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The Picture of Dorian Gray

By Oscar Wilde; illustrated by E. Dete

1908 - Paris - Charles Carrington

10.5" by 8", 312pp

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

DETAILS

The first illustrated edition of Wilde's classic masterpiece and only novel with beautifully dramatic engravings throughout.

First illustrated edition, with an explanatory strip bound in:

'This illustrated edition was intended to be issued in 1908, the date given on the title page; but, after the text had been printed, the Artist unfortunately fell ill, and this is the reason why the book has not appeared before the present year, 1910. The Publisher.'

The Picture of Dorian Gray, is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine. Wilde later revised this edition, making several alterations, and adding new chapters; the amended version was published by Ward, Lock and Company in April 1891. The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered a work of classic gothic fiction with a strong Faustian theme.

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 - 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, plays and the circumstances of his imprisonment, followed by his early death.

At the turn of the 1890s, Wilde refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

The story begins with a man painting a picture of Gray. When Gray, who has a 'face like ivory and rose leaves', sees his finished portrait, he breaks down. Distraught that his beauty will fade while the portrait stays beautiful, he inadvertently makes a Faustian bargain in which only the painted image grows old while he stays beautiful and young. For Wilde, the purpose of art would be to guide life if beauty alone were its object. As Gray's portrait allows him to escape the corporeal ravages of his hedonism, Wilde sought to juxtapose the beauty he saw in art onto daily life.

Reviewers immediately criticised the novel's decadence and homosexual allusion, one in the The Daily Chronicle for example, called it 'unclean,' 'poisonous,' and 'heavy with the mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction.' Wilde vigorously responded, writing to the Editor of the Scots Observer, he clarified his stance on ethics and aesthetics in art 'If a work of art is rich and vital and complete, those who have artistic instincts will see its beauty and those to whom ethics appeal more strongly will see its moral lesson.' He nevertheless revised it extensively for book publication in 1891: six new chapters were added, some overt decadence passages and homo-eroticism excised, and a preface consisting of twenty two epigrams, such as 'Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.' was included.

With an illustrated bookplate to front pastedown.

CONDITION

Handsomely bound in a half calf with marbled paper covered boards. Externally, generally smart but with minor shelfwear to extremities and occasional marks to boards. Internally, firmly bound. Generally bright and clean throughout with marginal age toning to tissue guards only and the odd mark to pages. With slight off-setting from explanatory strip and binding to half title.

Overall: NEAR FINE


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