The Picture of Dorian Gray

Ever have the feeling that you have read a book before, when you know with absolute certainty you have not?


That is what I experienced when I started reading Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. I knew every bit of this story. Yet I KNOW that I have not read it before now, nor have I seen the movie. Somewhere, sometime, in my 27 years, someone has told me the fable of the beautiful young man whose soul was painted onto a canvas and hidden away in a dark room.


This work is brilliantly written–in fact, I copied the entire Preface into my journal before I even really started reading, as it is full of proverbs about art and knowledge. I also loved the way the dialogues were built. You could feel every breath that the speaker took, every moment he was moved or taken aback. Any awkward pause was purposeful, not because the writer did not how to make a transition. Sometimes dialogue can be clunky or choppy, not so here. The dialogue is often done in long monologues, but I like it that way, it is necessary here.

I will say that while this story is filled with “beauty” and “love,” this is not a happy story. Go forth with caution. This is definitely a fable with a heavy moral. See if you can find it at the end. Aesop could have done no better.


10 thoughts on “The Picture of Dorian Gray

  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favorite novels! I’m glad you enjoyed it! I remember being surprised that I liked the language in this novel. The monologues are fitting and really make you think! It’s such a beautifully tragic story. Not enough people read this book! I think so many are scared by the idea that it’s a ‘classic’, but the story is so relevant and timeless!

    Have you ever read The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde? If you like his writing style in this then I think you’d enjoy his other works.

  2. One of my favorite novels!
    As you said,the book is superbly written,and my favorite lines are to be found in it.I liked the anti-climax at the end,when you think Dorian will be murdered,but end up seeing Sybil’s brother being killed.

    I think the book gains more depth when you compare and see the parallelism between Wilde and Dorian.

  3. Loved this review. I was looking up Oscar Wilde and came across your post. This is the only book that I have read more than once, and I have read it four times and can and will read it again. I named my daughter Dorian as a result… so it is a bit of an obsession I’m afraid. Read Oscar Wilde’s trial transcript if you haven’t; it gives you a different view of the creation of the book and his ties to it personally (as well as his defense of it).

  4. Pingback: When Are You Reading? | As I Lay Reading

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