Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wilde, Oscar "The Picture of Dorian Gray"

Wilde, Oscar "The Picture of Dorian Gray" - 1890

I read this book many many years ago in German and always wanted to re-read it in the original. Now, I finally did it.

I love Oscar Wilde's plays, I read quite a few of them, even though I prefer watching plays. My favourite is probably "The Importance of Being Earnest"  closely followed by "A Woman of No Importance".

Having also read quite a bit about his life, especially his biography "Constance" by Franny Moyle, I cannot help but think that there is a lot about Oscar Wilde in Dorian Gray.

The novel certainly raises a lot of questions and gives everyone a lot to think about. How shallow are we really? How vain? And what would we swap for eternal beauty?

The book is full of quotes that can be thrown into any conversation and whole discussions can start around them. One of my favourites:
"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."

I would certainly put this on a list of books everyone should read, a list of books I would take to a desert island, a list of books that will stay with me forever. If you haven't read it, you definitely should.

From the back cover: "When the exquisitely handsome Dorian Gray sees his portrait he dreams of remaining young forever while his painted image grows old and, in a sudden moment, he offers his soul in return for perpetual youth. While his beauty remains unblemished, the potrait begins to reflect the wildness and degredation of his soul as he surrenders to a worship of pleasure and infinite passion.
The Picture of Dorian Gray caused outrage when it was first published in 1890 and marked the onset of Oscar Wilde's own fatal reputation and eventual downfall. An evocative potrayal of London life and a powerful blast against the hypocrisies of Victorian polite society it has beconme one of Oscar Wilde's most celebrated works, full of the flamboyant wit for which he is justly renowned."


  1. I've seen the movie, but never read the book, will put it on my Amazon list.

    1. I don't think I have ever watched a movie. But my son had a similar children's book which I loved a lot. later on he also read this one and really liked it.

      Happy Reading,

  2. In hindsight, the novel - even it tells about an immoral man - is rather moralistic: It teaches that immoralism must be payed the hard way by the destruction of character. Insofar it could have been written by a Victorian Christian author - only that Wilde doesn't even allow for repentence and conversion (which he sees as hypocrisy).

  3. True. And very well said. You could think it was written by someone who wants to preach. It is definitely something everyone reflects on when they read the book, so whether Oscar Wilde intended it to be like that or not, it certainly is a big part of the novel.

    Thank you for your comment and have a great week,