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Paperback The Picture of Dorian Gray Book

ISBN: 1593080255

ISBN13: 9781593080259

The Picture of Dorian Gray

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&&LIThe Picture of Dorian Gray&&L/I, by &&LSTRONGOscar Wilde&&L/B, is part of the &&LIBarnes & Noble Classics&&L/I&&LI &&L/Iseries, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of &&LIBarnes & Noble Classics&&L/I: New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The terrible pleasure of a double life

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" seems particularly suited to comic book adaptation. The gothic tone of the piece combined with the sublime imagery of the ever-aging, ever-corrupting portrait is ready-made for some illustrator in the Edward Gorey or Tim Burton vein. Black and white is the way to go, as a color adaptation would make Gray's world seem too garish, too vulgar. A delicate touch is required here. Illustrator I.N.J. Culbard brings that delicate touch, with an art style that is cartoony and gothic at the same time. Culbard does not go for the obvious, which would be an imitation of Gorey or Burton's style. The eternal beauty of Dorian as well as the brashness of Lord Henry who urges Dorian on and the horrible visage of the portrait that reflects Dorian's soul are all portrayed with a deft hand that brings the story to life the way only the best adaptations do. Praise must also go to story-adapter Ian Edginton who has to cut down the novel to comic book length, keeping only those passages which contain the core of the morality play. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is one of Oscar Wilde's most famous works, and although not a particularly long novel it is complex with undercurrents and allusions enough to keep a college literature course busy for quite awhile. Edington does have the advantage of a full graphic novel format to work with. I have read illustrated adaptations of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" before, most recently in the Graphic Classics: Oscar Wilde, but they have always been shorted versions of the story packed into an anthology. With this Sterling Press publication, you get even more of the famous lines and Wilde's unique style. I greatly enjoyed this adaptation, and I look forward to further work by Culbard and Edginton, specifically their Sherlock Holmes adaptation The Hound of the Baskervilles. They make for a formidable team.

"An exquisite poison in the air"

Is your soul a good bargaining chip for perpetual youth and beauty? Young Dorian Gray was led to believe so and impulsively struck that bargain. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is the story of his decline into depravity following that ill-advised trade-off. The story is well-known in popular culture. An artist becomes obsessed with his young model's attractiveness. He and his jaded friend compete for influence over the young man. The friend corrupts young Dorian, encourages him to embrace a life of sensual pleasure and to prize his own beauty. Dorian exclaims that he resents the portrait because IT will keep the freshness of youth -- then the fateful words, that he would give his soul if the picture could decay instead of his own face and body. Be careful what you wish for! Over the next twenty years Dorian sinks into the depths of moral slime and watches the hidden portrait show all the signs of that immorality, while his own face and figure keep the blush of youth. Along with the adulation of youth and beauty, Oscar Wilde delves into the theme of art as morally neutral, a principle of the aesthetic school of thought. Can art be moral or immoral? Should it teach us, improve us? That was the common 19th century view but the school of aestheticism believed that the arts had no role in moral enlightenment. The preface of the book lays out this theme in a series of proclamations. The entire book, like all of Wilde's work, is packed with "sound bites." The corrupting friend, Lord Henry Wotton, is particularly prone to Polonius-like declamations, and Dorian tells him, "You cut life to pieces with your epigrams!" In fact Wilde does that, ripping into polite society and the opium dens of London alike. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is Oscar Wilde's only published novel. It first appeared in a magazine in 1890 as a shorter work, and was later expanded and edited to remove some of the more blatant homosexual references. His writing is exquisite, his themes repugnant but (dare I say it?) edifying. "What does it profit a man ..." Highly recommended as a true classic of modern literature. I read this book when I was young and thought I understood it. Now that I'm not so young, I'm sure that I don't. NOTE: I listened to this book on CD, not tape, but I chose this product link because it's the same production. The Brilliance Audio Library Edition, read by Michael Page, was incomparably presented and added a great deal to my enjoyment of this absorbing book. Linda Bulger, 2008

"Beauty is a form of Genius."

Oscar Wilde was one of the foremost representatives of Aestheticism, a movement based on the notion that art exists for no other purpose than its existence itself ("l'art pour l'art"), not for the purpose of social and moral enlightenment. Born in Dublin and a graduate of Oxford's Magdalen College, he initially worked primarily as a journalist, editor and lecturer, but gradually turned to writing and produced his most acclaimed works in the six-year span from 1890 to 1895, roughly coinciding with the period of his romantic involvement with Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas, sixteen years his junior. Douglas's strained relationship with his father, John Sholto Douglas, Marquees of Queensberry, eventually resulted in a series of confrontations between Wilde and the Marquees, which first led to a libel suit brought by Wilde against his lover's father (who had openly accused Wilde of "posing as a sodomite" and threatened to disown his son if he didn't give up his acquaintance with the writer) and subsequently to two criminal trials against Wilde for "gross indecencies," based on a law generally interpreted to prohibit homosexual relationships. Sentenced to a two-year term of "hard labor" in Reading Gaol, Wilde emerged from prison in 1897 a spiritually, physically and financially broken man and, unable to continue living in England or Ireland, after three years' wanderings throughout Europe died in 1900 of cerebral meningitis, barely 46 years old. "The Picture of Dorian Gray," Wilde's only novel besides seven plays as well as several works of short fiction, poetry, nonfiction and two fairy tale collections originally written for his two sons, is critical to an understanding of Wilde's body of work and his personality primarily for two reasons: First, because it constitutes one of his earliest fully accomplished formulations of Aestheticism, and secondly because of its undeniable undercurrent of homoeroticism; an inclination which, after a six-year marriage widely thought to initially have been a true love match, Wilde had begun to explore more openly around the time of the novel's creation (1890). The story's title character is an exceptionally handsome young man who, both in the eyes of the artist tasked to paint his portrait, Basil Hallward, and in those of their somewhat older friend Lord Henry Wotton, epitomizes perfect beauty and is coveted by both men for that very reason. Seduced by hedonistic Lord Henry into believing that beauty can literally justify anything, including any act of immorality, Dorian sells his soul for maintaining his beautiful appearance, letting his portrait age in his stead. (In that, his character resembles Goethe's and Marlowe's Faust.) He then quickly turns from an innocent youth into a cruel and calculating man whom society, in its shallow adherence to appearances, nonetheless never associates with any of the results of his cruelty, never looking beyond the surface of his handsome exterior and assuming that a man so beautifu

A Thrilling Read

I first was introduced to Dorian Gray through a book club, and I thought 'Oh no, Oscar Wilde, here I go, another hard to read boring society book". I was wrong. Within the first two chapters of Dorian Gray I was intrigued and fascinated. This book deals with several issues that are as important now as they are today: the way our culture worships beauty and youth, an admiration that boarders on homosexual love, virtues, the differences between men and women, and what art is and what makes it truly art. Dorian Gray is a beautiful young man, who sees a portrait of himself and says "How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young...If only it were the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the portrait to grow old...I would give my soul for that!" The book takes off from there, leading you from a small theater to great parties. While younger readers may find some of the wording as tough as an old gym shoe, anyone older than 13 with an interest in mystery, romance, and how society runs, will find this a pleasurable and haunting read.

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