Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde

This scandalous supernatural classic by the moralistic author, tells the tale of the vain, beautiful young man, Dorian Gray. After having his portrait made he becomes infatuated with the idea of eternal youth and beauty and makes a foolish wish that he would stay young and fresh forever, while the portrait grew old. A wish that comes true.

Encouraged by Lord Henry (Harry)Wotton, Dorian follows many sinful and sensual exploits, which leave no mark upon him, but changes the face of painting into a hideous mask of evil and corruption. Hiding the painting away, Dorian believes himself free to live as he likes, but his unchanged face does not go unnoticed and his dangerous and attractive lifestyle leaves death and destruction in his wake.

Wilde's tale from the 1890s is filled with his characteristic observations of human nature and dry humour. A more difficult and complicated read than many of his other books, with long periods philosophical discussion which, though interesting, stop the flow of the story.

Of course, the book scandalized the Victorians and it was even used against him when he was on trial that resulted in imprisonment due to homosexuality!

Part of my 100+ reading challenge