Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde's only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, released in 1890ish, was considered highly controversial for its immorality and homoerotic suggestions.  It was even altered before it was released to the public, and yet it still received plenty of criticisms.

I suppose I would have been included in the group of offended critics because I found this title rather uncomfortable to read through, specifically for its feminine male overtones. The interactions among the three main male characters caused a few raised-eyebrow moments.   Frankly, I prefer my male characters to be extremely masculine.  But, it's no secret: that was Wilde's intention.

Having said that, I thought I knew at every turn what was going to transpire, but I was wrong.  So the ending was a surprise, and it was actually a necessary ending for the main character, Dorian Gray. That's all I am going to say.

Out of curiosity, I read other reviews about The Picture of Dorian Gray, and here is a bit of trivia that I found interesting:  In a letter, Wilde said the main characters were reflections of himself: "Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry is what the world thinks me: Dorian is what I would like to be - in other ages, perhaps."

And you just have to know that Lord Henry is one of those despicable characters you could ever meet.

2 comments:

  1. I must say that Lord Henry is one of the most intriguing characters in classics. He is cynical, yet with some wittiness, and sometimes there are truths in what he says. Other than that, it's one of the most 'Gothic' of gothic novels.

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    1. He was definitely cynical! I found myself underlining most of his advice, which was shocking to me.

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