The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde’s (1854-1900) Gothic tale first appeared in Lippincott’s Magazine in 1890. It was revised and expanded into a novel, which W H Smith rejected as ‘filthy’. Wilde explores the doctrine of aestheticism: devotion to the beautiful. Dorian dedicates his life to decadence and sensuous pleasure; while he remains youthful, his portrait gradually ages and decays, reflecting the depravity of his actions. Some reviewers were repelled, and Wilde’s wife, Constance, lamented, ‘no one will speak to us’. In the Preface the author declared: ‘There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all.’

Creator:
Oscar Wilde
Published:
1890
Forms:
Prose
Genre:
Victorian literature
Literary period:
Victorian

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