Oscar Wilde’s classic endures with its gems of astute observation and cynical wit. The eerie story follows a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty in the form of a supernatural portrait. Life's mysterious paradoxes are laced throughout Lord Henry's brilliant aphorisms. Gray is urged by Henry to "love the wonderful life that is in you." The novel's qualities are mired in decadence, "art for art's sake," the new hedonism of the Victorian-era upper class, and societal moral corruption. Simon Prebble perfectly achieves Lord Henry's "low, languid voice" and sparkling conversation, while avidly expressing the other characters' more torrid emotions. Prebble brings the fable's gothic horror to life, but the more youthful characters lack believable intonation.
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890 as a short novel in a magazine. What seems rather tame in the 21st century caused a great furor in the 19th, and was viewed as immoral, wicked and vile. Dorian Gray is a startlingly beautiful young man who has posed for a life-sized portrait of himself by a prominent artist, Basil Hallworth. Just as Basil is adding the finishing touches to the portrait, his friend Sir Henry arrives and meets the impressionable young Gray. Sir Henry is an influential member of society who espouses (though probably does not follow) the hedonistic philosophy -- the only things worthwhile in life are beauty and the fulfillment of the senses.
His influence causes Gray to regret that his beauty will fade over time while the portrait will stay forever young and beautiful, and he expresses the desire that the portrait should age while he stays forever young. He "would give anything" to have that happen. At the time, he does not realize that that statement has formed a bargain. Under Lord Henry's influence and encouragement, Gray explores the world of the senses, becoming more and more morally depraved over time, but his beauty never fades. Every wicked or depraved act affects the portrait, not him.
This is a philosophical horror story, beautifully written by a master of the English language. Wilde's well-known talent for creating wickedly funny turns of phrase is used in this novel particularly well in creating the conversation of Lord Henry -- light, cynical, insincere, ironic, and quite pointedly intended for the character's own amusement in manipulating his listeners. Simon Prebble does a superb job of narrating, especially the cynical viewpoint, voice and character of Lord Henry.
I'm so glad that Audible made this book one of its Daily Deals: I doubt that I would have picked it up otherwise. And the experience was so much better than any movie that has been made of the story, Well worth even the full price!
Simon Prebble's narration is perfect. He gave life to all the characters in a way that you actually feel you are in the room with Dorian Gray. Started and could not let down and finished in a couple of days. i reccomend the book to anyone who likes to listen to a great story and have an amazing narration experience.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
Yes, because it was great to listen to while working around the house. I probably wouldn't have taken the time to read the book.
Sybil Vane, the beautiful actress who falls in love with Dorian Gray. I felt sorry for her and she was the most human of all the other characters. More easy to identify with, in stead of the rich, vain people that were in this novel.
I don't remember, he was a good narrator for this book. He did make Dorian Gray a very irritating person, but then he was irritating.
Take a look at me!
Great story about vanity and evil. Some wonderful Wilde lines that made me chuckle.
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
Oscar Wild's only novel is full of murder and mayhem in the life of a self absorbed socialite. It tells the Faustian story of the downfall of Dorian Gray due to his deal with the devil tied up in a painting that captures his aging and moral decay and keeps him young. Very interesting twists.
I have recommended, and will keep recommending, this book/ audio book to anyone and everyone. Lord Henry shows both the impractical and the practical side of a wicked philosophy, while Basil shows the craving for simple, naive, or innocent personalities among those of us who have come into the knowledge of sin and yet resist temptation. Dorian Gray, and the changes he faced throughout this novel, represent the transition from innocence to adulthood and how simple mistakes change us forever. In this hauntingly beautiful novel, Oscar Wilde depicts both this philosophy, and his wit without overpowering the underlying moral takeaway in what has to be one of the greatest novels of all time.
I would not recommend this for Militant (i.e. unwilling to learn) Christians, Atheists, or other firm believers in something absolute. This is a novel for those willing to learn, for in learning, you are re-instituting your very belief system.
This was a really great audio book. i would recommened it to everyone.
First, I would like to commend Simon Prebble's performance. His reading intoned just the right amount of the intended character trait for each individual. The story is a classic study of progression from innocence to pathological madness with the macabre twist. I read mostly modern novels, and it is sometimes tedious to me, as a modern reader, to maintain a high level of interest as Oscar Wilde forces me to endure the painfully boring discourse among guests at an upper class 19th century dinner party. Like the worst Seinfeld episode ever, these scenes are literally about nothing whatsoever other than demonstrating the dreariness of en everlasting life among these boring snobs. But, that was the literary style, and without using 300 words where 10 would have sufficed, The Picture of Dorian Gray would have been merely a superb short story.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
In this dark and tragic commentary, Oscar Wilde spares no liberties in discussing morality, religion, society, and the depths of the human condition. This is a book in which beauty seems to be considered as an end in itself — except that Dorian’s great love of beauty ought to have induced in him such a revulsion at the growing ugliness of his character.
Dorian Gray is beauty in human form. His friend Basil Hallward, a painter, sees Dorian's beauty and is driven to portray it on canvas. Per Dorian's wish, he will remain beautiful, and Basil's portrait will bear the ravages of his soul. Basil's homoerotic fascination with Dorian, and its expression in his portrait of Dorian, will unwittingly lead to tragedy.
Overall: This is a deep novel, and requires some thinking about the lessons and messages throughout the writing. It's "a book that has never finished saying what it has to say."
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