Read and/or listen to the full text A Picture of Dorian Gray at ESL-Bits
Oscar Wilde’s only novel takes a witty, philosophical, and harrowing look at our obsession with youth and the price we pay for it.
Dorian Gray is having his picture painted by Basil Hallward, who is charmed by his looks. But when Sir Henry Wotton visits and seduces Dorian into the worship of youthful beauty with an intoxicating speech, Dorian makes a wish he will live to regret: that all the marks of age will now be reflected in the portrait rather than on Dorian’s own face. His wish comes true. In exchange for this Dorian gives up his soul.
The stage is now set for a masterful tale about appearance, reality, art, life, truth, fiction and the burden of conscience (quote from ESL-Bits).
From the Preface
“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.”
“Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.”
“Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art.”
“Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art”
“Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril”
“It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors ”
– Oscar Wilde