Le Portrait de Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Victorian Lit, Fantastic Lit

Medium: (French) Paperback

Synopsis: This piece of Victorian Literature follows Dorian Gray throughout his lifetime.  After being painted by Basil Hallward, Dorian meets Lord Henry, a person who is utterly intrigued by him.  Through Lord Henry’s friendship with Dorian, we discover that Dorian holds Victorian values to the highest esteem: youth and beauty are some of the most important things in life, if not the most important things in life.  Thanks to these values, Dorian decides to make a deal that will change his life, and his portrait.

Review: I know that not all classic pieces of literature are the most entertaining, but this one was spectacular.  Right from the beginning, Oscar Wilde lays out his themes for us: faith, Victorian values, sins, and what may or may not be ethically correct.  What really hooked me at the beginning was this line (which is in French): “Il n’existe pas de livres moraux ou immoraux.  Les livers sont bien écrits ou mals écrits.  C’est tout,” which translates to “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.  Books are well written, or badly written.  That is all.”  In all honesty, the preface is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in a long long while.  Even if this novel doesn’t interest you, I’d highly suggest just reading the first part.

I will openly admit that I know that there are some parts that I didn’t fully quite understand, but I’m going to blame that on the fact that I read this novel in French, which is not my first language.  But what I did understand from the novel was so good that I finished this French book in record time.  If it was in English, I think I would have finished it at least twice as fast.  This was a fascinating read, and it’s inspiring me to read more Victorian literature.


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