Fromt the Archives: Book 26: "The Picture of Dorian Gray" By Oscar Wilde
Book 26: "The Picture of Dorian Gray" By Oscar Wilde
Title: "The Picture of Dorian Gray" By Oscar Wilde
This is Oscar Wilde's only novel. It was first published in 1890 and later had additions/edits that ultimately added six more chapters. The novel is character driven, primarily by the Lord Harry. His philosophies on life drive the progression of the story, from Dorian melding his soul to the painting to Dorian choosing to live a life of debauchery. In fact, each major plot point of the novel is preceded by a philosophical discussion.
The novel is toted as a gothic horror, however it seems to stay true to the Victorian novel. For instance, the novel is not in first person, but the usual 3rd person narrator. Although there is an element of the supernatural, as far as form, the novel is Victorian.
I was disappointed with the novel overall. I fear that I had built it up in my mind as a great story, but once read it seemed more a place for Wilde to vent his philosophical debates. In fact, I wish there were far more story and far less philosophy. As far as Dorian goes, you just get that he is doing horrible things, not what exactly, simply that they are horrible. The plot was vague when addressing these matters, even considering the time period in which it was written. I was also disappointed that though he is immortal, Dorian does not outlast his lifetime. In fact, he does not even live until his friends grow old before he destroys the painting and therefore destroys himself.
Overall, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" was an interesting novel, but needed more detail regarding the plot and less detail in the philosophical discussions. I found it worth reading, but it does not make my favorites list.