Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published: 1891
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9780007351053
Genre: Classics

Start Date: July 6, 2011
Finished: July 10, 2011 (5 days)

Where Found: Book Depot
Why Read: On my TBR list; I also loved Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest

Read For:  Back to the Classics Challenge (6/8)

Summary: In a high society London town, a young, narcissistic man obsessed with youth and influenced by his peers becomes enamoured with materialism, beauty, and desire as his painted portrait ages and he remains young in appearance and demeanor.


First of all, how smokin' is that cover?!  Dorian Gray has a Johnny Depp look going on :D

Having read The Importance of Being Earnest for a 19th century lit course several years ago and absolutely loving it, I have been sadly ignoring Oscar Wilde since then.  The reason probably is based on the fact that Wilde only wrote one novel (this one) and the rest of his writing career is made up of short stories and plays.  *Sigh*  Not to knock those genres (there is always a time & place for them) but it's sad that a naturalized writer like Wilde only wrote a single novel and so many other writers had the fortune of churning out several classics in a single career.  Perhaps this is also part of the reason why The Picture of Dorian Gray is so well-regarded.
The story is a moralistic fairy tale for adults set in stuffy, social-butterfly laden England where Henry, a pleasant but often dryly cynical royal, and his compadre, Basil, a painter whose personality is not as charming as his art, encounter the latest man to sit for a portrait: Dorian Gray.  Everyone is immediately drawn to his youthful naivety, his wandering nature, his little-boy-lost lack of purpose, and most strikingly, his handsomeness.  Brewing inside Dorian is a deep resentment of a future in which his looks will fade and he will have very little left to show for himself.  Hence, the moral dilemma of the story begins as Dorian loses control of his emotional faculties while retaining his youthful looks and a dangerous psychopathic mentality.

Wilde's writing, like in Earnest, has a rich vocabulary, witty style, and a dry, satirical slant on British society, but remains remarkably accessible amongst 19th century classics, keeping a modern sensibility that appeals equally to 21st century readers.  While sometimes meandering, especially in a multi-page description of Dorian's acquired wealth of jewels and tapestries, The Picture of Dorian Gray is addictive, enjoyable, and by far one of the best classics I've read in recent years.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend


  1. Yes, the cover! This has been on my TBR shelf forever . . . I think it's time I moved it up.

  2. Ooh, I like that cover! I see a cross between Johnny Depp and brooding Josh Hartnett or Ethan Hawke somehow. Either way, I'm jealous because I read this as an ebook from Google = no cool cover. I really liked this too! You're doing great on the challenge!

  3. This is one of my favorites. The rest of Wilde's work tends to be so light and funny, this one packs a serious moral punch. It's such a great book!

  4. I've heard a lot of people say this is are really good "classic." I recently read Earnest, and I started this once -- someone else's book when I had some down time -- never got back to it. Now I need to!

  5. I have been wanting to read this one. I don't know what keeps me from doing so.

  6. Trish~ I highly recommend you do :)

    Sarah~ Thanks, I've been boosting my reading for Back to the Classics lately as I was behind on it for the longest time.

    Melissa~ Glad to hear it :) While Earnest was much funnier, I think Dorian had deeper meaning.

    Annette~ Hope you will! What did you think of Earnest? I can't remember if you reviewed it or not.

    Jillian~ I think you'll really like it. It's full of rich prose and I love how accessible a classic it is.

  7. This story simply creeped me out. It was so dark from beginning to end, and the end was a shocker. Wilde writes it so brilliantly!