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 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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Paul
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PostSubject: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde   Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:09 pm

I've been wanting to read this book for quite some time, and I am glad I finally got to it. Oscar Wilde's prose is a treat, and his characters and dialogue are fascinating. I very much enjoyed reading this, which is amazing because there is not one character in this book that you can cheer for or is likable in any way.

The book starts with Dorian Gray, a well-to-do young man in late-Victorian England, having his portrait painted by an artist named Basil Hallward who has a definite "bromance" crush (at the very least) with the attractive young man (aspects like this, used throughout the book, were actually used as evidence in Wilde's trial, and conviction, of "homosexual offenses"). The portrait is a masterpiece, and Dorian Gray makes an impulsive wish that it would be the picture which would show signs of age while he himself remains young and good-looking. And of course this is the trigger for the rest of the story.

Years go by and Dorian Gray lives a life of debauchery and excess, shattering the lives of many others along the way, including driving some to suicide. The portrait shows increasing signs of Gray's soul rotting away, while his physical apprearance remains young and beautiful. Throughout all this he has two friends who seem to act as angel and devil on either shoulder: the artist, Basil, is concerned and tries to advise Gray to act with decency, while the other friend, Lord Henry Wotton, is a true hedonist who feels that the pleasure of the senses is the only true way to live (guess which one has the biggest influence on Dorian Gray?). Gray's sins increase until they cumulate in murder. Even when Dorian Gray feels remorse, it is a selfish remorse for his own soul, not for the suffering he has inflicted upon others.

I recommend this book to anyone who has not yet read it. On Goodreads I gave it a four out of five stars only because Gray's transition between young, clueless man and predatory hedonist seemed rather abrupt. But this is still a great book and you won't be sorry if you pick it up.

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PostSubject: Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde   Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:33 am

Hmm ... I've always wanted to read this. Now after your review Paul, I think I shall. (I'll be sure to let you know what I think of it.)
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PostSubject: Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde   Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:12 am

It's on my reading list for December, after it was on the lists for May, June and September. I always gave up about three pages in. Must give it another go.

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