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Old 04-29-2014, 06:47 AM   #16
samhy
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Thank you for your input.
I'll come back to post when my ideas will be better sorted so it won't look like sentences put after sentences.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:41 AM   #17
fantasyfan
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I was unable to get the new "unexpurgated" edition and it does get quite mixed reviews. Wilde never bothered to get the original published as he could have done in his final years in France. Of course he may just have lost interest in this early work.
Since I haven't read the original I can only theorise but perhaps this may be a case where the editing of the two published versions has been of benefit. But each reader will have to decide for her/himself.
I did read both the original 13 chapter version which appeared in Lippincott's Magazine july 1890 and the later 20 chapter expansion.


While I read, I became aware that the novel is not the natural literary medium for Wilde. A character like Sir Henry could come straight out of one of Wilde's plays and there is a tension between the frothy cynical brilliance of the wit and the underlying tragedy of the novel. The 20 chapter version does give more character development but the style of writing is often overly rich while the earlier effort has considerable intensity--though even here some of the passages are simply over-elaborated. I am left with the impression that this should have been at most a novella or even a novelette. Dorian Gray's character is simply not interesting enough to sustain the length of even a short novel.

Still, it does have some brilliant moments--particularly in the dialogues and has an excellent fantasy theme which has become iconic.

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Old 05-01-2014, 11:27 AM   #18
WT Sharpe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fantasyfan View Post
...While I read, I became aware that the novel is not the natural literary medium for Wilde. A character like Sir Henry could come straight out of one of Wilde's plays and there is a tension between the frothy cynical brilliance of the wit and the underlying tragedy of the novel. The 20 chapter version does give more character development but the style of writing is often overly rich while the earlier effort has considerable intensity--though even here some of the passages are simply over-elaborated. I am left with the impression that this should have been at most a novella or even a novelette. Dorian Gray's character is simply not interesting enough to sustain the length of even a short novel....
The central character wasn't enough by himself to hold the book together, but Lord Henry and others more than compensated for any blandness in the character of Dorian Grey, and in my opinion, though there were some passages that appeared to be padding, the length was now at all a problem. I enjoyed both the 13 and 20 chapter versions, although I thought the demise of Sybil Vane's brother was a bit too abrupt. It was as if, after having introduced the character for the extended version, Wilde simply tired of the character at some point and decided to remove him from the story as quickly as possible.

As to your observation that the novel was not the natural literary medium for Wilde, I can only suppose that he also felt that way as well, as it was the only novel he ever published.

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Old 05-14-2014, 01:28 AM   #19
crich70
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Mr. Wilde did write some short fiction that is good. At least one story had some religious overtones in it as I recall. i.e. The Selfish Giant.
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