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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Picture of Dorian Gray: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 2

Picture of Dorian Gray: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 2

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As featured on PBS’s The Great American Read

This Norton Critical Edition is the only edition available that includes both the 1890 Lippincott’s and the 1891 book versions of The Picture of Dorian Gray, allowing students to compare the two published versions with the editorial guidance of Michael Patrick Gillespie.

“Backgrounds” and “Reviews and Reactions” allow readers to gauge the novel’s sensational reception and to consider the heated public debate over art and morality that the novel engendered.

“Criticism” includes seven new essays on the novel that reflect key changes in interpretive theory in recent years and reveal the broad range of interpretive perspectives on Wilde and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Michael Patrick Gillespie, Simon Joyce, Donald L. Lawler, Sheldon W. Liebman, Maureen O’Connor, Elli Ragland-Sullivan, and John Paul Riquelme provide their varied assessments.

A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393927542
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 11/19/2006
Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 83,352
Product dimensions: 4.98(w) x 8.22(h) x 1.02(d)

About the Author

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Wilde studied at Trinity College in Dublin and at Magdalen College in Oxford, England, before settling down in London and having a long, successful career as a poet, playwright, and author. Wilde is best known for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and for his satirical play The Importance of Being Earnest.

Michael Patrick Gillespie is Professor of English at Florida International University. He is the author of Oscar Wilde and the Poetics of Ambiguity, Branding Oscar Wilde, The Aesthetics of Chaos: Nonlinear Thinking and Contemporary Literary Criticism, Inverted Volumes Improperly Arranged: James Joyce and His Trieste Library, Reading the Book Himself: Narrative Strategies in the Works of James Joyce, The Aesthetics of Chaos, The Myth of an Irish Cinema, James Joyce and the Exilic Imagination, Reading William Kennedy, and Film Appreciation through Genres. His other edited works include the Norton Critical Edition of The Importance of Being Earnest, James Joyce and the Fabrication of an Irish Identity, and Joyce through the Ages: A Non-Linear View.

Date of Birth:

October 16, 1854

Date of Death:

November 30, 1900

Place of Birth:

Dublin, Ireland

Place of Death:

Paris, France


The Royal School in Enniskillen, Dublin, 1864; Trinity College, Dublin, 1871; Magdalen College, Oxford, England, 1874

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Picture of Dorian Gray: A Norton Critical Edition 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
baswood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The only difference between a caprice and a life long passion is that a caprice lasts longer""American girls are as clever at concealing their parents as English women are at concealing their past""Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing""Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.""Young men want to be faithful and are not, old men want to be faithless and cannot."Epigrams: which are witty often paradoxical remarks, concisely expressed, come thick and fast throughout the first few chapters of The Picture of Dorian Gray. It is as though Wilde cannot help but cram in as much wit as possible during the early stages of this, his only novel. They just stay the right side of tiresome, but there is a method to their usage: they come from the mouth of Lord Henry Wotton one of the three central characters. Oscar Wilde was famous as a raconteur and wit and when pressed about the characters in his novel said. "I am so glad you like that strange coloured book of mine, it contains much of me in it: Basil Hallward is what I think I am, Lord Henry what the world thinks me and Dorian what I would like to be - in other ages perhaps"The story in which Wilde matches Edgar Alan Poe in the gothic horror stakes is well known. Basil Hallward a celebrated society artist produces a masterpiece when he paints a full length portrait of Dorian Gray: a young man with intense physical beauty who is adored by Basil. When Lord Henry Wooton calls on Basil he meets Dorian Gray and vows to inculcate the young man into the pursuit of hedonism. Dorian is a willing pupil and quickly falls under the influence of Lord Henry, however when he sees the finished portrait he is horrified by the thought that he will age and decay while the portrait will stay young and vital. He prays that he will stay just as he is forever and he gets his wish: the portrait changes in accordance with Dorian's callous and hedonistic lifestyle, while Dorian himself keeps his youthful looks. He becomes obsesses by the portrait; fascinated and horrified by turns, he is pricked by conscience and craves for some sort of redemption, however his excesses finally lead him to commit murder and when he can no longer stand the sight of his moral corruption he destroys the painting.It is a great horror story with wonderful characterisation, but there is so much more: Wilde explores themes of individualism, hedonism, influence and weakness of character, art and it role in society, and the responsibilities of members of society. It created a sensation at the time because of its thinly veiled portrayal of homosexual love. Wilde's wit and humour is rampant throughout; so much so that it threatens at times to intrude too much into this powerful tale. The reader continues to wonder as to how much irony is being used and of the shades of meaning that can be deduced, but underpinning it all is a rattling good story. Wilde claimed that it was of course a moral tale and said in a letter in defence of his book:"And the moral is this: all excess as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment. The painter Basil Hallward worshipping physical beauty far too much, as most painters do, dies by the hand of one in whose soul he has created a monstrous and absurd vanity. Dorian Gray, having led a life of mere sensation and pleasure, tries to kill conscience, and at that moment kills himself. Lord Henry Wotton seeks to be merely the spectator of life. He finds that those who reject the battle are more deeply wounded than those who take part in it. Yes there is a terrible moral in Dorian Gray - a moral which the prurient will not be able to find in it, but which will be revealed to all whose minds are healthy. Is this an artistic error? I fear it is. It is the only error in the book."See what I mean about the ironyTHE NORTON CRITICAL EDITIONHow in my view the Norton Critical edition enhances the reading experience.1) It contains both ver
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting idea, dressed up in typically flowery language. Made me feel a bit queasy though.
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Benz1966 More than 1 year ago
The Picture of Dorian Gray is another one of those classics that I'd heard mentioned in passing or read about but never actually sat down to read. It's short, only 200ish pages long - but don't let the short length of it deceive you, it packs a fairly powerful punch. The premise fascinated me from the moment I read it. Innocent young man who manages to remain that way on the outside, but a portrait of him changes to reflect the corruption of his soul. Fascinating, no? I'm positive that this book has been dissected and analyzed from all sorts of different points of view, so let me tell you what I got out of it. I felt the tragedy, deeply. The corruption of a soul is something that is unpleasant to read, unpleasant to see and seeing the affect it has on others is difficult to deal with at times. It's interesting because I read this novel while I am still continuing to work my way through George Eliot's Middlemarch. Whereas I am having such a difficult time relating to and feeling emotions from Eliot's characters, there was such a wealth of emotion being poured out of Wilde's it was almost overwhelming. I felt the passion of love and the despair when it was lost. By the way dialogue was incredible, it makes the book, honestly. I highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read it. And if you haven't read it in a while, go back and read it now. It's going on my "yearly re-read" shelf for certain.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The word usage and language in this book is astounding. The way Wilde expresses and words things keeps you reading because the pure sound of his writing is beautiful. Not to mention that the premise of the book and the message is quite wonderful as well-- you find yourself pitying and harboring a sort of sympathy for Mr. Gray, and despite the demoralization he represents, you feel a fondness for the character. Anyhow, this is such an interesting book and I'd recommend it to anyone.