Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Buy it Now!

My first introduction to "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde was the inclusion of his character in the movie "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." After reading "Dracula" recently I decided I wanted to go and read other classics in the genre of the fantastic. I was amazed when I learned that it was by Oscar Wilde!

When I was younger I was part of a program called "Home Link." It was a school designed to allow the home schoolers in the area (we have a lot of them!) take elective type classes that are hard to teach at home. One of the classes that was offered was drama - and me being me - I of course took it!

In 9th grade we spent the entire year working on producing "The Importance of Being Ernest," by Oscar Wilde. Why we spent a whole year on it is a story for another time and place, but it was an experience I'll always treasure. I played Lady Augusta Bracknel, and by the end of the year I could quote that play back and forth! All three acts, and Lady Bracknel didn't even appear in the second act! I could quote large portions of it for years afterwards.

Reading "Dorian Gray" brought back a lot of memories for me. Obviously the two stories are very different, but the writing style was most definitely recognizable as Oscar Wilde. He has a way of having his characters say the most absurd things, but making them seem to make sense in the scene.

The story of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is in many ways a story on the nature of sin and how it changes you. A painter friend of Dorian's creates a master piece portrait of Dorian. Prompted by some comments of a mutual friend of theirs, Dorian idly wishes that he could remain youthful and "pretty" forever, and that the painting could change instead.

For whatever reason, his prayers are answered. Dorian never grows older, but every sin and stain on his soul shows up in vivid detail on his painting. Scared at first, Dorian begins to enjoy his freedom and pursues whatever catches his fancy.

I found the progression of his descent to be interesting, although at one point the musings that Wilde went into got a little tiresome. I would say more about the end and the consequences, but I'd rather let you read the book for yourself! Be prepared though for the Victorian turns of phrase and ideas. If your not used to it you might find it a hard read.


Leather Made Nice said...

Excellent story, Dorian Gray. Good read. Thx for sharing. You too have an excellent writing style. :D

TiLT said...

I haven't read that in ages (as in decades LOL)...I know it's upstairs somewhere, maybe I'll have to break it out again.