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 knowthan 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 possiblyinteresting 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 twoquotes 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 phantomsterrible 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.
The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion It is not he who is revealed by the painter it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soulAnd so begins this tale of art and sin I would highly recommend first watching the movie Wilde, a film which takes the audience on a journey through the life of the tormented writer, from the beginnings of his fame to his later incarceration for gross indecency a charge used to imprison individuals when it was impossible to prove sodomy Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labour and died not long after being freed due to health problems gained during those two years Looking at Wilde s story from a twenty first century perspective, it is sad and horrifying to realise this man was indirectly sentenced to death for being gay The hard labour prescribed was carried out in various ways but one of the most common was the treadmill This machine made prisoners walk continuously uphill for hours on end and had many long term effects on people s health.
Why do I think it s important to know this Because, as Wilde claims, in every piece of art there isof the artist than anything else And I believe this is especially true of The Picture of Dorian Graythan perhaps any other fictional work I ve read In this novel, Wilde explores the nature of sin, of morality and immorality The homoerotic undertones between Dorian Gray, Basil Hallward and Lord Henry Wotton are, I think, the author s little expression of his own secret sins within his work Rarely does a work of fiction so deeply seem to mirror elements of the author s life.
By 1891, when The Picture of Dorian Gray was published, Oscar Wilde had met and fallen in love with Lord Alfred Douglas and they had begun a semi secret affair By which I mean that many were suspicious of the relationship but didn t argue with Wilde s claims that they shared a Socrates Plato teacher student kind of love The idolisation of Dorian Gray s youth and beauty, his tendency to be mean at random these characteristics all fit with the description and personality of Lord Alfred Douglas For me, there is no real question as to whether part of Dorian is meant to be Mr Wilde s lover.
I think if you familiarise yourself with Oscar Wilde, this becomes a very personal novel, muchthan just a disturbing horror story where a man sells his soul But even without any additional information, I think this is a sad and haunting book that tells of the joyful naivete of youth and the sad wisdom of maturity.
Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube He grewandenamoured of his own beauty,andinterested in the corruption of his own soul I think I must have been about fifteen when I read The Picture of Dorian Gray for the very first time and I was totally blown away by it There was this book, written in such a beautiful way, using such colourful and flowery language and there were those three amazing characters that made me feel and wonder and question their lives and decisions You might say that up until I picked up The Picture of Dorian Gray I was as innocent as Dorian himself I didn t know that there were books like that out there, that there actually existed morally grey characters, corrupted characters, book characters that felt like real people and could make you question their behaviour It was an entirely new world for me and I was totally fascinated by it So I read this book and I savoured every sentence, I devoured its wisdom and got lost in its pages Looking at it in retrospective I think that Oscar Wilde actually was the first writer who didn t only make me love classics but also the first author that ignited my undying love for villains and complex characters And for that I ll always be grateful I don t know how often I read this book by now goodreads your count doesn t even get close to the actual number lol , but no matter how often I already read it, I m still captivated by it My fifteen year old me loved it as much as my 31 year old me does and if you ask me that s exactly what makes a good classic I m sure I ll never get tired of reading this book and I ll always discover new things about it And I genuinely hope that many other people will read it as well It s definitely worth it The characters Warning You are now entering the gallery of Spoilery Spoilers and since this is one of my all time faves I ll probably end up writing an entire essay about it If you prefer to stay innocent you better leave before my spoilers get to you and corrupt your soul P Dorian GrayIt held the secret of his life, and told his story It had taught him to love his own beauty Would it teach him to loathe his own soulDorian Gray I don t even know where to start I love his character to bits and pieces and he s definitely one of the most intriguing book characters I ever had the pleasure to read about At the beginning of the book he s so innocent and na ve and I totally agree with Lord Henry when he says that this is charming Dorian definitely is a charming character He s beautiful and pure and whenever I read the beginning of the book I get a sudden urge to protect him against everything that s going to happen over the course of those 256 pages He s like a child that gets corrupted by the bad influence of others and when I write this I really mean it Even at his worst he still seems to retain that innocent outlook at things I mean he was corrupted and tainted by Lord Henry, and he ends up corrupting and tainting his friends but despite all of this he still wonders why they have become like that He s completely oblivious to his own role in their downfall and when Basil confronts him with it, he doesn t believe him He is convinced that his friends could have done the right thing and that his influence on them isn t as strong as Basil claims it to be What is evenintriguing is that Dorian actually wants to be good There s a part of him that s still innocent and hopes that he can be redeemed, but there s also that other side of him that whispers that he s entitled to do whatever he wishes to do It s obvious that he s fighting an inner struggle and that he seems to have lost his way It s the century old question every person has to ask her himself Do I want to be good And evenimportant Can I resist being bad It s so easy to do the wrong thing and it s so tough to do what s right I mean that s the main reason why actors and role players love to be the baddies Being bad is fun, it gives you a lot of freedom and if you re good at it the consequences never catch up to you P So Dorian constantly finds himself at a crossroads Will he do the right thing or is he going to give into his bad side Is his bad side truly that bad Is having a little fun with his friends and to indulge in pleasure wrong or is it just a part of being human The fate of Dorian Gray makes you think and it involuntarily causes you to face your own demons and weaknesses It ultimately causes you to acknowledge your own vices and fears In short It makes you pause and forces you to ponder your own life choices And this is nothing but awesome XDI want to be good I can t bear the idea of my soul being hideous He felt that the time had really come for making his choice Or had his choice already been made Yes, life had decided that for him life, and his own infinite curiosity about life Eternal youth, infinite passion, pleasures subtle and secret, wild joys and wilder sins he was to have all these things The portrait was to bear the burden of his shame that was all I don t want to be at the mercy of my emotions I want to use them, to enjoy them and to dominate them He was prisoned in thought Memory, like a horrible malady, was eating his soul away Lord HenryYou seem to forget that I am married, and the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties I never know where my wife is, and my wife never knows what I am doingAhh Lord Henry How much I love that bastard lol He s quite literally the devil in this book He s the person that stirrs Dorian s soul He s the man who leads him down that dark road and just like Dorian he is completely oblivious to the magnitude of his influence Yes, he knows that he s corrupting Dorian, he even finds pleasure and joy in it, but throughout the entire book he never truly realizes how much his words actually changed him How much damage they did to his soul Lord Henry is the kind of character you just got to love Arrogant, intelligent, wise, self confident, brutally honest and completely unapologetic about his inappropriate behaviour It s no wonder Dorian is so fascinated by him and isn t only willing but also eager to spend his time in his company Lord Henry is basically the embodiment of temptation and young and innocent Dorian wants to be seduced And honestly, who wouldn t be drawn towards a character like Lord Henry I swear he says the wisest things and vocalizes the most accurate statements regarding society He s exactly the kind of devil you d love to have on your shoulder Plus there s so much truth in his words that it hurts XDI make a great difference between people I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world 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 sin, 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 itBasil HallwardWhen I like people immensely I never tell their names to anyone It is like surrendering a part of them I have grown to love secrecyIf Lord Henry is the devil on Dorian s shoulder then Basil certainly is the angel that sits on his other side The painter functions as Dorian s consciousness and as long as they know each other he always appeals to his good side and tries his best to sway him on a righteous path He s clearly the counterweight to Lord Henry s corruption, but unfortunately he doesn t have a lot of leverage Well, at least not as much as Harry does I mean the saying Come to the dark side, we got cookies exists for a reason, right P In the end Dorian can t stand his bad conscience any longer and does the only thing that s seemingly able to liberate him He kills Basil in order to silence his remorse and regrets, but what he didn t expect is that this dark deed makes him feel eventainted and guilty So in the end Basil s death only increased his sense of guilt and caused him to feel evenhaunted In my opinion the murder of Basil is the final nail in Dorian s coffin and from that moment on he couldn t be saved anyYou were the most unspoiled creature in the whole world Now, I don t know what has come over you You talk as if you had no heart, no pity in youThe relationships Dorian Gray Basil HallwardHe won t like you the better for keeping your promises He always breaks his own I beg you not to go Dorian Gray laughed and shook his head I entreat you The lad hesitated, and looked over at Lord Henry, who was watching them from the tea table with an amused smile I must go, Basil, he answered.
And this is the key moment The very first time Dorian Gray finds himself at a crossroads and choses the wrong path You gotta love Oscar Wilde for the subtle intensity of this scene There s nothing extraordinary or special about it, yet it s still the first choice that leads Dorian down his dark descent It s unagitated, ordinary and so very powerful It s obvious Basil loved Dorian and when I talk about love here, I m talking about true love and not just friendship He s infatuated with him and basically worships the young and innocent Dorian After he realises what Dorian has become, it s already too late for him though Poor Basil, if he would have known what his picture would make of Dorian, if he would have known how much Lord Henry s negative influence would change his innocent and pure friendOne has a right to judge of a man by the effect he has over his friends Yours seem to lose all sense of honour, of goodness, of purity You have filled them with a madness for pleasure They have gone down into the depths You led them there There was nothing evil in it, nothing shameful You were to me such an ideal as I shall never meet again This is the face of a satyr It is the face of my soul Christ what a thing I must have worshipped It has the eyes of a devil Each of us has Heaven and Hell in him, Basil, cried Dorian, with a wild gesture of despair.
Dorian Gray Lord HenryWords Mere words How terrible they were How clear, and vivid and cruel One could not escape from them And yet what a subtle magic there was in them Okay, and here comes the moment when I say that Lord Henry and Dorian Gray are in love with each other lol It s so freaking obvious They are fascinated by each other, they are besotted with each other and they want to spend every free moment in each other s company So yeah, there s that I think their dynamic and their interactions are very interesting and to me it seems like Lord Henry is some sort of catalyst He s the impulse that changes Dorian s soul, he s the first person who opens Dorian s eyes and tells him that he s beautiful Oscar Wilde uses him as his tool to initiate Dorian s monumental change Which is kind of interesting, if you consider that Oscar Wilde was gay It feels like Dorian s and Henry s relationship is wrong and I m not even sure if Wilde was aware of that I mean yes, their friendship led Dorian into the abyss of his soul, which is pretty obvious if you ask me, but there s some subtle note about their relationship It s like deep down Oscar Wilde thought that it was wrong to have intense feelings for another man And if you consider the time in which this was written it s not surprising that he might have felt that way Lord Henry represents Oscar s sins and vices and it becomes quite apparent that some small part of him might have bemoaned his sexual orientation In contrast to Wilde no one holds Dorian Gray to account though He gets away with all of his sins and in the end this eventually causes him to destroys himself What a moral punchline XDTalking to him was like playing upon an exquisite violin He answered to every touch and thrill of the bow Yes, continued Lord Henry, that is one of the great secrets of life to cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul You are a wonderful creation You knowthan you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know The moment I met you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are, of what you really might be There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted.
You know how a voice can stir one Your voice and the voice of Sibyl Vane are two things that I shall never forget When I close my eyes, I hear them, and each of them says something different I don t know which to follow The soul is a terrible reality It can be bought, and sold, and bartered away It can be poisoned, or made perfect There is a soul in each one of us I know it Conclusion This book is a gem It s perfection and so quotable that I could probably highlight each and every single passage No matter how often I read it, there is always something new I didn t notice before I still wonder and guess about certain characters and The Picture of Dorian Gray still causes me to think The writing style is so beautiful I can t help but fall in love with it I fall in love with this book over and over again Every time I read it I love it evenand I m sure that I will adore this masterpiece until I m wrinkled and old Oscar Wilde drags us into the dark depths of the human soul, and once you get there you don t want to return to the surface any.
N That s what this book is 333 So I read all of Wilde s plays a couple of years ago but for some reason I never read this at the time This is probably the number one most requested book for me to read So I read it Are ya happy now ARE YA I really rather enjoyed this Well, obviously I mean, did you honestly think I wasn t going to like The Picture of Dorian Gray It s by Oscar Wilde for fuck s sake His prose is like spilled honey flowing across a wooden table and waterfalling onto the floor beneath The viscous liquid flowing slowly over the edge His plot, perfectly paced, moves slowly as we wade deeper and deeper into Dorian Gray s maniacal life Over the edge we go as everything goes wrong, there s death, there s pain, there s long conversations about art We hit the floor as we finish and we see nothing but sweetness amassing around us as we escape from Wilde s prose Putting the book down you see the light has hit the stream and it glows and it shines and it sparkles and you stand there mesmorised by what you re witnessing and you put the book back on your shelf and feel sorry for the book you read next So, yeah, it s good.
I finished reading this last night, and afterwards I spent an entire hour staring into space so I could contemplate over the majesty of this work It left me speechless This book is exquisite it is an investigation into the human soul, the power of vanity and the problems of living a life with not a single consequence for your actions It s truly powerful stuff It begins with a simple realisation, and perhaps an obvious one But, for Dorian it is completely life changing He realises that beauty is finite It won t last forever It s like a flower, temporary and splendid So if you re a young man whose appearance is your singular quality, then this is some damn scary news People only want to be with you because you re attractive and charming they want to be near you, and with you, for your looks only So when that goes what do you have left Nothing No friends No love Only age So what do you do How do you retain your singular quality Well, the answer is simple, you copy Doctor Faustus The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus and sell your soul to the devilHow sad it is murmured Dorian Gray with his eyes still fixed upon his own portrait How sad it is I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful But this picture will remain always young It will never be older than this particular day of June If it were only the other way If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old For that for that I would give everything Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give I would give my soul for that And this is where the real depravity begins Dorian s world has no consequences Everything he does is attributed to the painting, everything Any regret or malice leaves him quickly and is transferred to the canvas So he can t technically feel emotion for an extended period of time thus, his attitude becomes one of nonchalance He becomes a shell, an emotionless creature who can only seek his sin vanity He surrounds himself with beauty His house is full of art, brilliant music and every luxury known to man You name it Dorian s got it Only through seeking new experiences, these pleasures, can Dorian s being remain animated I intentionally used the word being for Dorian s body no longer harbours his soul it s in the painting Everything he does is for his own indulgence he just doesn t care what affect his presence has on others The prefect moment is all he lives forI don t want to be at the mercy of my emotions I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them The character of Dorian Gray is an interesting study because he is representative of many things He shows how a seemingly pure soul can be corrupted if it s left in a sense of privation and given terrible guidance Also he is suggestive of the Victorian ideal of the perfect societal image One must be respectable at all times, and have all the appropriate airs and graces But behind closed doors, or perhaps even a curtain, anything goes He is suggestive of the hidden evils of Victorian society as behind the mask was many dark things For example, the Empire and colonialism to the Victorians was a wonderful thing it built wealth and structure, but in reality it destroyed culture and subjected peoples to slavery The same things can be said of child labour, the exploitation of women and terrible working conditions Everything exists behind a veil of grandeur, and this is no less true for Dorian The homosexual suggestions are practically ground breaking Wilde wasn t the only Victorian author to suggest such things Robert Louis Stevenson sThe Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hydecan be read in a similar vein, but Wilde was muchexplicit It s not cryptic it s just plain homosexual lust for all to see on the part of Basil and perhaps even Sir Henry later on It s still rather horrific that Wilde was actually arrested for homosexual acts Silly Victorians The novel also shows that despite being corrupted to such a degree, to commit murder in such a terrible sense, Dorian the Victorian man isn t beyond all redemption He can still come back from his deeds and end it all The ending was perfection This has great allegorical meaning.
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 .
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