The Picture of Dorian Gray, the only novel published by Oscar Wilde, is the second work of Wilde's that I have read this year. As with most of these books, this author and title was recommended by a friend of mine and, again, failed to disappoint.
The plot follows a young, dashing fellow (Dorian Gray) and his relationship with artist Basil Hallward and socialite Lord Henry Wotton. Basil becomes infatuated with Gray as a art subject for his youth and beauty and credits Dorian for inspiring Basil's greatest work of art, a portrait of Gray. Lord Henry introduces Dorian to a hedonistic worldview promoting beauty and the enjoyment of life, saying that it should be enjoyed while available as it is fleeting.
The portrait of Gray shows the young man's incredible beauty and causes himself to become in love with himself and his looks, and he makes the remark how he wish the picture would age rather his true self. As he adopts Lord Henry's life perspective, his innocence and virtue decays through a number of horrific acts. His wish for the painting so happens to come true and serves as a constant reminder his depravity.
Not since Crime and Punishment have I read a book or author that speaks so clearly and accurately of human nature. Thanks to Wilde's clever and witty writing, the book is filled with familiar quotes and one-liners about love, women, art, and the human race. The layout of the story, the themes, natures of the characters, and writing style make it a classic in every way imaginable. Hope you enjoy!
This will most likely be the last post of 2010 and it is unclear if I'll continue into the new year. Thanks so much to those who have read this periodically. Remember Mark Twain: "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over those who don't"!