Published in 1891, The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde’s gripping philosophical novel which tells the story of a fashionable young man who receives a beautiful painted portrait of himself from his good friend Basil Hallward. During this same evening, Dorian is introduced to Lord Henry who impresses him with his discussion on the ideal of youthfulness and hedonism: “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for things it has forbidden itself.”
The result: Wild’s devastating portrait of the effects of evil and debauchery on this young 19th century English aesthete. As Dorian sinks into a life of crime and gross sensuality, his body retains perfect youth and vigor while his portrait slowly evolves to reflect his true self, a record which he must keep hidden from the world.
Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a truly impressive example of Gothic horror of an Faustian flavor, supremely timeless and relevant to any era.
Review by Michele P.