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The Picture of Dorian Gray first editionFirst edition

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

First publication
1890, novella in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine

First book publication
1891

Literature form
Novel

Genres
Literary, fantasy, horror, philosophical fiction

Writing language
English

Author's country
Ireland

Length
Approx. 78,500 words

The Picture of Dorian Gray

THE NOVEL | THE TEXT | THE MOVIES

Notable lines

First line

The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim.

The Preface

The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.

Chapter I

Passages

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

The Preface

"It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful."

Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?

"Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

"She is all the great heroines of the world in one. She is more than an individual. I love her, and I must make her love me. I want to make Romeo jealous. I want the dead lovers of the world to hear our laughter, and grow sad. I want a breath of our passion to stir dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes into pain.."

"I never quarrel with actions. My one quarrel is with words. That is the reason I hate vulgar realism in literature. The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for."

Last line

Lying on the floor was a dead man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. It was not till they had examined the rings that they recognized who it was.

THE NOVEL | THE TEXT | THE MOVIES