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Written In His Distinctively Dazzling Manner, Oscar Wilde S Story Of A Fashionable Young Man Who Sells His Soul For Eternal Youth And Beauty Is The Author S Most Popular Work The Tale Of Dorian Gray S Moral Disintegration Caused A Scandal When It Rst Appeared In , But Though Wilde Was Attacked For The Novel S Corrupting In Uence, He Responded That There Is, In Fact, A Terrible Moral In Dorian Gray Just A Few Years Later, The Book And The Aesthetic Moral Dilemma It Presented Became Issues In The Trials Occasioned By Wilde S Homosexual Liaisons, Which Resulted In His Imprisonment Of Dorian Gray S Relationship To Autobiography, Wilde Noted In A Letter, Basil Hallward Is What I Think I Am Lord Henry What The World Thinks Me Dorian What I Would Like To Be In Other Ages, Perhaps 18 30.. Arguably literature s greatest study of shallowness, vanity, casual cruelty and hedonistic selfishness, Wilde lays it down here with ABSOLUTE PERFECTION This was my first experience in reading Oscar Wilde and the man s gift for prose and dialogue is magical This story read somewhat like a dark, corrupted Jane Austen in that the writing was snappy and pleasant on the ear, but the feeling it left you with was one of hopelessness and despair The level of cynicism and societal disregard that Wilde s characters display towards humanity is simply staggering Despite the dark or likely because of it this is one of the most engaging, compelling and lyrical pieces of literature I have read The quality of the prose is nothing short masterful I assume most people know the basic outline of the plot, but I will give you a few sentences on it The three main characters are Basil Hallward, Lord Henry Wotton and Dorian Gray Basil Hallward is an artist who after painting a picture of Dorian Gray becomes obsessed with him because of his beauty the homosexual vs art object love Basil feels towards Dorian are left vague, likely because of the time it was written Dorian then meets a friend Basil s, Lord Henry, and becomes enthralled with Lord Henry s world view, which is a form of extreme hedonism that posits the only worthwhile life is one spent pursuing beauty and satisfaction for the senses The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. Well at one point, Dorian utters the famous words quoted at the beginning of my review and the Faustian bargain is struck.While this story is often mentioned among the classics of the Horror genre which I do have a problem with this is much a study of the human monster than it is some boogeyman My favorite parts of the story were the extensive dialogues between the characters, usually Dorian and Lord Henry They were wonderfully perverse and display a level of casual cruelty and vileness towards humanity that make it hard to breathe while reading Oh, and Lord Henry reserves particular offense for the female of the species, to wit My dear boy, no woman is a genius Women are a decorative sex They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals. YES folkshe absolutely did One of the most intriguing quotes I have seen from Oscar Wilde regarding this book is his comparison of himself to the three main characters He said that he wrote the three main characters as reflections of himself Wilde said, Basil Hallward is what I think I am Lord Henry is what the world thinks me Dorian is what I would like to be in other ages, perhaps I was somewhat floored by this as I found Dorian to be a truly stark representation of evil and could not see how Wilde could find an idealized form within the character When I say evil, I don t mean just misguided or weak minded, someone bamboozled by the clever lectures of Lord Henry I found Gray to be selfish, vain, inhumanly callous and sadistically cruel I intend to try and learn about Wilde s outlook on this character as it truly escapes me.Regardless, this is a towering piece of literature Beautifully written and filled with memorable characters and a deeply moving story A novel deserving of its status as a classic of English Literature 5.0 stars HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION P.S For of audiobooks I listened to the audio version of this read by Michael Page who has become one of my favorite narrators His performance here was amazing. This book reminded me why I hate classics.Like Frankenstein, it starts out with a great premise what if a portrait bore the brunt of age and sin, while the person remained in the flush of youth How would that person feel as they watched a constant reminder of their true nature develop And like Frankenstein, it gets completely bogged down in uninteresting details and takes forever to get to the interesting bits Seriously, in a 230 page novel, the portrait doesn t even start to change until 100 pages in And it s so damn flowery Every time Lord Harry starts talking and believe me, he likes to talk he s so witty Witty witty witty Ahahaha, you re soooooooo worldly wise and charming And entirely cynical You just have a quip for everything, don t you Look, reader, look See Harry See Harry corrupt Dorian Corrupt, Harry, corrupt I actually ended up skimming most of the book I really thought about stopping, but I hoped it would redeem itself by the end It didn t I should have just skipped to the last page So to save you, dear reader, the same pain I went through, is the summary of Dorian Gray spoilers, of course Dorian semi consciously makes Faustian bargain to transfer all his sins and signs of age to his portrait He sins and feels guilty about it, but keeps doing it anyway He finally decides to get ride of the portrait evidence and stabs the painting Surprise, it breaks the spell, and he is left ugly, old and dead while his portrait returns to its original form The end You can thank me later UPDATE 9 3 12 Since this review is still around and kicking four years later, I thought I might point like minded individuals to a new parody of classic literature to the tune of Call Me Maybe Call Me Ishmael Oh Dorian Oh Dorian.When I first read this book in the fruitless years of my youth I was excited, overwhelmed and a blank slate as Dorian is, upon his first encounter with Lord Henry easily molded, persuaded, influenced, etc.Certain Wildisms Wildeisms would take my breath away Would become my mottos to believe in To follow To live.Lines like It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about 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 If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat Genius lasts longer than Beauty That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over educate ourselves In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place You know than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know Re reading this masterpiece and coming upon these highlighted lines was possibly interesting than the book this time Why had I highlighted these lines Do they still mean the same thing to me, as they did when I first took note of them, enough to highlight them I still love all of those lines But no longer feel so strongly for them.Now these are lines that stick out still to me Or were newly underlined on the second pass through New Wildisms to mold me Oh, I can t explain When I like people immensely I never tell their names to any one 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 marvelous to us The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going If I did, I would lose all my pleasure It is a silly habit, I dare say, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one s life I suppose you think me awfully foolish about it Yes she is a peacock in everything but beauty Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects Ah this Morning You have lived since then what brings you out so early I thought you dandies never got up till two, and were not visible till five A new personal favorite That I follow very seriously She behaves as if she was beautiful Most American women do It is the secret of their charm He thought for a moment Can you remember any great error that you committed in your early days, Duchess he asked, looking at her across the table A great many, I fear, she cried Then commit them over again, he said, gravely To get back one s youth one has merely to repeat one s follies A delightful theory she exclaimed I must put it into practice Besides, each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved Difference of object does not alter singleness of passion It turns out that all of these quotes occur in the first 45 pages, except that last one which is right near the end And it seems most of my reviews end up being mostly quotes from the book itself, but I figure this is what shaped and informed my reading, so I want to share it with all of you What do you think of it all That said, poor Sybil Vane Poor James Vane Poor Basil Hallward Shit, even poor old Lord Henry Wotton And Dorian Oh Dorian Lead the life you did and for what That s all I am going to say about the book I don t think I shall read Against Nature, for fear of being seduced like Dorian.If you re tired of this review or just tired in general, stop now and come back later I am going to include two quotes from the book that truly fucked me up So much I had to read them at least 3 times in a row And then transcribe them here for you The last section, thats the one that did it Beautiful.Here goes There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr Gray All influence is immoral immoral from the scientific point of view Why Because to influence a person is to give him one s own soul He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions His virtues are not real to him His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed He becomes an echo of some one else s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him The aim of life is self development To realize one s nature perfectly that is what each of us is here for People are afraid of themselves nowadays They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one s self Of course they are charitable They feed the hungry and cloth the beggar But their own souls starve, and are naked Courage has gone out of our race Perhaps we never really had it The terror of society, which is the basis of morals the terror of God, which is the secret of religion these are the two things that govern us And yet And yet, continues Lord Henry, in his low, musical voice, I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of mediaevalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal to something finer, richer than the Hellenic ideal, it may be But the bravest man among us is afraid of himself The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self denial that mars our lives We are punished for our refusals Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poisons us The body sins once, and has done with its sins, for action is a mode of purification Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also You, Mr Gray, you yourself, with your rose red youth and your rose white boyhood, you have had passions that have made you afraid, thoughts that have filled you with terror, day dreams and sleeping dreams whose mere memory might stain your cheek with shame Stop faltered Dorian Gray, stop you bewilder me I don t know what to say There is some answer to you, but I cannot find it Don t speak Let me think, or, rather, let me try not to think Whew.And There are few of us who have not sometimes wakened before dawn, either after one of those dreamless nights that make us almost enad of death, or one of those nights of horror and misshapen joy, when through the chambers of the brain sweep phantoms terrible than reality itself, and instinct with that vivid life that lurks in all grotesques, and that lends to Gothic art its enduring vitality, this art being, one might fancy, especially the art of those who minds have been troubled with the malady of reverie Gradually white fingers creep through the curtains, and they appear to tremble In black, fantastic shapes, dumb shadows crawl into the corners of the room, and crouch there Outside, there is the stirring of the birds among the leaves, or the sound of men going forth to their work, or the sigh and sob of the wind coming down from the hills and wandering round the silent house, as though it feared to wake the sleeper, and yet must needs call forth Sleep from her purple cave Veil after veil of thin, dusky gauze is lifted, and by degrees the forms and colors of things are restored to them, and we watch the dawn remaking the world in its antique pattern The wan mirrors get back their mimic life The flameless tapers stand where we had left them, and beside them lies the half cut book that we had been studying, or the wired flower that we had worn at the ball, or the letter we had been afraid to read, or that we had read too often Nothing seems to us changed Out of the unreal shadows of the night comes back the real life that we had known We have to resume it where we had left off, and there steals over us a terrible sense of the necessity for the continuance of energy in the same wearisome round of stereotyped habits, or a wild longing, it may be, that our eyelids might open some morning upon a world that had been refashioned anew in the darkness for our pleasure, a world in which things would have fresh shapes and colors, and be changed, or have other secrets, a world in which the past would have little or no place, or survive, at any rate, in no conscious form of obligation or regret, the remembrance even of joy having its bitterness, and the memories of pleasure their pain Yep.