Dorian Gray - decadent archetype, anti-hero of Oscar Wilde's only novel, an underground classic which scandalized society upon its publication in 1890. Dorian Gray, the debauched libertine who retains a veneer of eternal youth during decades of increasingly outlandish vice, depravity and corruption, while his portrait ages and rots in an attic. THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY is presented here in its rare original incarnation, the overtly homoerotic Lippincott edition, with an appendix sampling Wilde's later revisions. Also included is a brilliant introduction by Jeremy Reed, detailing the two editions and realigning the book's position in the history of subversive underground fiction. With its outrage elements of homosexuality, drug abuse and supernatural horror, DORIAN GRAY remains Wilde's most extreme creation, whilst also containing many of the mordant epigrams for which he is most renowned. It is a true classic of renegade literature. With a cover illustration by Aubrey Beardsley, this is the only available edition of DORIAN GRAY in its original, uncut form - the Lippincott edition. Solar Nocturnal presents classic texts by key forerunners of modernism.
A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both? After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man's portrait, his subject's frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray's picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent. After he kills a young woman, "as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife," Dorian Gray is surprised to find no difference in his vision or surroundings. "The roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden."
As Hallward tries to make sense of his creation, his epigram-happy friend Lord Henry Wotton encourages Dorian in his sensual quest with any number of Wildean paradoxes, including the delightful "When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy." But despite its many languorous pleasures, The Picture of Dorian Gray is an imperfect work. Compared to the two (voyeuristic) older men, Dorian is a bore, and his search for ever new sensations far less fun than the novel's drawing-room discussions. Even more oddly, the moral message of the novel contradicts many of Wilde's supposed aims, not least "no artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style." Nonetheless, the glamour boy gets his just deserts. And Wilde, defending Dorian Gray, had it both ways: "All excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment."