's a typical classic Victorian novel... it is far from that. The dialogue is mind bending, the scenery fantastic, and the characters incredibly dynamic. If you are a classic literature lover, this is a must read! In fact, it's a must read for everyone!




Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Wonderful review! I agree, this story really stretches your mind and sucks you in with its philosphy, unique story and darkness. The dialogues are amazing; sometimes difficult to "get", but still so good. Thanks for sharing!

Untouchable Treasure said...

Thank you so much! That was definitely an interesting read for me... it made me think outside of the box!


Related Posts with Thumbnails