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Publisher's Summary

"If it were I who were to be always young and the picture to grow old, I would give my soul for it." So says Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde's brilliant creation who sells his soul for youth and beauty.
© 1994, BBC Audiobooks Ltd

Critic Reviews

"The Picture of Dorian Gray is now universally regarded as a major Victorian novel, and has been adapted for the stage, film, and television more than a dozen times, with no end in sight." (David J. Skal, Horror: Another 100 Best Books)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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A Beautiful Reading of a Beautiful Book

As one of my favorites,I had read this book multiple times. When I discovered this version narrated by Edward Petherbridge, I bought it immediately. I love the story even more now. His voice is perfect, clear and easy to follow. Characterizations are enjoyable, never overdone. This book is a permanent resident of my mp3. When I can't sleep, I let Mr Petherbridge soothe my brain with his lovely voice.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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"A dream of form in days of thought"

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" continues to fascinate modern readers. It has given us the image of the portrait that holds all the ill-judged actions and age of one's life. It contains a preface that says all one ever needs to know about the arts. The text is a source for many of Wilde's wittiest and most frequently quoted epigrams. But the real enchantment lies in the originality of the story.

Dorian Gray is obviously the center of interest, but I always found the characters of Basil Hallward and Henry Wotton more interesting. It is through these two that Dorian finds out who he really is. At times, one suspects there is no real Dorian, only the reflection and influence of others upon him.

It is hard not to pity the artist of the fatal portrait. Hallward feared his own destruction from his first meeting with Dorian Gray: "I knew I had come face to face with someone whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature. Something seemed to tell me that I was on the verge of a terrible crisis in my life. I had a strange feeling that Fate had in store for me exquisite joys and exquisite sorrows..." Indeed it had.

Hallward's character is disdained by many writing literary criticism of this novel, but it is he who has a depth and wisdom the others lack. For one thing, he knows all too well the truth of his statement: "We shall all suffer for what the gods have given us, suffer terribly."

I also "hate to love" Henry Wotton, who is so deliciously evil. Or at least deliciously amoral. Affecting a world-weary elegance, and as free as only the very rich can be, he is from the beginning, the man who reveals to Dorian who he really is.

Descriptions are breathtaking, revealing layer upon layer of sensual details, evocative, intense, and rich: "It seemed to him that in exquisite raiment, and to the delicate sound of flutes, the sins of the world were passing before him." The author's understanding of the theatre assures the story unfolds with perfect timing, and the dialogue is pitch-perfect throughout.

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" is one of my favorite books in the English language. It is even more delightful to hear it read aloud. Edward Petherbridge's voice and manner is as ideally suited to the book as any I could imagine. Of the many good narrations I have heard, his is without a doubt the best.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • albert
  • oakdale, mn, United States
  • 11-30-11

Great Book!

This book has a terrific plot, it is quite surprising at times, and very entertaining performance. Highly recommended!

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Leave no path untaken...but face the consequences

Frank Zappa says:
“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your s--t, then you deserve it.”
But the opposite of this is also true. Doian Gray lives an exciting an pleasurable life, but understands much too late that there is a difference between pleasure and happiness.
I was surprised to notice the precision of this old sketch by Monty Pyton on how Oscar Wilde writes)


There are also couple of movief with the same name that portraits the book quite OK.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Booklover
  • 03-06-14

Edward Petherbridge's reading makes it special!

What made the experience of listening to The Picture of Dorian Gray the most enjoyable?

Edward Petherbridge's reading is simply wonderful!He moves from light touch humour to heart-rending pathos with stunning skill.The story is a little long winded in parts but Mr Petherbridge never fails to entertain and transfix.

Which character – as performed by Edward Petherbridge – was your favourite?

The development of the characters is quite clunky, for modern tastes, but you are held in Mr Petherbridge's grasp throughout.

Any additional comments?

Buy it - Listen to it and If you can turn it off then you are not a human being :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 01-12-09

Recommended

A fine reading of Wilde's morality, excellently narrated. Characters are well defined and it is always obvious who is who. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Irish Rover
  • 04-20-15

Enjoyable to the end

Well read, well paced and beautifully balanced. Thank you.
I've wanted to explore this book for years and understand the context and thinking of Wilde. This has helped greatly.

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  • Sharon Frater
  • 11-11-14

Classic

Classic Oscar Wilde book..reading it now though it was all very old fashioned and so politically incorrect in places it made me laugh. Memories of a bygone era.