Monday, August 31, 2020

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY BY OSCAR WILDE

 

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY BY OSCAR WILDE - The Picture of Dorian Gray, the novel, was first published serially in 1890 in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. In all his body of work--lectures, essays, plays and poems--it is his only novel.  It so offended critics on the basis of low morals and debauchery; Oscar included a preface in the longer 1891 version, defending ‘art for art's sake’. In the second version for book publication, he made exclusions in the most controversial material, including obscuring the homoerotic themes. A painter, infatuated not only with his muse’s beauty, becomes enthralled by his hedonistic vices. If the sitter sells his soul, the picture ages, but he won’t. He pursues a variety of amoral experiences while his portrait, hidden from public view, records every sin. It seems beauty and sensuality are the only pursuits truly worth living for. Wilde was a contemporary of Bram Stoker, they attended Dublin’s Trinity College as classmates. After college, he moved to London and became an ardent proponent of Aestheticism. He split time between London, Paris and America. He released a series of well-received plays internationally. He scaled the heights of society, lauded in fashionable salons for his witty banter. But after a casual accusation from the father of one of his friends, his so-called friends urged Oscar to sue for libel. The trial resulted in making public knowledge of his associations with: blackmailers, male prostitutes, cross-dressers and his visits to homosexual brothels. This set forth a chain of events which would lead to his imprisonment, and eventually, his death. His sentence to a hard labor camp caused him to collapse from fatigue. His eardrum ruptured and he spent 2 months in the infirmary. Upon release, he left London never to return again. Oscar lived out the remainder of his life in exile, poverty and disgrace. Since his death nearly 120 years ago, his public perception has transformed into an icon for artistic expression. Most of all, Oscar’s wit, be it in publications or otherwise, remains effervescent. One-of-a-kind, an original, wholly responsible for devising his persona, and credited for delivery of a unique vision. Never before, never since, but forever... Oscar. 








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