Oscar Wilde: The PIcture of Dorian Gray

A novel published by Lippincott's Magazine in 1890. Once regarded as daringly modern in its portrayal of fashionable fin de siécle decadence. Wilde draws on traditional patterns to create a powerful new gothic tale. [...] ... an updated version of the Faust story. [...] Although sin is punished in the end, the book has a strong flavour of the elegantly perverse. Wilde asserted in his preface to the expanded edition: 'There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all.'

IIan Ousby (ed.): The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English.

This is a story of moral corruption. Although not shocking by the standards of the late twentieth century, the book and its celebrated Preface which contained the conclusion 'All art is quite useless', attracted such outraged reviews as 'Why go grubbing in muck-heaps?' on its publication.

Blurb of the Wordsworth Classics edition (1992)

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Oscar Wilde

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