Friday, March 8

Book Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Author: Oscar Wilde
Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Genre:classics, Historical Fiction, Horror, Gothic, Fantasy
Pages: 248
First Published: June 20th, 1890
Where I Got It: my shelf (bought at used book store at Frankenmuth)

"Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, his dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged; petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral; while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying, enchanting, obsessing, even corrupting readers for more than a hundred years.
Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Grayis not only a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde’s fin-de-si├Ęcle world and a manifesto of the creed “Art for Art’s Sake.”
The ever-quotable Wilde, who once delighted London with his scintillating plays, scandalized readers with this, his only novel. Upon publication, Dorian was condemned as dangerous, poisonous, stupid, vulgar, and immoral, and Wilde as a “driveling pedant.” The novel, in fact, was used against Wilde at his much-publicized trials for “gross indecency,” which led to his imprisonment and exile on the European continent. Even so, The Picture of Dorian Gray firmly established Wilde as one of the great voices of the Aesthetic movement, and endures as a classic that is as timeless as its hero."
Took me a while to finish this, but I am finally done. It took me a while, because it was like a sweet, sweet wine and I would take little sips here and there.
I've been wanting to read this for a long time, but I'm odd because I like owning the classics if I am to read it. For some reason I need to take my time with classics when I read them. The only real exception to this are the classics that are small like Of Mice and Men. Plus I had read that one anyways.
Well, this was rather good. Not excellent, but it was good. Oscar Wilde is a fantastic author and I enjoyed the witty and well played out conversations between the characters. There was a lack of action and 95% of the book was just conversations and the thoughts of Dorian Gray. The rest of the 5% was action and etc. Normally this would annoy me, but Oscar Wilde did a wonderful job keeping the book interesting and making the reader want to know more.
I don't understand how this can even be considered a horror novel. Yes, fantasy, but horror? Not one did goosebumps arise on my arms. Yes, I found it interesting and etc, but I was never scared or horrified or even mystified. I sort of felt bad for Dorian Gray, because he sold his soul in a fit of not wanting to grow old. Though he quickly got over it and apologized for his childish tantrum, the "devil" or whatever still bestowed immortality and not feeling bad for his sins. I on fair! I also wish I wouldn't grow old and I wish I could live like there was no tomorrow, but does one of my pictures get "enchanted" and I never age? No. Lame. Poor Dorian. However, that is no excuse for Dorian being a, well, asshole. A huge asshole who really needs a punch in the face. God, how I wanted to punch Dorian myself. *grumbles* Womanizing, party, douche, murder *grumbles and looks away*
The ending was decent. I excepted it, but I expected it in another way. Does that make sense? That's as much as I can give out without ruining the end. I've seen the movie 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' and I excepted something like that. *sighs* But I can see the symbolism behind HOW Oscar Wilde ended it. Also, I was secretly hoping one character (who I will not name in the sack of not creating a spoiler) would get his revenge. *sighs* Again...that was far-fetched and I knew it. Oh well.

In the end, this was a good book. I enjoyed it and I think I should check out Oscar Wilde's other writings. He is very good. Though I don't see or feel the "horror" aspect of the book, I still enjoyed the fantasy and gothicness of it. I expected the ending, even though I wanted it to end differently. Oh well. If you like classics and want to venture out of your normal reading pick this up. I shall stamp this with four stars. It seems to be more like 3.5, but I rounded it up since I don't give out decimals.

Favorite Character(s): James Vane and Basil
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Everyone else. >.> ESPECIALLY Dorian Gray. *grumbles*



Blodeuedd said...

Maybe the book is better then, like it should be

Carole Rae said...

I haven't seen the movie yet, but it probably is. lol

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