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.
'How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrid, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young... If it was only the other way!'
Wilde's first and only published novel recounts the story of handsome Dorian Gray who upon having his portrait painted desires that it will age and grow ugly while he may remain eternally beautiful. The painting, which reflects each of Gray's sins and transgressions in its hideousness, haunts him until it finally becomes unbearable. In this dark tale of duplicity and mortality, Wilde creates a world where art and reality collide.
Continuously in print since 1948, the Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde has long been recognised as the most comprehensive and authoritative single-volume collection of Wilde’s texts available, containing his only novel, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, as well as his plays, stories, poems, essays and letters, all in their most authoritative texts.
Also included is a comprehensive bibliography of works by and about Oscar Wilde, and a chronological table of his life and work.