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The Picture of Dorian Gray

Narrated by: Russell Tovey
Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (376 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible

The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890 in the July edition of the Lippincott Magazine. Now, this special anniversary edition marks 50 years since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act was passed in England. 25p from every copy downloaded over the next 12 months will be donated to Stonewall, Britain’s leading LGBT charity, to help the organisation further its work in securing full equality for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people everywhere.

A damning portrayal of Victorian society, Wilde used his narrative to chastise his contemporaries for their superfluous and hypocritical values. Having also interspersed homoerotic scenes within the story, The Picture of Dorian Gray was unsurprisingly condemned for its 'indecency', forcing Wilde to publish a second, censored edition in 1891. Wilde defended his vision to the last, whilst simultaneously challenging assumptions about his private life and sexuality. He credited his inspiration for the text to the classic Faustian suggestion that given the chance, a man would undoubtedly sell his soul in exchange for eternal youth.

When the protagonist, Dorian Gray, meets with the audacious Lord Henry Wotton, he is encouraged to indulge in his most vain and hedonistic of ambitions, thereby testing the boundaries of the law and living a life of unpunished anarchy. As handsome as he is charming, Dorian beguiles those around him, in particular, the artist Basil Hallward. Hopelessly enamoured by the young socialite, Basil sets out to capture his likeness in a full-length portrait. It is the finished product which ultimately engenders Dorian the ultimate weapon; control over the passing of time.

Modern audiences now recognise The Picture of Dorian Gray as an enticing gothic masterpiece and highly astute cautionary tale. Experience the unique and fractured world created by Oscar Wilde in this new audiobook adaptation, made in collaboration with Stonewall and narrated by award-winning actor, Russell Tovey.

Narrator Biography

Russell Tovey is a TV, film and stage actor, known for The History Boys, Grabbers, Angels in America, The Night Manager, Pride, Quantico and The Pass. He has narrated many audiobooks throughout his career including, Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty and Mark Michalowski's Being Human.

In collaboration with Stonewall, who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, Tovey brings us this new adaption of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. Having starred in The Old Vic's production of Queers and The National Theatre's Angels in America, Russell is a keen advocate of LGBT rights and, bringing years of stage training experience, the perfect narrator for this epic tale of masculine beauty.

Public Domain (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What members say

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The Censored Version W/ Good Narration

I thought for certain that this would not be the censored (as in anti-gay censoring) version of the novel but to my complete and utter disappointment, it is.

The narration is great though and atleast the company that produced this recording is not anti-queer. I just figured that since this company is supporting queer rights, they would use the completely uncensored version of the novel that was unearthed in 2011.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Russell Tovey is a delight to listen to.

If ever a classic could be read by Russell Tovey I would listen intently. His voice makes the words come off the page and the story cone to life. Oscar Wilde never sounded so good.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Classic Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde performed his usual verbal gymnastics to great effect in this oldie but goodie creep fest of a story about a world that long ago ceased to exist. His clever use of language is, of course, the highlight of the book and makes the macabre ending all the more interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Performance

What I Liked: This book has some amazing lines that are so artfully put together that they could be prose. I initially considered quoting some choice lines but there were just too many to remember all at once. Naturally a lot of these lines aligned with the different philosophies the various characters claimed to be their driving motivations or their key principles in life. And as all sides are so beautifully represented, it's really up to the reader to decide where to go with all this.

The performance by Russell Tovey was more delightful that I expected as he did a great job of trying to give distinct manners of speech to each of the characters. One of the more distinct voices naturally had to belong to Lord Henry and his involvement in any scene proved to be something to look forward to. I didn't realize he was this creative with voices such that I never had a problem distinguishing the characters from one another.

What Could Have Been Better: As much as most of us remember Dorian Gray for his immortality, its presentation in this book was actually a lot more subtle than I had expected. There was the exclamation about wanting to live forever but it almost felt like a joke or something silly you'd say between friends. It wasn't until much later when Dorian was telling Basil his story that things really hit home.

Dorian is actually a somewhat boring character once he goes on his journey of indulgent sensualism, We don't necessarily go into detail in terms of what he does but more how people react to his lifestyle at different points of his life. So we just have a lot of people mentioning how bad he has become but we don't necessarily know this apart from maybe the direct antagonist represented by James Vane much later in the story. But even then it's not quite a condemnation of his actions but more an act of revenge for one person who was more of an incidental victim of his new outlook on life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderfully Narrated

Russell Tobey narrated beautifully. I will definitely find another narration of his to listen to next!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An equally horrific and inspiring story

While everyone may not see it as "inspiring", I believe it shows the motivation for living life to the fullest in rewarding ways through its demonstration of the ruin associated with the alterior. Easy to understand and full of complex and apparent metaphors. One of my new favorite books.

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Hedonism is bad, mmkay?

The story can wander into tangents once in a while, but still serves as a warning about a hedonistic lifestyle at the cost of one's morals. The main attraction of this reading, though, is the narrator's smooth, silky tones, often reading the book like a love letter. A delight to listen to, even when it mentions gruesome murder.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

I only read this book because we were just in Dublin on vacation. This should be taught in ethics and morality classes. I enjoyed the naration.

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Great Narration

There were many narrators to choose from for this classic story. I sampled all the versions. This narrator read in a tempo just a bit slower than the others. His expressive and languid style provided a great listening experience.

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Interesting Read

As one of the great American Read 100 books, The Picture of Dorian Gray lived up to my expectation as a result of the list. The story leaves you understanding the depth of mental disorders, crime and misfortune.

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  • Ffion
  • 03-10-19

just absolutely amazing

I loved it so much, and the narrator added such a lovely magic to it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Stian
  • 02-15-19

Voices

The narrator usually makes a wonderful job of differentiating between the characters, though some of the nuances might be hard to discern in the earlier chapters.

Other than that the performance is very good. It is quite a bit more languid than some of the other versions, which really suits the novel rather well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • LC
  • 06-16-19

A great reading of this classic

The reading of this takes you right into the story. The story itself is entertaining but also gives a lot to think about in terms of ways of living life, good and evil, conscience and freedom

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  • jason campbell
  • 06-08-19

A good, solid, audible version

The story is pretty well known, even if you haven't read the book. The narrator really adds a sense of necessary seediness to the style, you feel Dorian's corruption. I tend to rate audio books on how likely I am to listen to them again, despite the story being well know this version stands up to repeated 'listens'.

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  • Sir Bazile
  • 01-29-19

not what I expected.

To be fair I didn't really know what to expect, I did expect it to be over more years than it actually was. The League of Gentlemen movie may have coloured my perceptions I fear

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  • Andrew
  • 01-20-19

A fantastic performance of a classic book

The story and writing itself was not my cup of tea really, Oscar Wilde has a very philospohical way of telling a story and meanders around elements of love and beauty. Although that is taking nothing from Russell Toveys performance which was excellent and brings life to a lot of the characters.

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  • P
  • 11-25-18

Dorian

An enchanting work. A fairly tale. This well known work should be read, but lacks a little bit of much needed rhythm on this audio version