My first Wilde work and what started me on this insane love affair. It's a great peice of classic lit and I suggest it for anyone interested in classic works or works by Irish writers.
I know it is a classic, but it seemed tedious to me and I never got past the first 20 pages
"...his only novel,Wilde forged a devastating portrait of the effects of evil and debauchery on a young aesthete in late 19th-century England..." back cover
This is one of those works that, as an English major and former literature teacher, I felt I SHOULD have read. The premise also interested me: Dorian Gray's portrait reflects his age and immoral actions, while he stays young and attractive.
I'm not usually a fan of Victorian era literature. (I LOATHE Jane Austen.) The writing style was a bit much for me at times, and I found myself skimming, but overall the plot was interesting enough to keep me reading to the end.
Things I found interesting:
* Oscar Wilde's homosexuality very subtly peaking through in his characters. According to the forward, he toned it down a lot from the original version that was published in a magazine and caused quite a stir.
* The use of opium by the upper class. I knew it existed (i.e. Lewis Carroll), but the opening scene with one character smoking an "opium-laced cigarette" mid-afternoon fascinated me.
* The attitude of the British upper-class towards Americans. I found it hilarious that they seemed to consider Americans to be a completely different race, as if they weren't the descendants of the British and other European settlers. One character remarked that s/he wished America had never been discovered. (Of course, maybe some Brits still feel that way ; )
Excellent read! Much better than the move ;)