After seeing a portrait of himself, Dorian Gray becomes more and more vain as he realizes that he will never be as beautiful as the day he got the portrait done.
Why this book?: AP Literature! We have to choose a book for every quarter, and this was my second quarter choice! My first was The Color Purple!
That . . . was wild. Which is a little ironic, considering the authors name is Oscar Wilde, but still. I wasn’t expecting much when I started this, only that it should be vaguely gay and it was gothic, of which I tend to enjoy. I loved Frankenstein, and enjoyed Dracula, and don’t even get me started on Edgar Allen Poe. So, I went into Dorian Gray ready to get some more of that classic gothic feeling that I love.
I was not expecting it to be so chaotic. Or philosophical. Or as interesting as it was. It brought a lot of questions to mind, but it also made me want to take a bottle of tylenol for my migraine. It’s one of those books where you need to read a chapter and think about it for a few hours before continuing on with the rest.
Dorian Gray himself was an interesting character. His character changes are the opposite of development–his degradation throughout the novel was one that I watched with wide-eyed horror, mainly because you don’t expect him to go so far–but he does. The other characters were interesting, some infuriating, but Lord Henry was another specimen all-together, compared to Dorian.
The writing was typical for a gothic novel, and the atmosphere was gothic as well. If you don’t read that much gothic, think dark and angsty, and you’ll be nearly there.
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
I was shocked throughout the entire novel. I listened to it as an audiobook, and my mom kept asking me what I was laughing about because to her, I was just sitting on my bed playing on my phone. Dorian Gray is one of those books that is so hard to describe, that I just have to tell you to read it for yourself.
Would I Recommend?
I love most gothic novels, so yes. The only problem is that, with older books, there are a lot of insensitive remarks. Ableism and sexism, to be specific.
Published: June 20, 1890
Page Count: 253
Synopsis: via Goodreads
‘The horror, whatever it was, had not yet entirely spoiled that marvellous beauty’
Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. The Picture of Dorian Gray was a succès de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins, and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895.
4 thoughts on “Review #141 // The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde”
Wonderfully written review! I’ve been meaning to get my hands on this book for years and start it, as I’ve heard so many fascinating things about it, but can somehow never muster up enough motivation. Classics often takes a lot out of me, lol.
Thank you!! Before I read this, I had been planning on reading it for about a year or two. And same, I’m dreading the next semester of my class, because we have to read so many more classics and I just don’t have the energy for them.
First: I love that cover! Mine is a little more…classic and this one is definitely more gorgeous.
Second: I’ve been reading this post with a smile on my face because your reaction was almost identical to mine when I first read it. It’s definitely wild(e) and leaves you thinking. And I’ll tell you more: every re-reading gives you new questions. For example I was a teenager (like 16 or 17) when I first read it, and at 22 it was different, and I’m sure now at 28 if I read it there will be something new.
I recommend reading some of his plays, they’re hilarious (with old-timey-problematics) and although not so much they make you think a lot too 🙂
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