Dorian Gray

My Penguin paperback edition published in 1957
My Penguin paperback edition published in 1957


Oscar Wilde 

The Picture of Dorian Gray 


We started off the New Year with me reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, one of my all-time favorite books out loud to Ralf in the evenings. It’s taken awhile to get through it, because he’s been out hunting wild boars quite often. (It just occurred to me what a sharp contrast these two activities are!) 


What is it about Dorian Gray that fascinates everyone so much?


Is it the dream of youth and beauty he is able to maintain for years? Or do we all carry some secret wish within us to be able to commit sins and crimes without repercussions – at least for a time? Or is it merely a kind of voyeuristic pleasure, reading about Dorian Gray’s transformation from an innocent lad to a full-blown narcissist who has no regard for anyone but himself? 


Part of the charm certainly comes from Oscar Wilde’s style. The novel feels so opulent, perhaps due to the unbridled luxury of the characters’ lifestyles. (Although Wilde does ramble on about the jewels and the tapestries, doesn’t he?) And of course it comes to life through the character of Lord Henry, with his sharp wit and cynical manner which would liven up any dinner party, even today. 


Oscar Wilde is also my favorite source of quotes (with Dorothy Parker coming in a close second). There’s even a quotation about quotations from him: 

Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit. (Oscar Wilde) 


So…does anyone know of a good portrait painter in the Hamburg area?

(I’m kidding – I realize I would’ve had to have this done about twenty years ago! :-D)