The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
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The Picture of Dorian Gray is a familiar story of greed, sin, and arrogance. A young man, infatuated with his own handsomeness and youth as depicted in a perfect portrait, makes a bargain he will come to regret. No one can save him from his appetite for pleasure and his awful fate—not the man who idolizes him, not the woman who loves him…not even himself!

Published in 1890, The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde’s only novel. At first the subject of intense controversy, it has endured as a classic for years. A cautionary tale of innocence sacrificed for the sake of vice, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a classic whose lessons are still relevant today.

Lexile score: 880L

About Oscar Wilde

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Flamboyant man-about-town, Oscar Wilde had a reputation that preceded him, especially in his early career. He was born to a middle-class Irish family (his father was a surgeon) and was trained as a scholarship boy at Trinity College, Dublin. He subsequently won a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was heavily influenced by John Ruskin and Walter Pater, whose aestheticism was taken to its radical extreme in Wilde's work. By 1879 he was already known as a wit and a dandy; soon after, in fact, he was satirized in Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience. Largely on the strength of his public persona, Wilde undertook a lecture tour to the United States in 1882, where he saw his play Vera open---unsuccessfully---in New York. His first published volume, Poems, which met with some degree of approbation, appeared at this time. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, the daughter of an Irish lawyer, and within two years they had two sons. During this period he wrote, among others, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), his only novel, which scandalized many readers and was widely denounced as immoral. Wilde simultaneously dismissed and encouraged such criticism with his statement in the preface, "There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all." In 1891 Wilde published A House of Pomegranates, a collection of fantasy tales, and in 1892 gained commercial and critical success with his play, Lady Windermere's Fan He followed this comedy with A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and his most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). During this period he also wrote Salome, in French, but was unable to obtain a license for it in England. Performed in Paris in 1896, the play was translated and published in England in 1894 by Lord Alfred Douglas and was illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley. Lord Alfred was the son of the Marquess of Queensbury, who objected to his son's spending so much time with Wilde because of Wilde's flamboyant behavior and homosexual relationships. In 1895, after being publicly insulted by the marquess, Wilde brought an unsuccessful slander suit against the peer. The result of his inability to prove slander was his own trial on charges of sodomy, of which he was found guilty and sentenced to two years of hard labor. During his time in prison, he wrote a scathing rebuke to Lord Alfred, published in 1905 as De Profundis. In it he argues that his conduct was a result of his standing "in symbolic relations to the art and culture" of his time. After his release, Wilde left England for Paris, where he wrote what may be his most famous poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), drawn from his prison experiences. Among his other notable writing is The Soul of Man under Socialism (1891), which argues for individualism and freedom of artistic expression. There has been a revived interest in Wilde's work; among the best recent volumes are Richard Ellmann's, Oscar Wilde and Regenia Gagnier's Idylls of the Marketplace , two works that vary widely in their critical assumptions and approach to Wilde but that offer rich insights into his complex character.
Published September 15, 1999 by Tor Classics. 180 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Horror, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Gay & Lesbian, Erotica, Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, History, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Children's Books, Romance. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Picture of Dorian Gray


As he gazes upon it, Gray is so overwhelmed by his own beauty and muddled with “dangerous ideas” that he declares he would sell his soul to retain such youthful beauty forever.

Mar 03 2010 | Read Full Review of The Picture of Dorian Gray (W...

Large Print Reviews

However, as Dorian begins to lead a life of depravity and sin we learn also that the painting not only changes to show his true age but also transforms to show the changes in Dorian's soul as well.

Jul 27 2006 | Read Full Review of The Picture of Dorian Gray (W...

Sour Grapes Winery

The devotion that Basil has for Dorian, and Dorian for Lord Henry, is not that dissimilar.

Jan 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Picture of Dorian Gray (W...

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