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July 23, 2015
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Oscar Wilde's sole, and beautifully written, novel, which despite being now considered a classic, was ill-received upon publication, likely because of its homoerotic undertones, which were shocking and perverse to Victorian readers. This gothic, Faustian novel, like many others in its time, for example: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dracula by Bram Stoker, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, reflects the Victorian obsession with man's innate nature, the role of conscience in social action and the twisted alter-ego.

The story focuses on the character of Dorian Gray, a young man whose beauty becomes a local painter, Basil Hallward's, obsession, and the inspiration for a new mode in his art. Through this painter, and thus through his aesthetic appeal, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a man who espouses pure Hedonism, pursuit of pleasure. Realizing that his beauty will one day fade, Dorian wishes to sell his soul to the Devil in return for the gift of eternal youth. His portrait is the only reminder of his age and sin, morphing in time to outwardly show Dorian's inner corruption. Dorian lives an excessive and immoral life, and becomes so overwhelmed with the appearance of his portrait and the inability to escape its decay that he ultimately tries to destroy the painting, resulting in his own death.
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