About the Author:
Perhaps the most famous wit in literature, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1854. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin and, later, Magdalen College, Oxford. Although he married Constance Lloyd in 1884, Wilde met and fell in love with Lord Alfred Douglas in 1891 and was later sentenced to two years in prison for 'acts of gross indecency'. Wilde died in Paris, Fance in 1900.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3 out of 5
The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Wilde's only novel, this book follows the life of the titular character after he offers his soul in payment if he can retain his youth and beauty, with the ravages of time and sin being applied instead to an exact portrait of himself. Freed from the physical consequences of his actions, Gray remorselessly embarks upon a life of debauchery and scandal.
I have to admit to being a little disappointed with this book. I have a great admiration for Wilde as a thinker and, as a fan of 19th Century Gothic literature, I had long wanted to read the author's addition to that genre. Unfortunately for me, it's more of a half-hearted attempt at writing a Gothic horror story, with Wilde failing to really capture the sense of dark romance of the genre and instead using his characters to explore the clashes between morality and pleasure.
I'm not saying it's a bad book, of course. In fact, it's a beautifully written book whose characters wear their passions upon their sleeves, often flying in the face of what was considered decent at the time of its writing. The heartfelt depth to Basil Hallward's description of his adoration of Dorian Gray at the beginning is so plainly and beautifully based on the author's own feelings that this novel was actually used as evidence against Wilde in his trial for 'gross indecency'.
No, what disappointed me about this book was that the sinister connotations of the painting are never explored as much as I would have liked and Wilde misses the opportunity to expand upon the themes seen previously in Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Telltale Heart' or Robert Louis Stevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde'.
3 out of 5