The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Book rating: 05 Paperback Penguin Classics

By (author) Oscar Wilde, Edited by Robert Mighall, Introduction by Robert Mighall


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  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 20mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 4 February 2003
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0141439572
  • ISBN 13: 9780141439570
  • Illustrations note: chronology, further reading, notes
  • Sales rank: 6,931

Product description

Oscar Wilde's tale of a Faustian pact in Victorian England, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is a both a slow-burning Gothic horror and a brilliant philosophical investigation of youth, beauty and desire. This "Penguin Classics" edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Robert Mighall. 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 succes 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. It has lost none of its power to fascinate and disturb. This definitive edition includes a selection of contemporary reviews condemning the novels immorality, and the introduction to the first "Penguin Classics" edition by Peter Ackroyd. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), son of an eminent eye-surgeon and a nationalist poet, was educated in Dublin and Oxford and became the leading exponent of the new Aesthetic Movement. His work, including short fiction such "The Happy Price" (1888), his novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1891), gradually won him a reputation, which was cemented by his phenomenally successful plays, including "A Woman of No Importance" (1893), "An Ideal Husband" (1895) and "The Importance of Being Earnest" (1895). Imprisoned for homosexual acts, he died after his release, in exile in Paris. If you enjoyed "The Picture of Dorian Gray", you might like Joris-Karl Huysmans' "Against Nature" ("A Rebours") Wilde's real-life inspiration for the novel that slowly corrupts "Dorian Gray", also available in "Penguin Classics".

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Author information

Born in Ireland, Wilde (1854-1900) was educated in Dublin and Oxford and became the leading exponent of aestheticism. His work includes plays, a novel, poetry and criticism. Imprisoned for homosexual acts, he died after his release in exile in Paris. Robert Mighall has written on Gothic fiction and is the editor of Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for Penguin Classics. Peter Ackroyd is a best-selling writer whose recent work includes biographies on Dickens and Blake.

Customer reviews

By Ruskin Black 29 Jan 2014 5

I thought that this book was a brilliant classic & after reading it you can see why it is a classic. Its not to hard to read the characters are interesting and its a real page turner. The only issue was that there was one rather dry chapter in the book that was a bit force read towards the end but that was it. Definitely worth the read.

Back cover copy

Dorian Gray has just had his portrait painted. It is a perfect likeness of the quite extraordinary beautiful young man, and it prompts him to make a mad wish for eternal youth. In the years to come, he devotes his public life to and aestheticism-and his private one to decadence and debauchery.

Table of contents

The Picture of Dorian GrayAcknowledgements Introduction Chronology Further Reading A Note on the Text The Picture of Dorian Gray Appendix 1: Selected Contemporary Reviews of The Picture of Dorian Gray Appendix 2: Introduction to the First Penguin Classics Edition, by Peter Ackroyd Notes