More than 120 years after Oscar Wilde submitted The Picture of Dorian Gray for publication in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, the uncensored version of his novel appears here for the first time in a paperback edition. This volume restores all of the material removed by the novel’s first editor.
Upon receipt of the typescript, Wilde’s editor panicked at what he saw. Contained within its pages was material he feared readers would find “offensive”especially instances of graphic homosexual content. He proceeded to go through the typescript with his pencil, cleaning it up until he made it “acceptable to the most fastidious taste.” Wilde did not see these changes until his novel appeared in print. Wilde’s editor’s concern was well placed. Even in its redacted form, the novel caused public outcry. The British press condemned it as “vulgar,” “unclean,” “poisonous,” “discreditable,” and “a sham.” When Wilde later enlarged the novel for publication in book form, he responded to his critics by further toning down its “immoral” elements.
Wilde famously said that The Picture of Dorian Gray “contains much of me”: Basil Hallward is “what I think I am,” Lord Henry “what the world thinks me,” and “Dorian what I would like to bein other ages, perhaps.” Wilde’s comment suggests a backward glance to a Greek or Dorian Age, but also a forward-looking view to a more permissive time than his own repressive Victorian era. By implication, Wilde would have preferred we read today the uncensored version of his novel.
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About the Author
Nicholas Frankel is Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Date of Birth:October 16, 1854
Date of Death:November 30, 1900
Place of Birth:Dublin, Ireland
Place of Death:Paris, France
Education:The Royal School in Enniskillen, Dublin, 1864; Trinity College, Dublin, 1871; Magdalen College, Oxford, England, 1874
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is just a warning to prospective /paperback/nook customers - the digital version of this book is not "lavishly illustrated" and most shocking of all to me, Nicholas Frankel's extensive notes, which run alongside the text and which exceed the actual length of the novel itself, are not included! Yes, there are two rich scholarly introductions, replete with notes, and some three pages of notes to the actual text, but the "annotations" which have excited so much comment from reviewers are in fact missing from the kindle edition. After reading a number of reviews, I concluded that the actual text in its original form is not that great a revelation. What made this edition of interest to me were both the annotations and the 'lavish illustrations,' so praised by other reviewers. In fact Stonewall Riot Press has a complete, uncensored edition. The editor himself, JOHN MCARTHUR, praises Nicholas Frankel's annotations: "I was already at work on my edition of the text when I received my copy of Nicholas Frankel's P-book edition published in 2011 by Harvard University Press. Though I was somewhat dismayed at having been scooped, I could only admire the quality and thoroughness of Professor Frankel's scholarship. His notes, which run alongside the text, exceed it in length, and he also provides lavish illustrations and other resources. I heartily recommend this edition for readers seeking a scholarly edition for research purposes. I frankly cannot see how it can be superseded." Anyone looking for the complete "annotated and illustrated" version is advised to buy the hardback.