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The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Since its first publication in 1890, Oscar Wilde's only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, has remained the subject of critical controversy. Acclaimed by some as an instructive moral tale, it has been denounced by others for its implicit immorality. After having his portrait painted,
Dorian Gray is captivated by his own beauty. Tempted by his world-weary friend, decadent friend Lord Henry Wotton, he wished to stay young forever and pledges his very soul to keep his good looks. As Dorian's slide into crime and cruelty progresses, he stays magically youthful, while his beautiful portrait changes, revealing the hideous corruption of moral decay. Set in fin-de-siécle London, the novel traces a path from the studio of painter Basil Howard to the opium dens of the East End. The text of this edition is derived from the Oxford English Texts, which prints acritically established version of the first book edition of 1891. Also included is a new, fuller introduction, which considers the difference between the 1890 and 1891 texts, Wilde's range of sources, significant critical approaches to the novel and its reputation since 1891, full explanatory notes that identify Wilde's sources, and an up-to-date-bibliography.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

ISBN-13: 9780199535989

Media Type: Paperback(Reissue)

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Publication Date: 06-15-2008

Pages: 272

Product Dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.60(d)

Series: Oxford World's Classics Series

Joseph Bristow is editor of the Oxford English Texts edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Poetry and Olive Schreiner's African Farm for OWC. He is the author of The Fin-de-Siécle Poem: English Culture and the 1890s (Ohio UP, 2005).

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Dorian made no answer, but passed listlessly in front of his picture and turned towards it. When he saw it he drew back, and his cheeks flushed for a moment with pleasure. A look of joy came into his eyes, as if he had recognized himself for the first time. He stood there motionless and in wonder, dimly conscious that Hallward was speaking to him, but not catching the meaning of his words. The sense of his own beauty came on him like a revelation. He had never felt it before. Basil Hallwards's compliments has seemed to him to be merely the charming exaggerations of friendship. He had listened to them, laughed at them, forgotten them. They had not influenced his nature. Then had come Lord Henry Wotton with his strange panegyric on youth, his terrible warning of its brevity. That had stirred him at the time, and now, as he stood gazing at the shadow of his own loveliness, the full reality of the description flashed across him. Yes, there would be a day when his face would be wrinkled and wizen, his eyes dim and colourless, the grace of his figure broken and deformed. The scarlet would pass away from his lips, and the gold steal from his hair. The life that was to make his soul would mar his body. He would become dreadful, hideous, and uncouth.

As he thought of it, a sharp pang of pain struck though him like a knife, and made each delicate fibre of his nature quiver. His eyes deepened into amethyst, and across them came a mist of tears. He felt as is a hand of ice had been laid upon his heart.

'Don't you like it?' cried Hallward at last, stung a little by the lad's silence, not understanding what it meant.

'Of course he likes it,' said Lord Henry. 'Who wouldn't like it? It is one of the greatest things in modern art. I will give you anything you like to ask for it. I must have it.'

'It is not my property, Harry.'

'Whose property is it?'

'Dorian's, of course,' answered the painter.

'He's a very lucky fellow.'

'How sad it is!' murmured Dorian Gary, with his eyes still fixed upon his own portrait. 'How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. It will never be older than this particular day of June...If it were only the other way!

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Picture of Dorian Gray"
by .
Copyright © 2003 Oscar Wilde.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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"Simon Prebble perfectly achieves Lord Henry's 'low, languid voice' and sparkling conversation, while avidly expressing the other characters' more torrid emotions." —-AudioFile

Table of Contents

The Picture of Dorian GrayAcknowledgements
Introduction
Chronology
Further Reading
A Note on the Text

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Appendix 1: Selected Contemporary Reviews of The Picture of Dorian Gray

Appendix 2: Introduction to the First Penguin Classics Edition, by Peter Ackroyd

Notes