The Picture of Dorian Gray: (A
Modern Library E-Book) by Oscar
Oscar Wilde Knew Something About Human Nature.
A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving
portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both? After Basil
Hallward paints a beautiful, young mans portrait, his subjects frivolous
wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian
Grays picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh
and innocent. After he kills a young woman, as surely as if I had cut her
little throat with a knife, Dorian Gray is surprised to find no difference in his
vision or surroundings. The roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds
sing just as happily in my garden. As Hallward tries to make sense of his
creation, his epigram-happy friend Lord Henry Wotton encourages Dorian
in his sensual quest with any number of Wildean paradoxes, including the
delightful When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good
we are not always happy. But despite its many languorous pleasures, The
Picture of Dorian Gray is an imperfect work. Compared to the two
(voyeuristic) older men, Dorian is a bore, and his search for ever new
sensations far less fun than the novels drawing-room discussions. Even
more oddly, the moral message of the novel contradicts many of Wildes
supposed aims, not least no artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical
sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.
Nonetheless, the glamour boy gets his just deserts. And Wilde, defending
Dorian Gray, had it both ways: All excess, as well as all renunciation,
brings its own punishment.
Personal Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray: (A Modern Library
E-Book) by Oscar Wilde
This novel is one of the best classics available. It is more entertaining for
its controversy value than for anything else. Lord Henry Wotton is
probably the most engaging character in the entire novel, and one gets the
impression he is the mouthpiece of Oscar Wilde himself. For the rest of
this review, it will probably be enough to suggest you read it if you haven't,
and include some quotes from Lord Henry:
There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and
that is not being talked about.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love; it is the faithless
who know love's tragedies.
The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your
soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with
desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.
You are a wonderful creation. You know more than you think you know,
just as you know less than you want to know.
It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true
mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
Young men want to be faithful, and are not; old men want to be faithless,
I always like to know everything about my new friends, and nothing about
my old ones.
She behaves as if she was beautiful. Most American women do. It is the
secret of their charm.
I can sympathize with everything, except suffering.
Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the cave-
man had known how to laugh, History would have been different.
"Can you remember any great error that you committed in your early days,
Duchess?" he asked, looking at her across the table.
"A great many, I fear," she cried. "Then commit them over again," he said
gravely. "To get back one's youth,
one has merely to repeat one's follies."
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and
discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's
Punctuality is the thief of time.
Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They
never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent
the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind
Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both
The people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people.
What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of
custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life
what consistency is to the life of the intellect - simply a confession of
You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had
the courage to commit.
Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will
forgive us everything, even our intellects.
A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.
It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about nowadays saying things
against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true.
Each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved.
To be popular one must be a mediocrity.
It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But it is better to be good than to
A woman will flirt with anybody in the world as long as other people are
Anybody can be good in the country.
To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take
exercise, get up early, or be respectable.
The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its
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