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The Picture of Dorian Gray | [Oscar Wilde]

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, the dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged---petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral---while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying and enchanting readers for more than 100 years.
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Audible Editor Reviews

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.

Publisher's Summary

Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, the dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged---petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral---while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying and enchanting readers for more than 100 years. Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not simply a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde's fin-de-siècle world and a manifesto of the creed "Art for Art's Sake."The ever-quotable Wilde, who once delighted London with his scintillating plays, scandalized readers with this, his only novel. Upon publication, Dorian was condemned as dangerous, poisonous, stupid, vulgar, and immoral, and Wilde as a "driveling pedant." The novel, in fact, was used against Wilde at his much-publicized trials for "gross indecency," which led to his imprisonment and exile on the European continent. Even so, The Picture of Dorian Gray firmly established Wilde as one of the great voices of the Aesthetic movement and endures as a classic that is as timeless as its hero.

(P)2008 Tantor

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (522 )
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4.1 (428 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Michael White Bear Lake, Mongolia 10-08-12
    Michael White Bear Lake, Mongolia 10-08-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it"
    What made the experience of listening to The Picture of Dorian Gray the most enjoyable?

    This was a really great audio book. i would recommened it to everyone.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Basil Hallward


    Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MysteryL Canada 01-31-13
    MysteryL Canada 01-31-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Mesmerizing"

    Wonderful narration of a witty classic. It was like watching a train wreck, you can't stop listening.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daisy25 06-28-14
    Daisy25 06-28-14 Member Since 2014
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    3
    3
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    Performance
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    "Very Good!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Great story. Really enjoyed it.


    What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

    The narrator was a good choice for this book. Very easy listen.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Andert St. Louis, MO United States 05-15-14
    Amanda Andert St. Louis, MO United States 05-15-14 Member Since 2011
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    "My new favorite among the classics"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would absolutely recommend this to a friend. Firstly Oscar Wilde is always a good decision. Secondly it's just a great story. So many films have tried to adapt this but until you read the scene where Dorian mentally justifies his involvement in a major tragedy you will never truly understand why this qualifies as a horror story.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

    I liked the performance of Lord Henry. He's an interesting character because you never really get a bead on what his motivations are. Is he being serious when he says horrible things? Is he just goading people? The way he's played you are never really sure if he's being genuine when he encourages Dorian to be a terrible person or if he's running some kind of personal social experiment.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was genuinely horrified when reading the passage where Dorian convinces himself that Sibyl was just dumb and that he didn't really have anything to be sorry about concerning her. Following the thread of his logic is just tragic.


    Any additional comments?

    It's an easy listen as classics go as it's relatively short. It's also interesting to decipher the real motivations of a lot of the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashton Mishima-gun, Japan 05-08-14
    Ashton Mishima-gun, Japan 05-08-14 Member Since 2013
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    "flowers never smelt so"

    I feel it lacks drama. Some of the insights are deep and moving but towards the end it lost me. I'll try again in a few years but for now it's off to new things. Great narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anh WESTMINSTER, CA, United States 03-21-14
    Anh WESTMINSTER, CA, United States 03-21-14 Member Since 2013
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    "A classic."

    Beautiful story. Very good narration.
    A must read or must heard story if you are into classic literature. The novel has rather a simple story line, and most of the author's subjective thinkings/ ideals/ implications are expressed through either Lord henry or Dorian. You'll find yourself fill with questions, wanderings, and thoughts (maybe regrets for Dorian, too).
    The novel is written in old style British English, but the narrator did a very good job in differentiating between characters and pausing/ slowing appropriately in very long monologue.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Poteau, OK, United States 03-17-14
    Jason Poteau, OK, United States 03-17-14 Member Since 2008

    Bi-Vocational Pastor/Draftsman. Full time husband and dad. Audiobooks are a staple in my life because I can read and work...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Simple Enjoyable Sci-Fi..."

    In this novel, you can expect enough science fiction to make it interesting to sci-fi buffs, yet it is not the hyper sci-fi we find in current novels. There is no diving into the 'Why' something super natural has happened, it just did. In modern texts, I would consider some sort of explanation a must in a good sci-fi story, but considering that this text is 100 years old, I seemed to not mind that absence. It really is about the human heart's struggle to deal with one's immorality without going mad. The narrator performed well with a pleasing accent and I could listen comfortably at 2X speed. I would spend a credit on this one. For my favorite read on Audible, check out Ken Grimwood's 'Replay'. Hope this helps someone. Later.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meredith Columbia, MO, United States 03-12-14
    Meredith Columbia, MO, United States 03-12-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Absolutely Incredible"
    If you could sum up The Picture of Dorian Gray in three words, what would they be?

    Artistic, dark, philosophical


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Picture of Dorian Gray?

    I'll never forget the ending, nor the climax. I don't really want to give either away to anyone who hasn't read it.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

    All of it was perfect, in regards to Simon Prebble's performance. Prebble and Jim Dale are my two favorite narrators.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. Though it was too long for me to do so. It only took a few sittings.


    Any additional comments?

    This book has a lot to do with what "sin" or evil is. It also has a lot to do with corruption and the purpose of the conscience. Yes, it is fiction, but it is extremely philosophical. It is a worthwhile read, but not a light one, by any means. This is a book you read when you're in the mood to think and feel deeply. Naturally, the language is beautiful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 01-11-14
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 01-11-14 Member Since 2006

    Join me on GoodReads too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "OK, now I know."

    I read this book because it’s considered to be one of the classics, and the image an aging person withering away on a hidden canvas in an attic has so worked its way into our popular culture that I wanted to read the book that spawned the cliché. It’s the same type of motivation that prompted me to read 1984.

    I really don’t have much to say about the book – I didn’t like it that much, the characters didn’t feel sympathetic and I felt there was too much pontification.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul PITTSBURGH, PA, United States 11-12-13
    Paul PITTSBURGH, PA, United States 11-12-13 Member Since 2011

    Pablo

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This Should be Next In Your Library, Period"
    What made the experience of listening to The Picture of Dorian Gray the most enjoyable?

    The Picture of Dorian Gray is a stunningly beautiful book, among my very favourites. I had not read it for many years when I stumbled upon this performance of it, and it has instantly rocketed to the top of the "Top 10" list in my Audible library.

    This cautionary, "be careful what you wish for" tale contains many of Oscar Wilde's most celebrated lines, including my personal favourite, "There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." Beautiful-but-outrageous dialogue like this brings a lightness and some comedy to this otherwise sad story.

    I'm not sure if I've ever given 5 stars across the board before, but this performance of this wonderful book is surely deserving of it. I can't recommend it highly enough.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

    Prebble gives a near-perfect performance. Each character has a distinctive voice, but the distinctions are subtle and totally believable, unlike some narrators who I think go overboard. His "Basil Hallwood" in particular is beautifully human; every ounce of the characters kindness, and his love for Dorian, comes shining through.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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