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Picture of Dorian Gray, The (The Classic Collection) (The Classic Collection)

By Oscar Wilde & Michael Page (Narrator)
Our Price $ 28.01  
Retail Value $ 32.95  
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Item Number 377641  
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Item Specifications...

Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 5"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  CD
Release Date   Oct 25, 2005
Publisher   Brilliance Audio on CD Unabridged
ISBN  1597370037  
EAN  9781597370035  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
When The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1891, it evoked a tremendous amount of hostile criticism, in most part due to its immoral content. Oscar Wilde was identified with the "art for art's sake" movement of the nineteenth century which did not subordinate art to ethical instruction. However, this novel is indeed a morality tale about the hazards of egotistical self-indulgence. "If it were I," exclaims Dorian, "who were always to be young and that picture that was to grow old . . . I would give my soul for that." With that spoken, the tale of this young hero of amazing beauty, Dorian Gray, begins. His pact with evil allows his portrait to take on his many sins and degradations while his physical appearance remains youthful. Over the years as he becomes cruel and vicious, even murderous, Dorian's young and perfect body is no longer enough to salvage his deteriorating mind and morality. Will justice and good prevail?

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More About Oscar Wilde & Michael Page

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Poet and playwright Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) remains best known for his comedies of the 1890s, including The Importance of Being Earnest, and for his tragic imprisonment and untimely death.

Oscar Wilde lived in Dublin. Oscar Wilde was born in 1854 and died in 1900.

Oscar Wilde has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Dover Thrift Editions

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
What a SNOOZE!!!!!  Nov 12, 2008
As was the case with quite a few other readers, I had been snookered into believing this was a near-universally lauded classic. Hello? The emperor has no clothes and this book has no redeeming qualities. The writing style was absolutely maddening!

The only reason I read the entire thing was because I purchased the book and felt compelled to get my money's worth (not entirely possible with such a low quality "classic")

After reading it in its entirety, I felt the type of satisfaction one feels after completing a particularly odious chore. Removing my copy from my home will be most satisfying. Bottom line: Boooooooooooooring!
What Does Unbridled Hedonism do the Human Soul?  Oct 19, 2008
Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray is a thought-provoking novel that vacillates between ambling, seemingly directionless conversation and a riveting narrative thread that eventually bubbles up to the surface with the intensity of a volcanic eruption. The Picture of Dorian Gray, though not much more than a century old, has already been deemed a "classic" by literature-lovers, and after reading the book, I can understand its status. Wilde's command of the English language is almost unparalleled in recent literature.

Warning - Spoilers Follow

Here's the gist of the book. Dorian Gray is a young man whose physical appearance is handsome and innocent. An aspiring artist paints a beautiful portrait of Dorian. Dorian wishes that he always look like his youthful appearance in the portrait. The wish comes true. Dorian remains the same - youthful and charming, but the portrait begins to transform itself into the image of his soul.

When Dorian embraces a life of hedonism, he uses his good looks and charm to obtain whatever he desires in life. His insensitivity drives a friend to suicide. The evil desires of his heart eventually cause him to murder a friend in cold blood. Over a period of twenty years, Dorian becomes a monster on the inside (reflected by the portrait of his soul) even as he remains youthful and innocent on the outside.

Oscar Wilde's homosexuality is no secret, and the reader can easily discern certain homosexual overtones in the book (especially at the beginning). Perhaps Wilde's subtle innuendoes of homosexuality have made his works so appealing to lovers of literature who tend to sympathize and approve of homosexual behavior.

Upon reading Dorian Gray, however, I could not help but notice how the lifestyle of hedonism is so implicitly condemned by the narrative's outcome. If Dorian's hedonism includes sexual relationships with men as well as with women (and Wilde does hint at this), then homosexuality comes under the same umbrella as the rest of Dorian's sinful passions. One can hardly characterize The Picture of Dorian Gray as a pro-homosexual book.

Readers of this blog will find the picture of depravity in Dorian Gray to be intriguing. Throughout the story, Dorian, even in his hedonism, acts in a manner that forces the reader to desire justice and redemption. The book's end emphasizes the need for punishment and retribution - pointing at death as the wages of sin.

What does the life of unbridled hedonism look like? What does it do to the soul? What happens to the human being who seeks to fulfill his every passion and desire? How does sin affect us physically? Do we age because we sin? These and more are the questions that Oscar Wilde raises in The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Further reading  Sep 8, 2008
If you want a new slant on this classic novel, read 'The Ripper Code' by Thomas Toughill. This is the book which reveals that Oscar Wilde was blackballed by the Oxford Union.
The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame  Aug 24, 2008
Wilde sees the world more clearly than any writer of fiction in the last century. It is for that reason that his work is so filled with countless paradoxes and contradictions that challenge the mind and titillate the senses. Wilde lived in an infinitely ironic age, when society had grown so influential as to crowd out the individuals that made it up. Today, we have taken for granted this incongruity and so our writers cannot express the kind of irony that Wilde mastered, despite the fact that we all know that something is amiss.

`The Picture of Dorian Gray' is filled with this irony. The plot shows us the ultimate irony of a man giving up his soul for the beauty of youth--the condition that is exalted in the modern age above all else, intellect, truth, justice, life itself. Interspersed are dialogues and epigrams that persist one hundred years later as some of the finest word handling ever recorded. Even a few samples should compel the potential reader:

"The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."

"Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter."

"A man cannot be too careful in his choice for his enemies."

"The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice lasts a little bit longer."

"Men marry because they are tired, women marry because they are curious. Both are disappointed."

"I love acting, it is so much more real than life."

- "I am on the side of the Trojans, they fought for a woman."
- "They were defeated."

The mastery of wit that Wilde displays must be seen in its context. He was a decadent as much as the characters he portrays are. Ultimately, the disillusion that the decadent faces comes through in the story and the reader is left with a very uneasy feeling upon completing `Dorian Gray.' Is life as absurd as it seems? Is there a solution? Or are we stuck with a life of paradox? Perhaps our current period of decadence will show us an alternative. Until it does, we can enjoy the astounding word play offered here.
A  Aug 23, 2008
There isn't much to say about Wilde's masterpiece that hasn't been said already. Filled with deliciously witty, catty wordplay and bon mots from a day where banter was highly valued, Wilde was skillfully adept at scrutinizing society and all of its flaws. The Picture of Dorian Gray is tragically ahead of its time, its philosophies on aestheticism and art are still relevant today - and will most likely always be. There were a few downsides (as I said, very few), including some dense chapters expelling the virtues, of well, non-virtue. Wilde would swiftly make up for these with delightful conversations taken straight out of the parlors of the age in which he lived. While some of them felt contrived, Dorian's slow decay into hedonism is wonderfully depicted, and the haunting last paragraph of the novel will stick with every reader. The theses the author conveys are spellbinding and dead-on, and the descriptions colored with imagery and allusions referencing Shakespeare and mythology are vivid. Wilde makes one question their own limits and passions, and engages the reader into being an active participant in life and reading.

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