I have decided to read or reread at least one classic every month this year.
I picked up this book randomly without a clue about what it was about. As with most controversial books from another era, this too did not shock me, but oh, how it fascinated me!
I loved Lord Henry. I found myself highlighting so much of his ‘wisdoms’ every time he spoke. The language, the beautiful prose from the nineteenth century, was such a pleasure to read. While I still do not fully understand what Dorian’s sins actually were, the endless sentences describing his hedonistic lifestyle were breathtaking. A small chill ran through me each time the painting changed, each time something happened for the painting to change. How wonderful if would be if we all had such a mirror to show us our true faces.
What exactly was Dorian’s relationship with Lord Henry? Was Dorian a piece of clay that Lord Henry was moulding into everything he himself could not be? Were they lovers or was he just Lord Henry’s social experiment? What was it that Dorian was blackmailing Alan Campbell with? There is so much in the book that is not said, but the reader does not feel the need to seek explicit answers. You just know. Of course, the lack of women in his sinful life except for Sybil Vane and an obligatory Hetty makes it obvious that his main ‘sin’ was being a beautiful, rich gay boy who lived life on his own terms. The undercurrent of homosexuality that runs throughout the book was just the right level, not in-your- face but always there. How daring Oscar Wilde must have been to write this in that era!
This is the kind of book that you will keep going back to again and again, just to read the passages you’ve highlighted. A book that will stay with you for a very long time.