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jerriet
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The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one

This will be the first time ever reading this book. If anyone is still interested discussing this month's read, the thread has been started.  Although I'm not the moderator for the group, I thought any feedback would help with anything I overlooked when reading, thanks.

Jerrie.T
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Peppermill
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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one

Two chapters in.  Will be back when have read more.  Am liking DG so far.

 

Pepper

 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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dulcinea3
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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one


Peppermill wrote:

Two chapters in.  Will be back when have read more.  Am liking DG so far.

 

Pepper

 

 


We're neck and neck - I've gotten through the first two chapters, also!

 

I notice that it is mostly dialogue so far.  I know that Oscar Wilde is known more as a playwright, and this was his only novel, so I suppose that's what's showing.  I believe he wrote all his famous plays later, but had had a few flops by this time.

 

Harry obviously loves to hear himself talk.  His conversation with Basil in the first chapter is full of bons mots, some of which I am sure I have heard before, especially "...there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."  Then in the second chapter, after he meets Dorian, he is full of philosophy.  One wonders whether he even believes what he is saying, or if it is just the latest fad, and he has a receptive audience.  I guess the latter!  He also can't resist stealing Dorian away from Basil, especially because he knows how much Dorian means to Basil.  I'm sure when he was a child, he stole or spoiled all of his friends' favorite toys!

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Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
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Peppermill
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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one

  I'm sure when he was a child, he stole or spoiled all of his friends' favorite toys!

 

:smileyvery-happy: 

 

I, too, noticed the dialog, play-like, nature of the conversations.  Those have made me interested in reading a play or two -- I may even have seen the Importance of Being Ernest, but if I did, I am no longer certain when or where, except that it probably would have been at a small community theatre. 

 

Bon mots and all, I am thoroughly enjoying the writing so far.  Some passages get a bit tedious, but many conversations sparkle and I feel as if I would have enjoyed being a participant in them.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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dulcinea3
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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one


Peppermill wrote:

  I'm sure when he was a child, he stole or spoiled all of his friends' favorite toys!

 

:smileyvery-happy: 

 

I, too, noticed the dialog, play-like, nature of the conversations.  Those have made me interested in reading a play or two -- I may even have seen the Importance of Being Ernest, but if I did, I am no longer certain when or where, except that it probably would have been at a small community theatre. 

 

Bon mots and all, I am thoroughly enjoying the writing so far.  Some passages get a bit tedious, but many conversations sparkle and I feel as if I would have enjoyed being a participant in them.


I have had this book for a while, but haven't read any of it yet:

The Importance of Being Earnest and Four Other Plays (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 

 

Perhaps a future selection for this board (even if only one of the plays)?  I don't think we need limit ourselves to prose, necessarily.

 

I don't believe I have ever seen Wilde's plays acted in person, but I have seen movies of at least three of them.  Hmmm, I seem to have a vague recollection of seeing a college production of Lady Windermere's Fan; I know I have seen the movie adaptation of it, A Good Woman, starring Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson.  I've also seen a movie of An Ideal Husband, starring Julianne Moore and Rupert Everett.

 

I have seen two movie adaptations of The Importance of Being Earnest, and absolutely loved them both!  Wilde's wit is wonderful.  I am seeing a lot of the same wit in the character of Harry in this novel.

 

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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one

 


dulcinea3 wrote:
I have had this book for a while, but haven't read any of it yet:

The Importance of Being Earnest and Four Other Plays (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 

 

Perhaps a future selection for this board (even if only one of the plays)?  I don't think we need limit ourselves to prose, necessarily.

 

I don't believe I have ever seen Wilde's plays acted in person, but I have seen movies of at least three of them.  Hmmm, I seem to have a vague recollection of seeing a college production of Lady Windermere's Fan; I know I have seen the movie adaptation of it, A Good Woman, starring Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson.  I've also seen a movie of An Ideal Husband, starring Julianne Moore and Rupert Everett.

 

I have seen two movie adaptations of The Importance of Being Earnest, and absolutely loved them both!  Wilde's wit is wonderful.  I am seeing a lot of the same wit in the character of Harry in this novel.

 


 

Hmm!  Probably another book I should have gotten when the three-for-two classics sale was on last month!  

 

Would enjoy doing a Wilde play some month.  Since there is no longer an active Shakespeare thread, we might also do one of his plays once a year or so?

 

Thanks for a heads up on the movies.  I don't watch many, although I do have the Blockbusters one-a-month "old" movies subscription (less than $15/year, don't remember exactly).  I sometimes find myself at the store the last day of the month so I don't "waste" that month's coupon -- I have even been known to let a friend choose if I was going to be out of town.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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foxycat
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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one

[ Edited ]

I've just downloaded Lady Windermere from Librivox.com.  I think audio files would be especially good for plays.  There was a wonderful 1925 (silent)  movie version of this that I saw years ago, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, with a very young Ronald Colman. It really is quite good.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0016004/

 

Dorian Gray was made into a film in 1945, and is considered a classic.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Peppermill
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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one

I promised some passages where Wilde set the scenes so vividly with a few words.  This first excerpt is more than a few words, but it provides the opening setting for the "Picture (portrait?) of Dorian Gray" (1890).  These are the first paragraphs of the novel; I have highlighted some of the words that were particularly image-creating for me.

 

"The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.

"From the corner of the divan of Persian saddle-bags on which he was lying, smoking, as was his custom, innumerable cigarettes, Lord Henry Wotton could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and honey-coloured blossoms of a laburnum, whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flamelike as theirs; and now and then the fantastic shadows of birds in flight flitted across the long tussore-silk curtains that were stretched in front of the huge window, producing a kind of momentary Japanese effect, and making him think of those pallid, jade-faced painters of Tokyo who, through the medium of an art that is necessarily immobile, seek to convey the sense of swiftness and motion.

"The sullen murmur of the bees shouldering their way through the long unmown grass, or circling with monotonous insistence round the dusty gilt horns of the straggling woodbine, seemed to make the stillness more oppressive. The dim roar of London was like the bourdon note of a distant organ.

"In the centre of the room, clamped to an upright easel, stood the full-length portrait of a young man of extraordinary personal beauty, and in front of it, some little distance away, was sitting the artist himself, Basil Hallward, whose sudden disappearance some years ago caused, at the time, such public excitement and gave rise to so many strange conjectures.

"As the painter looked at the gracious and comely form he had so skilfully mirrored in his art, a smile of pleasure passed across his face, and seemed about to linger there."

 

Also, the references to Japanese art reflect what was influencing painting and art, from the Impressionists ("brought ... to prominence in the 1870s and 1880s") to architects like Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959).

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Peppermill
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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one, Chapters 1-4

Here is another passage, from Chapter 4, also creating a setting of luxury:

 

"One afternoon, a month later, Dorian Gray was reclining in a luxurious arm-chair, in the little library of Lord Henry's house in Mayfair. It was, in its way, a very charming room, with its high panelled wainscoting of olive-stained oak, its cream-coloured frieze and ceiling of raised plasterwork, and its brickdust felt carpet strewn with silk, long-fringed Persian rugs. On a tiny satinwood table stood a statuette by Clodion, and beside it lay a copy of Les Cent Nouvelles, bound for Margaret of Valois by Clovis Eve and powdered with the gilt daisies that Queen had selected for her device. Some large blue china jars and parrot-tulips were ranged on the mantelshelf, and through the small leaded panes of the window streamed the apricot-coloured light of a summer day in London."

 

Sculpture  'Poetry and Music', marble sculpture by Clodion, 1774-1778, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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dulcinea3
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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one, Chapters 1-4

The garden was beautiful, and through Wilde's description, we can see it, smell it, and even hear it.  I especially love the scent of roses and lilacs - my two favorite flower scents other than lily of the valley.  I could feel like I was there, sitting on a bench.  Harry's home also sounds so luxurious - it must be nice to be rich!  I was charmed by the parrot tulips in the blue jars, and I remember thinking that it would be nice to always have fresh flowers, only my cats would probably get into them!

 


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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one, Chapters 1-4

Great tulip pictures, Dulcinea.  They would look wonderful in a blue vase!

 

I presume you are well aware of the Tulipmania of the 1630's.  Here are two books written about it; the one by Dash mentioned in the link in this paragraph:

 

 

Tulipmania  by Anne Goldgar

 

Tulipomania  by Mike Dash

 

The whole sensuous excess goes so well with Wilde.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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A-Nuccio
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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one

I just started reading, I'll be sure to update every 3 or 4 chapters.

There sandy seems the golden sky
And golden seems the sandy plain.
No habitation meets the eye
Unless in the horizon rim,
Some halfway up the limestone wall,
That spot of black is not a stain
Or shadow, but a cavern hole,
Where someone used to climb and crawl
To rest from his besetting fears.
I see the callus on his soul
The disappearing last of him
And of his race starvation slim,
Oh years ago - ten thousand years.

-Robert Frost
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Peppermill
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Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, week one

 


A-Nuccio wrote:

I just started reading, I'll be sure to update every 3 or 4 chapters.


 

A-N -- Welcome!  Look forward to your comments!

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy