The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Writings (Anglais) Poche – Edition spéciale, 1 mai 2005
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Présentation de l'éditeur
The well-known artist Basil Hallward meets the young Dorian Gray in the stately London home of his aunt, Lady Brandon. Basil becomes immediately infatuated with Dorian, who is cultured, wealthy, and remarkably beautiful. Such beauty, Basil believes, is responsible for a new mode of art, and he decides to paint a portrait of the young man. While finishing the painting, Basil reluctantly introduces Dorian to his friend Lord Henry Wotton, a man known for scandal and exuberance. Wotton inspires Dorian to live life through the senses, to feel beauty in everyday experience. Dorian becomes enthralled by Wotton’s ideas, and more so becomes obsessed with remaining young and beautiful. He expresses a desire to sell his soul and have the portrait of him age, while he, the man, stays eternally young. A tragic story of hedonism and desire, The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde’s only published novel. Other writings include De Profundis and The Ballad of Reading Gaol.
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Biographie de l'auteur
Though he was publishing plays and poems throughout the 1880s, it wasn’t until the late 1880s and early 1890s that his work started to be received positively. In 1895, Oscar Wilde was tried for homosexuality and was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. Tragically, this downfall came at the height of his career, as his plays, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, were playing to full houses in London. He was greatly weakened by the privations of prison life, and moved to Paris after his sentence. Wilde died in a hotel room, either of syphilis or complications from ear surgery, in Paris, on November 30, 1900.
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Son âme se dégrade au fil du roman, ainsi que son portrait peint par son ami l'artiste...
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Dorian Gray is a mere teen when the story begins, the muse of a local gifted artist, who paints Dorian's portrait in hopes of capturing his youth and beauty. Dorian's charm is also appreciated by Lord Henry, a rascally fellow, able to twist phrases and morals with his sly tongue. His winsome ways captivate Dorian, but Dorian soon finds himself pulled in the direction of a beautiful actress as well. These two loves tear Dorian in different directions, resulting in unexpected turns of events that send him down a road of sin and pleasure, though never with the rewards of true happiness. As his actions lead to even more drastic results, he finds himself fearing every shadow and questioning his own sanity.
These events do not occur in a vacuum. With Dorian's sliding moral state, the portrait of his beauty begins reflecting the dark decay in his soul. Even as his own face refuses to age or show corruption, the painting becomes uglier by the day. Dorian is both fascinated and appalled by this. When, at last, he faces the consequences of his own selfish choices, he makes one final decision to try to destroy the evidence.
I laughed aloud at many parts, particularly early in the book, then found the tone growing eerie and black. What a thought-provoking book! And one that kept my attention throughout. This is no glossed-over portrait of Mr. Gray, but a grisly depiction of evil--even when it masquerades in a cloak of civility.
Oscar Wilde joined other writers of his day--H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Joseph Conrad--in wrestling with concepts of the soul and the senses in the light of scientific discoveries. What about the conscience? Where did theology and psychology fit in? What about free will? In the last few pages, Wilde paints his own sobering portrait of a man who has tried to live as though the soul and senses have no effect on each other.
This now ranks as one of my favorite classic novels. The results of Dorian Gray's experiment serve as a mirror for all those who consider themselves holy, heathen, or hypocrite.
Dorian Gray is a young gentleman whose delicate features offer a naivety which intrigues everybody around him.
When he is told that the woes of life will tire him, and thus damage his looks, he prays that a painting of him will suffer said burdens, and in exchange he will maintain the way he looks.
It sounds as if nothing can come from this story, but it is interesting to see a number of everyday things (love and fear, for example) unfold like a horror for this man, as he's subjected to the pain that accompanies these emotions.
Throughout the book, I found it fascinating to see him checking his own painting and seeing his sins reflected in the eyes of the art. It's an excellent way of expressing how every action has a consequence that is everlasting in a man's soul.
It's not a long novel, which makes it all the easier for me to come back to in the future. Which I rarely do but, in this case, I certainly will.
Synthesizing all the reviews, I get the sense that people who *really* like it--the "witty" verbiage, the Faust-lite storyline, and the moral heavy-handedness--like it because it shields them from the knowledge of their own inner emptiness. That sounds harsh; let me explain further. Since everything is stylized, pre-determined, and "fake," there's no danger of self-discovery--no danger of discovering anything true. Oscar Wilde was deeply alienated against his own self (most homosexuals living at that time and in that society were), and so is not capable of feeling honestly, or expressing himself with any sincerity. Human nature (in the wider, not baser, sense) is "reduced"--that's the only word I can think of to describe it. Words are everything; appearances; everything. But words are empty sounds without the meanings attached to them (anyone who knows more than one language knows *that*), and appearances are superficial and deceiving, to trot out that old cliche. Human beings do not exist merely to think up verbal ripostes to personal attacks, and yet, here, this is all they do. Well, that and "sin." But what a "sin" is is never really defined, and Dorian Gray doesn't really "sin" much (he seduces a girl, dumps her, and there's some implied homosexuality---*yawn*).
"Dorian" is a morality tale, like the story of Jesus. It is something to tell children with no imagination, to warn them of the dangers of societal rejection--the dangers of being "different." In a subtle way, it encourages conformity--and it *definitely* encourages repression. It is false to me in so many ways that I can hardly stomach it.