Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray (Audio)

Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author: Oscar Wilde

Narrator: John Gonzalez

Publisher: www.
First Published: 1891

Running time: 6 hrs 19 min 46 sec

Format: Audio Book

Rating: 7/10

Dorian Gray, a young man of wealth and stature in late 1800’s
London, meets Lord Henry Wotton while posing for a portrait by his friend Basil Hallward. Once the painting is complete, Dorian realizes that it will always be young and attractive, while he will be forced to age and wither with the years. Carelessly, he wishes the opposite were true. What happens is a treatise on morals, self-indulgence and how crucial personal responsibility is towards one’s self. Note: This is a recording of the 1890, 13-Chapter edition.

I'd been meaning to read this book for as long as I can remember, but somehow never got round to it, so I thought I'd try an audio-book version. Only one chapter in, Wilde's trademark wit and
humour was already very apparent, along with his vivid descriptions of characters with just a few choice words.

I wonder how much of Dorian was Wilde's own beloved Bosie (Lord Alfred Douglas) and how much of himself was in the tortured artist that adored him. Lord Henry seemed to personify Wilde's own ideas about the workings of society, yet the artist, Hallward, seemed to represent his more heartfelt romanticisms...

I think this is one book where I might have got more out of it for actually reading it myself. I found myself laughing at the narrator's mispronunciations as I was walking down the street, but over-all, he wasn't bad, despite being an American occasionally trying to adopt an upper-class English accent, and not quite making it, whenever a character was speaking. Also, his "voices" didn't really differ enough to distinguish who was speaking till he finished with "... said Dorian."

The story itself is fascinating, though - an exploration into the morals of the time, the belief that sin will show itself on the face of the sinner and that our sins will be found out however we try to hide them. I really rather enjoyed this, but wish I'd read it instead - I may well do at some point in the future. I also understand there is an extended version that was published after the original serialised publication of 13 chapters (which is the version I heard), so I would be interested in reading the parts not included in this version.


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