Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Picture of Dorian Gray by: Oscar Wilde


The Picture of Dorian Gray highlights the tension between the polished surface of high society and the life of secret vice. In this updated version of the Faust story, the tempter is Lord Henry Wotton who lives selfishly for amoral pleasure; Dorian's good angel or conscience is the portrait painter Basil Hallward whom Dorian murders. Although sin is punished in the end, the book has a strong flavor of the elegantly perverse. Wilde asserted in his Preface to the expanded edition: "There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all."

I loved this book. It's been sitting on my shelf for a while, waiting to be read, and I'm glad I finally got the chance to pick it up. Wilde's prose is beautiful, it flows wonderfully, painting clear pictures in the reader's mind. I could see everything vividly, as if I were in the story.

The plot was awesome, I loved the idea. And the dialogue is well written, especially the dialogue between Lord Henry and Dorian. There's a lot of philsophy in this novel, it's definitely a novel to make you think. But it's entertaining, too. There are some very funny moments. It's a novel that reflects Wilde's viewpoints of society at the time, much like most of his writings do.

The characters were great, too. I loved Dorian, he was so flawed it was easy to hate him, but you kind of loved him, too. Lord Henry was interesting, as was the Duchess. The moments between them were hilarious, I kind of wanted to see more between them. And Basil was interesting, too. I liked the way that the three main characters were distinctly the same, yet different at the same time. They played off one another well.

Along with the amazing descriptions, the dialogue was well written, too. There were a lot of great lines that make awesome quotes in this novel.

All in all, it was an amazing novel. Definitely one I would recommend to those who love British literature. Wilde was a great writer, one of my favorites. There were some parts that dragged a bit, but they were few and far between.

Overall rating: 9/10

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