Saturday, 6 April 2013

HELLO The Classics Club - The Picture of Dorian Gray

This is Oscar Wilde's first and only novel published in 1890 in Lippincotts's monthly magazine, and in book form the following year.

Controversy was never far from Wilde, and the first publication of the book caused the magazine to remove 500 words from the novel without his consent. They were unhappy about moral indecencies referred in it.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a story about a narcissistic young man who sells his soul for beauty. As he remains beautiful and adored, the painting ages, and becomes ugly and abhorred.

Dorian Gray is painted by artist Basil Hallward who is convinced that Dorian's beauty is the source of his artistic masterpiece. He is introduced to the 'wild' side of life through the artist's friend, Lord Henry Wotton. It is the desire to remain young and enjoy the senses of life that Dorian's fate is sealed. The Picture of Dorian Gray is classed as a Gothic, philosophical, and Faustian novel.

I snippet about Wilde here.
Another great read. Like the other Gothic books I've read recently, I was drawn into the dark world, where the see-saw kept tipping. I liked the duality he portrays, like Jekyll and Hyde, showing the reader human nature at its most vulnerable and worst. Seeking a desire acquired at a price. What better way to reveal the price than in a painting, a reflection of a capture moment, which lasts for an age. Except, instead of beauty, ugliness seeps through. 

Oscar Wilde put a part of himself in this book. Aspects of his life can be gleamed with the relationship he has with Henry, the one who shows him temptation. Wilde has been quoted as saying: in all first novels, the hero/author is Christ/Faust. Is this the source of the commonly heard phase: that first novels are autobiographical?

If this is true, I may need therapy. The Junk Room, my completed WIP (currently revising), features elements of Gothic horror and supernatural suspense.

If you write, what does your first novel say about you?


  1. I like adventure and romance? ;)

  2. I can't get over how much like Stephen Fry he looks.

    Dorian Gray is a wonderful piece of Gothic lit.

    1. I think Mr Fry would love that.

  3. Great post (and snippet) about Oscar Wilde! I include a quote by Wilde in my MG novel, believe it or not.

  4. I love that story, Dorian Gray. A clever idea, fascinating. :)