Criticism Of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1148 words - 5 pages

Criticism of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

         The novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, written by Oscar Wilde originally appeared in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine in 1890.  It was then published in 1891, in book form, containing six additional chapters with revisions. The first reviews of Dorian Gray were mostly unfavorable.  It was condemned for its speculative treatment  of immoral or at least uncomfortable subjects. A review in the St. James’s Gazette by Samuel Henry Jeyes, journalist and biographer was titled "‘A Study in Puppydom."   Jeyes refers to Wilde’s idle, “effeminate” characters in the book and writes: “The puppies appear to fill up the intervals of talk by plucking daisies and playing with them, and sometimes drinking ‘something with strawberry in it" (Beckson 69).

          An unsigned review in Athenaeum, called the book “unmanly, sickening, vicious (although not exactly what is called ‘improper’), and tedious.” (Beckson  82) Charles Whibley, journalist and writer for the Scots Observer, wrote that "Mr. Oscar Wilde has again been writing stuff that were better unwritten" and went on with "...it is false to human nature-for its hero is a devil; it is false to morality-for it is not made sufficiently clear that the writer does not prefer a course of unnatural iniquity to a life of cleanliness, health, and sanity."  He ends the article by saying ‘...he can write for none but outlawed noblemen and perverted telegraph boys, the sooner he takes to tailoring (or some other decent trade) the better for his own reputation and the public morals" (Beckson 75).

                    Wilde replied to these damaging attacks and told an acquaintance after these first reviews that the story would be "...ultimately recognized as a real work of art with a strong ethical lesson inherent in it"   He, also, wrote to a friend saying that, "I cannot understand how they can treat Dorian Gray as immoral." With rumors of Wilde’s homosexuality beginning to surface, it was not surprising that many of the reviewers used terms such as “perverted”, “effeminate” and "unnatural."  Critics believed that Wilde was representing himself in the novel.  

Wilde’s lifestyle may have caused him to be snubbed in certain social situations.   It maybe that he drew on his own experiences to create the atmosphere of scandal in the last chapters, even though, other than murder, the protagonist’s “sins” are never named and only briefly alluded to.

                    Wilde was obviously upset by the public controversy concerning moral issues that occurred after the appearance
          in Lippincott's.  The reason he added the six additional chapters was to take on more of a conventional Victorian nature
          and to tone down the passages which may have been described as homo-erotic in spirit.

                    The prejudice against Wilde is best demonstrated in the reviews of his previous short stories and prose fiction as
...

Find Another Essay On Criticism of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Influences of Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray

1591 words - 6 pages The Influences of Oscar WildeThroughout his life Oscar Wilde had many strong influences exerted upon him. During his early childhood his mother influenced him and into college some of his professors and certain philosophers left a substantial impression upon him. Into adulthood these influences leaked out in his writing. These influences gave him ample ideas for writing The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde's study of the Hellenistic ideals of

Abstract Aestheticism in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray

2706 words - 11 pages . English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 2011, Vol. 54 Issue 4, p494-522, 29p. (Literary Criticism) Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. A Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Michael Patrick Gillespie. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

560 words - 2 pages futile, he indulges in opium; and, this symbolizes the moment when he is no longer in control of his life and looks for an escape through opium's pleasures. No matter what he did, no matter what he collected, Dorian was forever restless and empty. No amount of matter and materials permanently satisfied him.Just as the materials and matter of this world are finite, the satisfaction they proved are just as fleeting. The pursuit of worldly materials and pleasures leaves one unsatisfied.BibliographyWilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. USA: Borders Classics, 2006

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde

1498 words - 6 pages to look to the inside - into the soul. This is the place where the real beauty and ugliness are hidden.The notion of inner and outer beauty is perfectly presented in the novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde. The story described in this book shows how the external attractiveness influences people's behavior and corrupts the inner beauty. The plot situated in the XIX England perfectly describes the higher class of this period. Shallow

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

1523 words - 6 pages show the real face much better than the mirror can reflect it.1. I consider Oscar Wilde's work The Picture of Dorian Gray to be a great example of how powerful, effective and influential the art can be. In this book it is the painter Basil Hallward, who made a Dorian's portrait so perfect like the reflection of him in the mirror. Later in the book the portrait changed and Dorian found out that it showed something that could never be seen in the

Frankenstein Language Analysis, The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde

683 words - 3 pages . The "thunder sounds," while no storm is actually present, is a motif to let the reader know that the monster is coming. From the storm that incited Victor's original ambition, to the monster's stormy creation, a tempest precedes the monster's arrival. This storm shows the chaos that comes with the monster instead of the fame and success that Victor originally envisioned.SparkNotes Editors. "SparkNote on The Picture of Dorian Gray." SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 1 Feb. 2012.

The Conscience of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray

2871 words - 11 pages The Conscience of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray Much of the criticism regarding The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde has dealt with Dorian Gray’s relation to his own portrait (Raby 392). While some may argue that the portrait represents a reflection of Dorian Gray’s character, this is only a superficial analysis of the novel and Dorian’s character. While Dorian Gray’s true character never changes, it is his

The Picture of Dorian Gray

1686 words - 7 pages Many people influence our lives, shaping the way we act, talk, and even think. People can affect others in many positive ways; however, they can also corrupt the people around them. In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Henry influences Dorian Gray to the point where Dorian loses all respect, dignity, and integrity that he had and eventually leads him to experience his downfall. In William Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago clearly feels no

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

512 words - 2 pages In the book "The picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde I believe that the character Lord Henry Wotton had a dramatic influence over the events in the life of main character, Dorian Gray. When this book was first published it was received with public outrage and resulted in the downfall of Wilde but it has now become one of his most celebrated works. The opening paragraph of the book introduces us to two of the pivotal characters of the book

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1685 words - 7 pages # #Ashley Harris Ms. Wojcok December 10, 2001 The Picture of Dorian Gray In Oscar Wilde'sThe Picture of Dorian Gray the character Dorian changes from a good and innocent person to a cruel and cold-hearted murderer through the influence of people he meets. At the beginning of the book when he doesn't know many people he is good and everyone likes him and adores him, and is even a little bit jealous of him. By the end of the book nobody likes him

The Influence of Lord Henry in The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde

2467 words - 10 pages In analyzing Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, concepts such as influence and the origin of evil in Dorian Gray play an exceptionally valuable role in understanding the motives of the characters. Although some critics argue characters such as Lord Kelso significantly influence Dorian’s corruption, Lord Henry Wotton’s toxic personality undeniably impacts Dorian the most. Throughout the course of the novel, Lord Henry remains the ultimate

Similar Essays

Philosophy And Ideas In Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture Of Dorian Gray’

1854 words - 7 pages Henry's aesthetic lifestyles. This essay's purpose is an interpretation of the philosophy and ideas of Oscar Wilde in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Thus, this essay will briefly introduce the reader with the Aesthetic movement and its reflection in the philosophy of the novel, presenting Wilde's 'New Hedonism' and Homoeroticism. It will also provide information about Oscar Wilde's standpoints of Realism and 'Anti-Victorian morality' and Wilde's

Philosophy And Ideas In Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture Of Dorian Gray’

1854 words - 7 pages Henry's aesthetic lifestyles. This essay's purpose is an interpretation of the philosophy and ideas of Oscar Wilde in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Thus, this essay will briefly introduce the reader with the Aesthetic movement and its reflection in the philosophy of the novel, presenting Wilde's 'New Hedonism' and Homoeroticism. It will also provide information about Oscar Wilde's standpoints of Realism and 'Anti-Victorian morality' and Wilde's

Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1722 words - 7 pages Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray      The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel by Oscar Wilde. The genre of this novel can be classified as a comedy of manners or a gothic novel. The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890 in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. Another version with an additional six chapters was published in 1891. One of the major themes in the novel was the Supremacy of Beauty and Youth. A very attractive man

Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1105 words - 4 pages Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray - What is the author trying to say about life through this book? Explain why you think so. I am not to sure on exactly what the author is trying to say through this book. I think he is telling us to live a full and moral life. Well I don't think he expects us to lead a completely moral life, but because of the picture of Dorian's soul I think he was trying to say lead a good life. He wants us to know