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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

3.9 (708 )
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4.1 (590 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Lucille Landa 01-10-15 Member Since 2014
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    "A true classic!"

    The words are poetic, and read more like song then verse. There are equal parts of beauty in the writing and darkness. Truly compelling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex 01-07-15
    Alex 01-07-15
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    "A Cynical Classic"

    The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favorite books. This performance was great, hitting the right tones for both Lord Henry and Dorian.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carianti 12-17-14
    Carianti 12-17-14 Member Since 2014

    Born in Detroit, Michigan, I now live in Southern Oregon on a small farm. Lots of furred and feathered friends and even some human types!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Phenomenal writing"
    What made the experience of listening to The Picture of Dorian Gray the most enjoyable?

    I first read this when I was in my early 20's and at that age, the significance and quality of writing didn't impress. Now that I am in my late 60's, I was stunned to find this book so captivating, it was difficult to put it down. Oscar Wilde wrote brilliantly and so captured the withering of Dorian Grays life as well as those experiences that change us. Admiration indeed for such a wonderful writer!


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

    Simon Prebble was the perfect narrator for this piece. His maturity, inflections and capacity to express the varied emotions of the characters was just right. I will be seeking other works by this talented narrator.


    Any additional comments?

    I heartily recommend this book for both the content and the storytelling. Lessons are abundant and despite its 1891 writing, much of what is presented can be compared to life today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Azalea Phoenix, AZ United States 12-15-14
    Azalea Phoenix, AZ United States 12-15-14 Member Since 2014
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    26
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    Story
    "I KNOW I'm supposed to love this book, but . . ."
    What did you like best about The Picture of Dorian Gray? What did you like least?

    I thought the story was dated, very dated. The things that at one time might have made its readers' jaw drop just aren't a big deal anymore.


    Did The Picture of Dorian Gray inspire you to do anything?

    NO


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    blake Fort Lee, NJ, United States 12-13-14
    blake Fort Lee, NJ, United States 12-13-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words But Good Grief"
    Would you listen to The Picture of Dorian Gray again? Why?

    Nothing could induce me to sit (squirm) through this again. The extreme pontificating and holding forth ad nauseum becomes unbearable after awhile.


    What other book might you compare The Picture of Dorian Gray to and why?

    This book is somewhat comparable to Wuthering Heights in that the main characters drain you of any concern or compassion for them because they are determined to be their own worst enemy - all others be damned.


    What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

    Skilled narration that smoothly, artfully captured both the ennui and the high-flown arrogance of the English upper class.


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

    Initially, yes, but 1/3 into the book the pace and plot progression becomes tiresome and uncomfortably dire.


    Any additional comments?

    Despite the painfully forced hedonistic stance and the exhausting extremes of feverish emotions I recommend this book. It eventually succeeds in its moralizing and Wilde's matchless wit and powers of observation are a rare treat. His genius can not be denied.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daisy25 06-28-14
    Daisy25 06-28-14 Member Since 2014
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    5
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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
  •  
    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 03-21-14
    Anh 03-21-14
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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
  •  
    Simone 01-11-14
    Simone 01-11-14 Member Since 2014

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Montreal, Quebec, Canada 10-01-13
    Stephanie Montreal, Quebec, Canada 10-01-13 Member Since 2013
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    "A bit too ponderous"

    Having seen the movie and vaguely recalling the story, I decided to try this daily deal. I was reminded of Robert Greene and his book The 48 Laws of Power because it is mostly full of what I consider to be somewhat misguided and cynical concepts about human nature and the reality of life. In general it's a slow moving plot, often involving long conversations between characters or just drawing out a concept for far too long. It seemed to pick up in the second half. I was drawn into the story and I did want to know what came next and how the story ended as I only remembered it vaguely, hence the 3 stars. However I frequently just couldn't fully stay with the story as I often found my attention wandering.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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