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Friday, November 02, 2007

All right, I finished Dorian Gray.

I should have read something by Poe. When it comes to reading something scary, I prefer his more graphic and straight forward writing in contrast to Oscar Wilde's poetic and winding prose. Oscar Wilde's work is highly quotable and well worth a second reading, with characters saying things like:

He bores me dreadfully, almost as much as he bores her. She is very clever, too clever for a woman. She lacks the idefinable charm of weakness. It is the feet of clay that makes the gold of the image precious. Her feet are very pretty, but they are not feet of clay. White porcelain feet, if you like. They have been through the fire, and what fire does not destroy it hardens. She has had experiences.
--Lord Henry

Sometimes, this quality, became a distraction from the unfolding horror. It almost seemed as if I was reading two differnt novels. Possibly, Wilde intended it that way. (Dorian gets way into split personality behavior before the book is finished.)

The Picture of Dorian Gray is what we would today call a psychological thriller/murder mystery with some paranormal aspects; I wouldn't categorize it as a horror story, which is how it is most often presented. The ghastly aspect of the story comes to us as we walk with Dorian into total corruption. Dorian makes it his life's mission to experience the great expanses of debauchery, or in his terms, pleasure, the world has to offer. He suffers none of the physical consequences of his actions, because he imbued the portrait painted by Basil with his soul, so the picture becomes the visage of a man wrecked by living a life of excess and amorality, not Dorian himself.

I also found the end a bit of a let down. I would have preferred to see him suffer the revelation of his true self others while he remained living.

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