Oscar Wilde's only novel tells the story of Dorian Gray, a vain man so obsessed with his hedonistic lifestyle he is willing to sell his soul. Ensuring that a portrait of himself will age while he remains youthful, Dorian pursues a life of debauchery, but his actions soon take him past the point of redemption. Controversial and frequently banned, THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY is a fascinating exploration of conscience and morality.
Like other Broadview Editions, this edition includes a wide range of materials from the period that help to set the text in context. In particular, the editor locates the text both in relation to elements in the mainstream culture of the day (such as the aesthetes); and in relation to the gay subculture.
The well-known artist Basil Hallward meets the young Dorian Gray in the stately London home of his aunt, Lady Brandon. Basil becomes immediately infatuated with Dorian, who is cultured, wealthy, and remarkably beautiful. Such beauty, Basil believes, is responsible for a new mode of art, and he decides to paint a portrait of the young man. While finishing the painting, Basil reluctantly introduces Dorian to his friend Lord Henry Wotton, a man known for scandal and exuberance. Wotton inspires Dorian to live life through the senses, to feel beauty in everyday experience. Dorian becomes enthralled by Wotton’s ideas, and more so becomes obsessed with remaining young and beautiful. He expresses a desire to sell his soul and have the portrait of him age, while he, the man, stays eternally young. A tragic story of hedonism and desire, The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde’s only published novel.
Every selection appears in its entirety–a marvelous collection of outstanding works by the incomparable Oscar Wilde, who’s been aptly called “a lord of language” by Max Beerbohm.
From the Paperback edition.
Lady Windermere has a happy marriage - or, at least, that's what she believes until one of London society's gossips, the Duchess of Berwick, arrives with her daughter to voice her suspicions about an affair Lord Windermere appears to be having. It's not just the Duchess who has evidence, however. Windermere's private bank book shows that he's been giving large sums of money to a 'Mrs Erlynne' - on frequent occasions - and he himself even admits to seeing much of the woman. To add insult to injury, Windermere insists that Mrs Erlynne is invited to the ball that is being held for Lady Windermere's birthday.
Employing the witty dialogue, social satire and outrageous paradox for which he is still remembered, Wilde's play shows us the destructiveness of gossip and superficial judgement, examines the ambiguous sexual morality and gender politics at the heart of the British ruling class, while simultaneously challenging our perceptions of what constitutes a 'good woman'.
This student edition contains a fully annotated version of the playtext. The introduction includes an account of Wilde's life and a detailed analysis of Lady Windermere's Fan as well as its stage history.
Ian Small is Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham. He is the author of a number of critical studies on Wilde and has edited several of Wilde's works, including a scholarly edition of Wilde's second society comedy, A Woman of No Importance, also published in the New Mermaids series.