31 October 2006

Book Banter -- The Picture of Dorian Gray

As promised, Word Nerd read Dorian Gray, since you all voted that it was the next classic she should read. If you've read it too, post your thoughts on the book as well. Word Nerd's interested in some other reactions.

Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author: Oscar Wilde
Length: 210 pages
Genre: literature/classic fiction
Plot Basics: Dorian Gray, a young, up-and-comer in British society has his portrait done by painter Basil Hallward. Basil's friend, Lord Henry Wotton, insists on meeting Dorian. Henry praises Dorian greatly about his youthful good looks and sets Dorian on a self-destructive path. Only outwardly, it's not Dorian who shows the physical effects of his lifestyle, but the version of Dorian in the painting.
Banter Points: Well. Word Nerd thought she knew what happened in this book. She was partly right, but there was a lot more to it that she realized. She's a fan of the movie versions of Wilde's plays (Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband). He was quite the social critic as a writer and clearly well-read himself based on the allusions he makes to other texts.
Bummer Points: Word Nerd was expecting this story to be scarier. Again, Word Nerd thought she knew what was in this book. The philosophy about life and art wasn't really what she was expecting.
Word Nerd Recommendation: For a classic, it's nice and short. It would also probably make a nice foundation for an academic paper of some sort about changing attitudes and philosophies and art and life.

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