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About the book
  • Published: 6 March 2003
  • ISBN: 9780141439570
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $12.99

The Picture of Dorian Gray




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 succès 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.

  • Pub date: 6 March 2003
  • ISBN: 9780141439570
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $12.99

About the Author

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin on 16 October 1854. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford. He then lived in London and married Constance Lloyd in 1884. Wilde was a leader of the Aesthetic Movement. He became famous because of the immense success of his plays such as Lady Windemere's Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest. His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was first published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890 but was revised in 1891 after moralistic negative reviews.

After a public scandal involving Wilde's relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, he was sentenced to two years' hard labour in Reading Gaol for 'gross indecency'. His poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol was published anonymously in 1898. Wilde never lived in England again and died at the age of forty-six in Paris on 30 November 1900. He is buried in Père Lachaise cemetery where admirers often leave the lipstick marks of kisses on his tomb.

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