Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

the picture of dorian gray
oscar wilde
c. 1891
187 pages
completed 12/1/2008

read for: decades challenge, classics challenge, 1% challenge, 100 greatest novels, 1001 books, penguin classics

*may contain spoilers*

This was an interesting book. As far as the story goes, I enjoyed it. There were some chapters that just expanded on the philosophies of Lord Henry that were hard for me to read and enjoy. I believe there was one whole chapter of that nature that I skipped. His philosophies were somewhat interesting at the beginning, but I got bored having to keep hearing about them. The idea of 'good' was beauty, youth, art, and pleasure. The idea of 'evil' was crime, vulgarity, and (worst of all) ennui. If that was all I got out of his philosophies, that was good enough for me to understand the point of the book.

Dorian and Lord Henry's relationship was very puzzling to me. Lord Henry was the one who influenced Dorian with his philosophies and books. Lord Henry was, in my opinion, the one (outside of Dorian) most responsible for the corruption of Dorian's soul; he was the serpent to Dorian's Eve, and yet it was Basil, who did nothing more than idolize Dorian and paint his portrait, who Dorian blamed.

What I found most interesting, and also most aggravating, about this books was some of the...missing information. For example, the old woman at the opium den. Who was she? How did she meet Dorian? How did she know to call him Prince Charming? Probably the most prominent of these bits of missing information was the character of Alan Campbell. What came between him and Dorian? What sin did he commit that Dorian was able to blackmail him for? We never find out.

All in all, an enjoyable story, though not always the most enjoyable read.


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