Read & Reviewed: The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Bite Sized Summary:  Story of man’s desire for perennial youth at the cost of his soul. The novel is an exposé of humanity’s odious tendencies when unchecked by nature.

Thoughts: Overrated, but worth a quick read. I was interested by the parallel between Dorian’s character in the book as a reflection of Oscar Wilde’s reflections on his own life. This quote from Oscar Wilde, I thought, embodied Dorian’s character pretty tightly–while also touching on the characters of Basil and Henry.

I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease. I amused myself with being a flaneur, a dandy; a man of fashion. . . . Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in the search for new sensation. What the paradox was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere of passion. Desire, at the end, was malady, or a madness, or both. I grew careless of the lives of others, I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has someday to cry aloud on the house-tops. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace. -Oscar Wilde

Questions: Does the ending of the book mean that Wilde was not a fan of aestheticism? Could it mean that he disapproves of the way he led his own life? I read the revised (popular version) of the book, does it differ much from the first print Wilde intended to be published?

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