Well Read Company book reviews: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Well Read Company book reviews: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde's only novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," is one of the most important gothic works in history. Combining elements of Gothic horror and decadent French fiction, the book centres on the doctrine of Aestheticism: devotion to hedonism, beauty and art for art's sake. The cost of such beauty, as Dorian Gray goes on to find out, will always catch up with you. 

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" tells the story of a young man, Dorian Gray, whose beauty and youth are captured in a portrait painted by his friend, Basil Hallward. Dorian's encounter with the aristocrat Lord Henry Wotton leads him to embrace a hedonistic worldview, where beauty and pleasure are the ultimate pursuits in life. Desperate to preserve his youth, Dorian makes a deal to sell his soul, so that the portrait, instead of him, will bear the marks of age and decay. As Dorian indulges in a life of moral indulgence, his portrait reflects the ugliness of his actions, while he remains young and beautiful.

“Man is many things, but he is not rational.”

Wilde’s only novel was heavily criticised upon first publication, with critics claiming it was full of scandal and promoting immoral ideas. The book was also used in Wilde’s later infamous trial, where particularly ‘scandalous’ passages were read aloud during cross-examination. The added history and unjust treatment of both Wilde and the novel only add to its importance, as today’s readers can appreciate Wilde in his full literary genius.

“Sin is a thing that writes itself across a man's face. It cannot be concealed.”

Our Dorian Gray accessories celebrate this seminal work, perfect for any fans of Oscar Wilde. The design features a gentleman figure smoking a cigar, whilst the striking quote ‘What are you? To define is to limit’ inscribes the back of the design. They are the perfect accessories to complete a dark academia aesthetic.


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