Marrvelous Wilde OFS

32 years, devout Catholic/Secular Franciscan; listen to The Smiths/Morrissey/Johnny Marr; I like Morrissey's shirts/Marr's guitars/literature/Sherlock Holmes/films/animals. Most of the things I post on this blog are not mine, I borrow them from their real owners. When you want to post something, please indicate the exact source of your post. Thank you.
Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist - October 18

“And he said to all, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” 

Today is the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist. Tradition assigns the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles to the Luke who was a companion of St. Paul. He wrote in fluent Greek and was well-versed in the Hebrew Scriptures. He was a skilled story-teller who gives us the parables of Lazarus and the Rich Man, the Good Samaritan, and the Father and His Two Sons. He highlights God’s plan of Salvation in history, Jesus’ call to conversion and faith, and the evangelizing mission of the Church. As Saint John Paul II remarked, “As a minister of God’s Word, Luke leads us to knowledge of the discreet yet penetrating light that radiates from it, while illustrating the reality and events of history.”

http://divineoffice.org/

Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist - October 18

“And he said to all, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.”

Today is the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist. Tradition assigns the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles to the Luke who was a companion of St. Paul. He wrote in fluent Greek and was well-versed in the Hebrew Scriptures. He was a skilled story-teller who gives us the parables of Lazarus and the Rich Man, the Good Samaritan, and the Father and His Two Sons. He highlights God’s plan of Salvation in history, Jesus’ call to conversion and faith, and the evangelizing mission of the Church. As Saint John Paul II remarked, “As a minister of God’s Word, Luke leads us to knowledge of the discreet yet penetrating light that radiates from it, while illustrating the reality and events of history.”

http://divineoffice.org/

"I listen to the radio now that we seem to be on it quite a lot, but before that, I didn’t really listen a great deal. I gave up for a while. But other groups… without really trying to sound terribly down on modern music, much of it really doesn’t affect me a great deal. It seems tragically tidy, and everybody has their little safety nets and their little life rafts, and once people seem to get a hit they seem to just dilute the formula constantly and there’s no risk involved, and it’s really so desperately tidy, that… I want to change things. But I don’t want to imply that The Smiths are a high-risk situation anyway, of course they’re not. They’re immediately listenable. But it just needs somebody with some heart and some brain. I think popular music needs brains at the moment." - Morrissey, 1983

Photo source: http://www.pinterest.com/

"I listen to the radio now that we seem to be on it quite a lot, but before that, I didn’t really listen a great deal. I gave up for a while. But other groups… without really trying to sound terribly down on modern music, much of it really doesn’t affect me a great deal. It seems tragically tidy, and everybody has their little safety nets and their little life rafts, and once people seem to get a hit they seem to just dilute the formula constantly and there’s no risk involved, and it’s really so desperately tidy, that… I want to change things. But I don’t want to imply that The Smiths are a high-risk situation anyway, of course they’re not. They’re immediately listenable. But it just needs somebody with some heart and some brain. I think popular music needs brains at the moment." - Morrissey, 1983

Photo source: http://www.pinterest.com/


backstage, 1983

backstage, 1983

(Source: nervousjuvenile, via thesmithsappreciation)

The best comedy ever! God bless Oscar Wilde.

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY - my view, by Vedrana Colic, originally published in RHEMA magazine

(I translated this article without permission, for non-profit purposes)

Quality of a book does not depend exclusively on its author, but it also depends on the reader. This interesting article written by Vedrana Colic brings us a new and special view of a renowned book and draws us to read it again, attentively.
This article will not be a review like those we used to write in school; it will be focused on what could be of interest to us, people of faith.

The Picture Of Dorian Gray is a novel by the famous Irish writer Oscar Wilde. It is a kind of a book that leaves no one equanimous. Although many people reproached this novel for its homosexual elements, which caused general uproar at the time the book was published, the main subject overshadows minor ones. Oscar Wilde impeccably set forth a story of a human soul, which proves that, imperfect as we are, we can bring good fruit. We do not have to sit down and wait in order to become perfect, but what we should do is to live and work now. Just like many other authors before and after him did, Wilde dealt with a particular subject which fascinated people ever since the Middle Ages – selling one’s soul to the devil. He dealt with a subject of man’s desire for an eternal youth and the curse which arises when such desire becomes reality.
Dorian Gray was a young man who had everything – youth, remarkable beauty, wealth, reputation in a society and a life full of potential ahead of him. A young man who had everything, but who sold his most valuable possession to the evil one – his own soul.
In the beginning, Dorian cared about others, he could distinguish between good and bad, but in time, his heart hardened, it became completely insensitive for other people’s pain. Heart of flesh was replaced with a heart of stone.What is really interesting is that the whole thing was a process, not just a single act. That way we can notice how one sin leads to another. When you give in to evil, the evil takes control over you; when you silence your conscience, with time it ceases to function properly. That is why you have to be very careful. So, take a good care of your heart, nurture it and clean it daily.What particularly surprised me was that Dorian did not sell his soul consciously; he neither planned it nor he believed that it really was possible, just as most of us think (or not).
Words he uttered in order to give his soul for eternal youth, were spoken in a fit of passion, swept away by his youthful imagination. This warns us how dangerous words can be, words spoken recklessly, even negative words said in jest. That can have an enormous effect on one’s life. Dorian’s imprudent statement changed the course of his whole life.
It is an intimidating notion that all the bad things that Dorian did in his life, including selling his soul, did not actually come from him. Those ideas were not his, they came from his new friend with a very bad reputation, lord Henry. Perhaps we could symphatize with this young man and defend his innocence, but he still was not free from responsibility. The fact that he was not free from responsibility is that he unreservedly agreed with Henry’s words. Lord Henry’s words found fertile ground in Dorian’s heart.
You have to be aware that others cannot influence us unless we let them. For example, when you want something that is bad for you and want to get approval from others or when you are afraid to resist if you are scared of being mocked and ridiculed, or regarded as different or abnormal. It is obvious that Henry’s words struck a cord in Dorian’s heart, which was already led astray, so it was easy to fill it up with negative ideas.
There is a quotation from the Book of Sirach, that runs through the whole novel, „People are known by their appearance: the sensible are recognised as such when first met. One’s attire, hearty laughter, and gait proclaim him for what he is.“ – (Sirach 19:29-30)
Dorian sells his soul for that very reason, because Henry told him that everything a man does is written on his face. If the traces of sinful life would not be visible on one’s body, one would do a lot worse things, says Henry, while Dorian absorbes his words ebulliently. Henry speaks about advantages of youth and innocent appearance. He also says that such appearance can easily deceive people and make them think positively about one’s personality, and if evil would not affect one’s image negatively, possibilities would practically be countless. Dorian obeys Henry’s words blindly and does everything according to his instructions. Young man enjoys the reputation created by his angelic face, while his picture bears heavy burden of his sinful life. It is true that one’s appearance can deceit (all of us must be careful) but one’s personality hides behind one’s appearance – we just need to watch closely.
In The Picture Of Dorian Gray, as in his other works, Wilde criticized society’s hypocrisy, masks which people wore in front of others so that they could present themselves in a better light. The Picture Of Dorian Gray is a symbol of that – a mask which Dorian wears in front of others – a perfect young man with an angelic face and how real Dorian looks like when he takes off his carefully maintained mask, when he confronts himself, and the clash of the emotions which he experiences during the whole process. As the picture becomes more and more distorted, it gets harder for him to confront himself, and again, it is even more difficult to renounce the mask which he maintained for all those years.
We can also explain the novel from a religious point of view: the picture is a symbol of Dorian’s soul. No matter how much we hide the real condition of our soul, we cannot escape the truth. Even if we can hide it from others and also from ourselves, we cannot hide it from God. The evil that Dorian did corrupted his soul, deformed it to the point of grotesqueness. Even if that was not visible on his body and others could not see the state of his mind – his soul was there, such as he created it by his own actions.
Even though this novel does not tell that he had no other choice (what is done, is done), I think that EVERY TIME when Dorian was tempted to give in to evil, he had the choice, he could beat evil with good. I would not say that the moment when he sold his soul was predeterminating for him, but Dorian predetermined his destiny by consenting to the way of living that the magical picture enabled.
I believe that he could have repent when he saw the consequences of his actions and in spite of all he could have take the path of good. In this case, his picture would start to change, this time it would become more beautiful, but it was much easier to cover the picture, to lock it up in the attic and in that way avoid confrontation with it, even with oneself. It was a lot easier to run away from all of those responsibilities towards yourself and your life, to close your eyes and pretend that everything is under control, to lie not only to others, but also to yourself.
Considering the fact that I like happy endings, I would finish my reflection on this novel in that way. Dorian would understand that, regardless of the deal he made, regardless of Henry’s influence, he is actually the one who has to live his own life and only he can make the decision to change it. He would cast aside the old man and start a new life. By his future actions he would gradually embellish the picture, until it would become as beautiful as it was in the beginning. Dorian would not live in fear of confrontation with himself and he would not be frightened of others, he could fulfill his life. He would become more beautiful than he ever was, but what is more important, his soul would be pure and innocent again. Free of shame, he could put the picture back on the wall, and that deal he made unconsciously would be dissolved by the decision to change.
Photo: "The Picture Of Dorian Gray", 2009 film

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY - my view, by Vedrana Colic, originally published in RHEMA magazine

(I translated this article without permission, for non-profit purposes)

Quality of a book does not depend exclusively on its author, but it also depends on the reader. This interesting article written by Vedrana Colic brings us a new and special view of a renowned book and draws us to read it again, attentively.

This article will not be a review like those we used to write in school; it will be focused on what could be of interest to us, people of faith.

The Picture Of Dorian Gray is a novel by the famous Irish writer Oscar Wilde. It is a kind of a book that leaves no one equanimous. Although many people reproached this novel for its homosexual elements, which caused general uproar at the time the book was published, the main subject overshadows minor ones. Oscar Wilde impeccably set forth a story of a human soul, which proves that, imperfect as we are, we can bring good fruit. We do not have to sit down and wait in order to become perfect, but what we should do is to live and work now. Just like many other authors before and after him did, Wilde dealt with a particular subject which fascinated people ever since the Middle Ages – selling one’s soul to the devil. He dealt with a subject of man’s desire for an eternal youth and the curse which arises when such desire becomes reality.

Dorian Gray was a young man who had everything – youth, remarkable beauty, wealth, reputation in a society and a life full of potential ahead of him. A young man who had everything, but who sold his most valuable possession to the evil one – his own soul.

In the beginning, Dorian cared about others, he could distinguish between good and bad, but in time, his heart hardened, it became completely insensitive for other people’s pain. Heart of flesh was replaced with a heart of stone.What is really interesting is that the whole thing was a process, not just a single act. That way we can notice how one sin leads to another. When you give in to evil, the evil takes control over you; when you silence your conscience, with time it ceases to function properly. That is why you have to be very careful. So, take a good care of your heart, nurture it and clean it daily.What particularly surprised me was that Dorian did not sell his soul consciously; he neither planned it nor he believed that it really was possible, just as most of us think (or not).

Words he uttered in order to give his soul for eternal youth, were spoken in a fit of passion, swept away by his youthful imagination. This warns us how dangerous words can be, words spoken recklessly, even negative words said in jest. That can have an enormous effect on one’s life. Dorian’s imprudent statement changed the course of his whole life.

It is an intimidating notion that all the bad things that Dorian did in his life, including selling his soul, did not actually come from him. Those ideas were not his, they came from his new friend with a very bad reputation, lord Henry. Perhaps we could symphatize with this young man and defend his innocence, but he still was not free from responsibility. The fact that he was not free from responsibility is that he unreservedly agreed with Henry’s words. Lord Henry’s words found fertile ground in Dorian’s heart.

You have to be aware that others cannot influence us unless we let them. For example, when you want something that is bad for you and want to get approval from others or when you are afraid to resist if you are scared of being mocked and ridiculed, or regarded as different or abnormal. It is obvious that Henry’s words struck a cord in Dorian’s heart, which was already led astray, so it was easy to fill it up with negative ideas.

There is a quotation from the Book of Sirach, that runs through the whole novel, „People are known by their appearance: the sensible are recognised as such when first met. One’s attire, hearty laughter, and gait proclaim him for what he is.“ – (Sirach 19:29-30)

Dorian sells his soul for that very reason, because Henry told him that everything a man does is written on his face. If the traces of sinful life would not be visible on one’s body, one would do a lot worse things, says Henry, while Dorian absorbes his words ebulliently. Henry speaks about advantages of youth and innocent appearance. He also says that such appearance can easily deceive people and make them think positively about one’s personality, and if evil would not affect one’s image negatively, possibilities would practically be countless. Dorian obeys Henry’s words blindly and does everything according to his instructions. Young man enjoys the reputation created by his angelic face, while his picture bears heavy burden of his sinful life. It is true that one’s appearance can deceit (all of us must be careful) but one’s personality hides behind one’s appearance – we just need to watch closely.

In The Picture Of Dorian Gray, as in his other works, Wilde criticized society’s hypocrisy, masks which people wore in front of others so that they could present themselves in a better light. The Picture Of Dorian Gray is a symbol of that – a mask which Dorian wears in front of others – a perfect young man with an angelic face and how real Dorian looks like when he takes off his carefully maintained mask, when he confronts himself, and the clash of the emotions which he experiences during the whole process. As the picture becomes more and more distorted, it gets harder for him to confront himself, and again, it is even more difficult to renounce the mask which he maintained for all those years.

We can also explain the novel from a religious point of view: the picture is a symbol of Dorian’s soul. No matter how much we hide the real condition of our soul, we cannot escape the truth. Even if we can hide it from others and also from ourselves, we cannot hide it from God. The evil that Dorian did corrupted his soul, deformed it to the point of grotesqueness. Even if that was not visible on his body and others could not see the state of his mind – his soul was there, such as he created it by his own actions.

Even though this novel does not tell that he had no other choice (what is done, is done), I think that EVERY TIME when Dorian was tempted to give in to evil, he had the choice, he could beat evil with good. I would not say that the moment when he sold his soul was predeterminating for him, but Dorian predetermined his destiny by consenting to the way of living that the magical picture enabled.

I believe that he could have repent when he saw the consequences of his actions and in spite of all he could have take the path of good. In this case, his picture would start to change, this time it would become more beautiful, but it was much easier to cover the picture, to lock it up in the attic and in that way avoid confrontation with it, even with oneself. It was a lot easier to run away from all of those responsibilities towards yourself and your life, to close your eyes and pretend that everything is under control, to lie not only to others, but also to yourself.

Considering the fact that I like happy endings, I would finish my reflection on this novel in that way. Dorian would understand that, regardless of the deal he made, regardless of Henry’s influence, he is actually the one who has to live his own life and only he can make the decision to change it. He would cast aside the old man and start a new life. By his future actions he would gradually embellish the picture, until it would become as beautiful as it was in the beginning. Dorian would not live in fear of confrontation with himself and he would not be frightened of others, he could fulfill his life. He would become more beautiful than he ever was, but what is more important, his soul would be pure and innocent again. Free of shame, he could put the picture back on the wall, and that deal he made unconsciously would be dissolved by the decision to change.

Photo: "The Picture Of Dorian Gray", 2009 film

The Picture of Dorian Gray (storyline, characters, themes)

Source: wikipedia

The Picture of Dorian Gray begins on a beautiful summer day in Victorian era England, where Lord Henry Wotton, an opinionated man, is observing the sensitive artist Basil Hallward painting the portrait of Dorian Gray, their host, and the handsome young man who is Basil’s ultimate muse. After hearing Lord Henry’s hedonistic worldview, Dorian begins to think that beauty is the only aspect of life worth pursuing, and wishes that Basil’s portrait of him would age in his stead.
Under the hedonist influence of Lord Henry, Dorian fully explores his sensuality. He discovers the actress Sibyl Vane, who performs Shakespeare plays in a dingy, working-class theatre. Dorian approaches and courts her, and soon proposes marriage. The enamoured Sibyl calls him “Prince Charming”, and swoons with the happiness of being loved, but her protective brother, James, a sailor, warns that if “Prince Charming” harms her, he will kill Dorian Gray.
Dorian invites Basil and Lord Henry to see Sibyl perform in Romeo and Juliet. Sibyl, whose only knowledge of love was love of the theatre, foregoes her acting career for the experience of true love with Dorian Gray. Disheartened at her quitting the stage, Dorian rejects Sybil, telling her that acting was her beauty; without that, she no longer interests him. On returning home, Dorian notices that the portrait has changed; his wish has been realised, and the man in the portrait bears a subtle sneer of cruelty.
Conscience-stricken and lonely, Dorian decides to reconcile with Sibyl, but he is too late, as Lord Henry informs him that Sibyl killed herself by swallowing prussic acid. Dorian then understands that, where his life is headed, lust and good looks shall suffice. In the following eighteen years, Dorian experiments with every vice, influenced by a morally poisonous French novel, a gift received from the decadent Lord Henry Wotton.
One night, before leaving for Paris, Basil goes to Dorian’s house to ask him about rumours of his self-indulgent sensualism. Dorian does not deny his debauchery, and takes Basil to a locked room to see the portrait, made hideous by Dorian’s corruption. In anger, Dorian blames his fate on Basil, and stabs him dead. Dorian then calmly blackmails an old friend, the chemist Alan Campbell, into destroying the body of Basil Hallward by nitric acid.
To escape the guilt of his crime, Dorian goes to an opium den, where James Vane is unknowingly present. Upon hearing someone refer to Dorian as “Prince Charming”, James seeks out and tries to shoot Dorian dead. In their confrontation, Dorian deceives James into believing that he is too young to have known Sibyl, who killed herself eighteen years earlier, as his face is still that of a young man. James relents and releases Dorian, but is then approached by a woman from the opium den who reproaches James for not killing Dorian. She confirms that the man was Dorian Gray and explains that he has not aged in eighteen years; understanding too late, James runs after Dorian, who has gone.
One evening, during dinner at home, Dorian spies James stalking the grounds of the house. Dorian fears for his life. Days later, during a shooting party, one of the hunters accidentally shoots and kills James Vane who was unknowingly lurking in a thicket. On returning to London, Dorian tells Lord Henry that he will be good from then on; his new probity begins with not breaking the heart of the naïve Hetty Merton, his current romantic interest. Dorian wonders if his new-found goodness has reverted the corruption in the picture, but sees only an uglier image of himself. From that, Dorian understands that his true motives for the self-sacrifice of moral reformation were the vanity and curiosity of his quest for new experiences.
Deciding that only full confession will absolve him of wrongdoing, Dorian decides to destroy the last vestige of his conscience. Enraged, he takes the knife with which he murdered Basil Hallward, and stabs the picture. The servants of the house awaken on hearing a cry from the locked room; on the street, passers-by who also heard the cry fetch the police. On entering the locked room, the servants find an unknown old man, stabbed in the heart, his face and figure withered and decrepit. The servants identify the disfigured corpse by the rings on his fingers to belong to their master; beside him is the picture of Dorian Gray, reverted to its original beauty.Characters
Oscar Wilde said that, in the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), three of the characters were reflections of himself:
Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry is what the world thinks me: Dorian is what I would like to be — in other ages, perhaps. 
The characters of the story are:

Dorian Gray — a handsome, narcissistic young man enthralled by Lord Henry’s “new” hedonism. He indulges in every pleasure (moral and immoral) which life eventually leads to death.

Basil Hallward — a deeply moral man, the painter of the portrait, and infatuated with Dorian, whose patronage realises his potential as an artist. The picture of Dorian Gray is Basil’s masterpiece.

Lord Henry “Harry” Wotton — an imperious aristocrat and a decadent dandy who espouses a philosophy of self-indulgent hedonism. Initially Basil’s friend, he neglects him for Dorian’s beauty. The character of witty Lord Harry is a critique of Victorian culture at the Fin de siècle — of Britain at the end of the 19th century. Lord Harry’s libertine world view corrupts Dorian, who then successfully emulates him. To the aristocrat Harry, the observant artist Basil says, “You never say a moral thing, and you never do a wrong thing.”

Sibyl Vane — a talented actress and singer, she is the poor, beautiful girl with whom Dorian falls in love. Her love for Dorian ruins her acting ability, because she no longer finds pleasure in portraying fictional love as she is now experiencing real love in her life. She kills herself on learning that Dorian no longer loves her; at that, Lord Henry likens her to Ophelia, in Hamlet.

James Vane — Sibyl’s brother, a sailor who leaves for Australia. He is very protective of his sister, especially as their mother cares only for Dorian’s money. Believing that Dorian means to harm Sybil, James hesitates to leave, and promises vengeance upon Dorian if any harm befalls her. After Sibyl’s suicide, James becomes obsessed with killing Dorian, and stalks him, but a hunter accidentally kills James. The brother’s pursuit of vengeance upon the lover (Dorian Gray), for the death of the sister (Sybil) parallels that of Laertes vengeance against Prince Hamlet.

Alan Campbell — chemist and one-time friend of Dorian who ended their friendship when Dorian’s libertine reputation devalued such a friendship. Dorian blackmails Alan into destroying the body of the murdered Basil Hallward; Campbell later shoots himself dead.

Lord Fermor — Lord Henry’s uncle, who tells his nephew, Lord Henry Wotton, about the family lineage of Dorian Gray.

Victoria, Lady Wotton — Lord Henry’s wife, whom he treats disdainfully; she divorces him.Themes: Aestheticism and duplicity 
The greatest theme in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) is Aestheticism and its conceptual relation to living a double life. Throughout the story, the narrative presents aestheticism as an absurd abstraction, which disillusions more than it dignifies the concept of Beauty. Despite Dorian being a hedonist when Basil accuses him of making a “by-word” of the name of Lord Henry’s sister, Dorian curtly replies, “Take care, Basil. You go too far…”; thus, in Victorian society, public image and social standing do matter to Dorian. Yet, Wilde highlights the protagonist’s hedonism: Dorian enjoyed “keenly the terrible pleasure of a double life”, by attending a high-society party only twenty-four hours after committing a murder.
Moral duplicity and self-indulgence are evident in Dorian’s patronising the opium dens of London. Wilde conflates the images of the upper-class man and lower-class man in Dorian Gray, a gentleman slumming for strong entertainment in the poor parts of London town. Lord Henry philosophically had earlier said to him that: “Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders … I should fancy that crime was to them what art is to us, simply a method of procuring extraordinary sensations” — implying that Dorian is two men, a refined aesthete and a coarse criminal. 
Photo: “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, 1945 film

The Picture of Dorian Gray (storyline, characters, themes)

Source: wikipedia

The Picture of Dorian Gray begins on a beautiful summer day in Victorian era England, where Lord Henry Wotton, an opinionated man, is observing the sensitive artist Basil Hallward painting the portrait of Dorian Gray, their host, and the handsome young man who is Basil’s ultimate muse. After hearing Lord Henry’s hedonistic worldview, Dorian begins to think that beauty is the only aspect of life worth pursuing, and wishes that Basil’s portrait of him would age in his stead.

Under the hedonist influence of Lord Henry, Dorian fully explores his sensuality. He discovers the actress Sibyl Vane, who performs Shakespeare plays in a dingy, working-class theatre. Dorian approaches and courts her, and soon proposes marriage. The enamoured Sibyl calls him “Prince Charming”, and swoons with the happiness of being loved, but her protective brother, James, a sailor, warns that if “Prince Charming” harms her, he will kill Dorian Gray.

Dorian invites Basil and Lord Henry to see Sibyl perform in Romeo and Juliet. Sibyl, whose only knowledge of love was love of the theatre, foregoes her acting career for the experience of true love with Dorian Gray. Disheartened at her quitting the stage, Dorian rejects Sybil, telling her that acting was her beauty; without that, she no longer interests him. On returning home, Dorian notices that the portrait has changed; his wish has been realised, and the man in the portrait bears a subtle sneer of cruelty.

Conscience-stricken and lonely, Dorian decides to reconcile with Sibyl, but he is too late, as Lord Henry informs him that Sibyl killed herself by swallowing prussic acid. Dorian then understands that, where his life is headed, lust and good looks shall suffice. In the following eighteen years, Dorian experiments with every vice, influenced by a morally poisonous French novel, a gift received from the decadent Lord Henry Wotton.

One night, before leaving for Paris, Basil goes to Dorian’s house to ask him about rumours of his self-indulgent sensualism. Dorian does not deny his debauchery, and takes Basil to a locked room to see the portrait, made hideous by Dorian’s corruption. In anger, Dorian blames his fate on Basil, and stabs him dead. Dorian then calmly blackmails an old friend, the chemist Alan Campbell, into destroying the body of Basil Hallward by nitric acid.

To escape the guilt of his crime, Dorian goes to an opium den, where James Vane is unknowingly present. Upon hearing someone refer to Dorian as “Prince Charming”, James seeks out and tries to shoot Dorian dead. In their confrontation, Dorian deceives James into believing that he is too young to have known Sibyl, who killed herself eighteen years earlier, as his face is still that of a young man. James relents and releases Dorian, but is then approached by a woman from the opium den who reproaches James for not killing Dorian. She confirms that the man was Dorian Gray and explains that he has not aged in eighteen years; understanding too late, James runs after Dorian, who has gone.
One evening, during dinner at home, Dorian spies James stalking the grounds of the house. Dorian fears for his life. Days later, during a shooting party, one of the hunters accidentally shoots and kills James Vane who was unknowingly lurking in a thicket. On returning to London, Dorian tells Lord Henry that he will be good from then on; his new probity begins with not breaking the heart of the naïve Hetty Merton, his current romantic interest. Dorian wonders if his new-found goodness has reverted the corruption in the picture, but sees only an uglier image of himself. From that, Dorian understands that his true motives for the self-sacrifice of moral reformation were the vanity and curiosity of his quest for new experiences.

Deciding that only full confession will absolve him of wrongdoing, Dorian decides to destroy the last vestige of his conscience. Enraged, he takes the knife with which he murdered Basil Hallward, and stabs the picture. The servants of the house awaken on hearing a cry from the locked room; on the street, passers-by who also heard the cry fetch the police. On entering the locked room, the servants find an unknown old man, stabbed in the heart, his face and figure withered and decrepit. The servants identify the disfigured corpse by the rings on his fingers to belong to their master; beside him is the picture of Dorian Gray, reverted to its original beauty.


Characters

Oscar Wilde said that, in the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), three of the characters were reflections of himself:
Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry is what the world thinks me: Dorian is what I would like to be — in other ages, perhaps.

The characters of the story are:

Dorian Gray — a handsome, narcissistic young man enthralled by Lord Henry’s “new” hedonism. He indulges in every pleasure (moral and immoral) which life eventually leads to death.

Basil Hallward — a deeply moral man, the painter of the portrait, and infatuated with Dorian, whose patronage realises his potential as an artist. The picture of Dorian Gray is Basil’s masterpiece.

Lord Henry “Harry” Wotton — an imperious aristocrat and a decadent dandy who espouses a philosophy of self-indulgent hedonism. Initially Basil’s friend, he neglects him for Dorian’s beauty. The character of witty Lord Harry is a critique of Victorian culture at the Fin de siècle — of Britain at the end of the 19th century. Lord Harry’s libertine world view corrupts Dorian, who then successfully emulates him. To the aristocrat Harry, the observant artist Basil says, “You never say a moral thing, and you never do a wrong thing.”

Sibyl Vane — a talented actress and singer, she is the poor, beautiful girl with whom Dorian falls in love. Her love for Dorian ruins her acting ability, because she no longer finds pleasure in portraying fictional love as she is now experiencing real love in her life. She kills herself on learning that Dorian no longer loves her; at that, Lord Henry likens her to Ophelia, in Hamlet.

James Vane — Sibyl’s brother, a sailor who leaves for Australia. He is very protective of his sister, especially as their mother cares only for Dorian’s money. Believing that Dorian means to harm Sybil, James hesitates to leave, and promises vengeance upon Dorian if any harm befalls her. After Sibyl’s suicide, James becomes obsessed with killing Dorian, and stalks him, but a hunter accidentally kills James. The brother’s pursuit of vengeance upon the lover (Dorian Gray), for the death of the sister (Sybil) parallels that of Laertes vengeance against Prince Hamlet.

Alan Campbell — chemist and one-time friend of Dorian who ended their friendship when Dorian’s libertine reputation devalued such a friendship. Dorian blackmails Alan into destroying the body of the murdered Basil Hallward; Campbell later shoots himself dead.

Lord Fermor — Lord Henry’s uncle, who tells his nephew, Lord Henry Wotton, about the family lineage of Dorian Gray.

Victoria, Lady Wotton — Lord Henry’s wife, whom he treats disdainfully; she divorces him.


Themes: Aestheticism and duplicity

The greatest theme in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) is Aestheticism and its conceptual relation to living a double life. Throughout the story, the narrative presents aestheticism as an absurd abstraction, which disillusions more than it dignifies the concept of Beauty. Despite Dorian being a hedonist when Basil accuses him of making a “by-word” of the name of Lord Henry’s sister, Dorian curtly replies, “Take care, Basil. You go too far…”; thus, in Victorian society, public image and social standing do matter to Dorian. Yet, Wilde highlights the protagonist’s hedonism: Dorian enjoyed “keenly the terrible pleasure of a double life”, by attending a high-society party only twenty-four hours after committing a murder.

Moral duplicity and self-indulgence are evident in Dorian’s patronising the opium dens of London. Wilde conflates the images of the upper-class man and lower-class man in Dorian Gray, a gentleman slumming for strong entertainment in the poor parts of London town. Lord Henry philosophically had earlier said to him that: “Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders … I should fancy that crime was to them what art is to us, simply a method of procuring extraordinary sensations” — implying that Dorian is two men, a refined aesthete and a coarse criminal.

Photo: “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, 1945 film

"The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing." - Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”

"The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing." - Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”

Happy 160th birthday to Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet.
Oscar Wilde’s rich and dramatic portrayals of the human condition came during the height of the prosperity that swept through London in the Victorian Era of the late 19th century. At a time when all citizens of Britain were finally able to embrace literature the wealthy and educated could only once afford, Wilde wrote many short stories, plays and poems that continue to inspire millions around the world.
By the time William Wilde, Oscar’s father, was 28, he had graduated as a doctor, completed a voyage to Madeira, Teneriffe, North Africa and the Middle East, studied at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, written two books and been appointed medical advisor to the Irish Census of 1841. When the medical statistics were published two years later they contained data which had not been collected in any other country at the time, and as a result, William became the Assistant Commissioner to the 1851 Census. He held the same position for the two succeeding Censuses and, in 1864, he was knighted for his work on them. When William opened a Dublin practice specializing in ear and eye diseases, he felt he should make some provision for the free treatment of the city’s poor population. In 1844, he founded St. Mark’s Ophthalmic Hospital, built entirely at his own expense.
Before he married, William fathered three children. Henry Wilson was born in 1838, Emily in 1847 and Mary in 1849. To William’s credit, he provided financial support for all of them. He paid for Henry’s education and medical studies, eventually hiring him into St. Mark’s Hospital as an assistant. Sadly, Mary and Emily, who were raised by William’s brother, both died in a fire at the ages of 22 and 24.
Oscar’s mother, Jane Francesca Elgee, first gained attention in 1846 when she began writing revolutionary poems under the pseudonym “Speranza” for a weekly Irish newspaper, The Nation. In 1848, as the country’s famine worsened and the Year of Revolution took hold of Europe, the newspaper offices were raided and had to close. Jane, who was also a gifted linguist with working knowledge of the major European languages, went on to translate Wilhelm Meinhold’s gothic horror novel “Sidonia the Sorceress.” Oscar would later read the translation with relish, and draw on it for the darker elements of his own work.
Jane’s first child, William “Willie” Charles Kingsbury, was born on September 26, 1852 and her second, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie, on October 16, 1854. The daughter she had longed for, Isola Emily Francesca, was delivered on April 2, 1857. Ten years later, however, Emily died from a sudden fever. Oscar was profoundly affected by the loss of his sister, and for his lifetime he carried a lock of her hair sealed in a decorated envelope.
Willie and Oscar attended the Portora Royal School at Enniskillen, where Oscar excelled at studying the classics, taking top prize his last two years, and also earning a second prize in drawing. In 1871, Oscar was awarded the Royal School Scholarship to attend Trinity College in Dublin. Again, he did particularly well in his classics courses, placing first in his examinations in 1872 and earning the highest honor the college could bestow on an undergraduate, a Foundation Scholarship. In 1874, Oscar crowned his successes at Trinity with two final achievements. He won the college’s Berkeley Gold Medal for Greek and was awarded a Demyship scholarship to Magdalen College in Oxford. 
Oscar’s father died on April 19, 1876, leaving the family financially strapped. Henry, William’s eldest son, paid the mortgage on the family’s house and supported them until his sudden death in 1877. Meanwhile, Oscar continued to do well at Oxford. He was awarded the Newdigate prize for his poem, “Ravenna,” and a First Class in both his “Mods” and “Greats” by his examiners. After graduation, Oscar moved to London to live with his friend Frank Miles, a popular high society portrait painter. In 1881, he published his first collection of poetry. “Poems” received mixed reviews by critics, but helped to move Oscar’s writing career along.
In December 1881, Oscar sailed for New York to travel across the United States and deliver a series of lectures on aesthetics. The 50-lecture tour was originally scheduled to last four months, but stretched to nearly a year, with over 140 lectures given in 260 days. In between lectures he made time to meet with Henry Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Walt Whitman. He also arranged for his play, “Vera,” to be staged in New York the following year. When he returned from America, Oscar spent three months in Paris writing a blank-verse tragedy that had been commissioned by the actress Mary Anderson. When he sent it to her, however, she turned it down. He then set off on a lecture tour of Britain and Ireland.
Oscar Wilde reclining with Poems, by Napoleon Sarony in New York in 1882.Oscar Wilde reclining with Poems, by Napoleon Sarony in New York in 1882.
On May 29, 1884, Oscar married Constance Lloyd. Constance was four years younger than Oscar and the daughter of a prominent barrister who died when she was 16. She was well-read, spoke several European languages and had an outspoken, independent mind. Oscar and Constance had two sons in quick succession, Cyril in 1885 and Vyvyan in 1886. With a family to support, Oscar accepted a job revitalizing the Woman’s World magazine, where he worked from 1887-1889. The next six years were to become the most creative period of his life. He published two collections of children’s stories, “The Happy Prince and Other Tales” (1888), and “The House of Pomegranates” (1892). His first and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in an American magazine in 1890 to a storm of critical protest. He expanded the story and had it published in book form the following year. Its implied homoerotic theme was considered very immoral by the Victorians and played a considerable part in his later legal trials. Oscar’s first play, “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” opened in February 1892. Its financial and critical success prompted him to continue to write for the theater. His subsequent plays included “A Woman of No Importance” (1893), “An Ideal Husband” (1895), and “The Importance of Being Earnest” (1895). These plays were all highly acclaimed and firmly established Oscar as a playwright.
In the summer of 1891, Oscar met Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas, the third son of the Marquis of Queensberry. Bosie was well acquainted with Oscar’s novel “Dorian Gray” and was an undergraduate at Oxford. They were inseparable until Wilde’s arrest four years later. In April 1895, Oscar sued Bosie’s father for libel as the Marquis had accused him of homosexuality. Oscar withdrew his case but was himself arrested and convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years hard labor. Constance took the children to Switzerland and reverted to an old family name, “Holland.”
Upon his release, Oscar wrote “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” a response to the agony he experienced in prison. It was published shortly before Constance’s death in 1898. He and Bosie reunited briefly, but Oscar mostly spent the last three years of his life wandering Europe, staying with friends and living in cheap hotels. Sadly, he was unable to rekindle his creative fires. When a recurrent ear infection became serious several years later, meningitis set in, and Oscar Wilde died on November 30, 1900.
Numerous books and articles have been written on Oscar Wilde, reflecting on the life and contributions of this unconventional author since his death over a hundred years ago. A celebrity in his own time, Wilde’s indelible influence will remain as strong as ever and keep audiences captivated in perpetuity.
Source: http://www.cmgww.com/historic/wilde/index.php

Photo: Wilde photographed by Napoleon Sarony, New York in 1882.

Happy 160th birthday to Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet.

Oscar Wilde’s rich and dramatic portrayals of the human condition came during the height of the prosperity that swept through London in the Victorian Era of the late 19th century. At a time when all citizens of Britain were finally able to embrace literature the wealthy and educated could only once afford, Wilde wrote many short stories, plays and poems that continue to inspire millions around the world.

By the time William Wilde, Oscar’s father, was 28, he had graduated as a doctor, completed a voyage to Madeira, Teneriffe, North Africa and the Middle East, studied at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, written two books and been appointed medical advisor to the Irish Census of 1841. When the medical statistics were published two years later they contained data which had not been collected in any other country at the time, and as a result, William became the Assistant Commissioner to the 1851 Census. He held the same position for the two succeeding Censuses and, in 1864, he was knighted for his work on them. When William opened a Dublin practice specializing in ear and eye diseases, he felt he should make some provision for the free treatment of the city’s poor population. In 1844, he founded St. Mark’s Ophthalmic Hospital, built entirely at his own expense.

Before he married, William fathered three children. Henry Wilson was born in 1838, Emily in 1847 and Mary in 1849. To William’s credit, he provided financial support for all of them. He paid for Henry’s education and medical studies, eventually hiring him into St. Mark’s Hospital as an assistant. Sadly, Mary and Emily, who were raised by William’s brother, both died in a fire at the ages of 22 and 24.

Oscar’s mother, Jane Francesca Elgee, first gained attention in 1846 when she began writing revolutionary poems under the pseudonym “Speranza” for a weekly Irish newspaper, The Nation. In 1848, as the country’s famine worsened and the Year of Revolution took hold of Europe, the newspaper offices were raided and had to close. Jane, who was also a gifted linguist with working knowledge of the major European languages, went on to translate Wilhelm Meinhold’s gothic horror novel “Sidonia the Sorceress.” Oscar would later read the translation with relish, and draw on it for the darker elements of his own work.

Jane’s first child, William “Willie” Charles Kingsbury, was born on September 26, 1852 and her second, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie, on October 16, 1854. The daughter she had longed for, Isola Emily Francesca, was delivered on April 2, 1857. Ten years later, however, Emily died from a sudden fever. Oscar was profoundly affected by the loss of his sister, and for his lifetime he carried a lock of her hair sealed in a decorated envelope.

Willie and Oscar attended the Portora Royal School at Enniskillen, where Oscar excelled at studying the classics, taking top prize his last two years, and also earning a second prize in drawing. In 1871, Oscar was awarded the Royal School Scholarship to attend Trinity College in Dublin. Again, he did particularly well in his classics courses, placing first in his examinations in 1872 and earning the highest honor the college could bestow on an undergraduate, a Foundation Scholarship. In 1874, Oscar crowned his successes at Trinity with two final achievements. He won the college’s Berkeley Gold Medal for Greek and was awarded a Demyship scholarship to Magdalen College in Oxford.

Oscar’s father died on April 19, 1876, leaving the family financially strapped. Henry, William’s eldest son, paid the mortgage on the family’s house and supported them until his sudden death in 1877. Meanwhile, Oscar continued to do well at Oxford. He was awarded the Newdigate prize for his poem, “Ravenna,” and a First Class in both his “Mods” and “Greats” by his examiners. After graduation, Oscar moved to London to live with his friend Frank Miles, a popular high society portrait painter. In 1881, he published his first collection of poetry. “Poems” received mixed reviews by critics, but helped to move Oscar’s writing career along.

In December 1881, Oscar sailed for New York to travel across the United States and deliver a series of lectures on aesthetics. The 50-lecture tour was originally scheduled to last four months, but stretched to nearly a year, with over 140 lectures given in 260 days. In between lectures he made time to meet with Henry Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Walt Whitman. He also arranged for his play, “Vera,” to be staged in New York the following year. When he returned from America, Oscar spent three months in Paris writing a blank-verse tragedy that had been commissioned by the actress Mary Anderson. When he sent it to her, however, she turned it down. He then set off on a lecture tour of Britain and Ireland.

Oscar Wilde reclining with Poems, by Napoleon Sarony in New York in 1882.Oscar Wilde reclining with Poems, by Napoleon Sarony in New York in 1882.

On May 29, 1884, Oscar married Constance Lloyd. Constance was four years younger than Oscar and the daughter of a prominent barrister who died when she was 16. She was well-read, spoke several European languages and had an outspoken, independent mind. Oscar and Constance had two sons in quick succession, Cyril in 1885 and Vyvyan in 1886. With a family to support, Oscar accepted a job revitalizing the Woman’s World magazine, where he worked from 1887-1889. The next six years were to become the most creative period of his life. He published two collections of children’s stories, “The Happy Prince and Other Tales” (1888), and “The House of Pomegranates” (1892). His first and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in an American magazine in 1890 to a storm of critical protest. He expanded the story and had it published in book form the following year. Its implied homoerotic theme was considered very immoral by the Victorians and played a considerable part in his later legal trials. Oscar’s first play, “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” opened in February 1892. Its financial and critical success prompted him to continue to write for the theater. His subsequent plays included “A Woman of No Importance” (1893), “An Ideal Husband” (1895), and “The Importance of Being Earnest” (1895). These plays were all highly acclaimed and firmly established Oscar as a playwright.

In the summer of 1891, Oscar met Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas, the third son of the Marquis of Queensberry. Bosie was well acquainted with Oscar’s novel “Dorian Gray” and was an undergraduate at Oxford. They were inseparable until Wilde’s arrest four years later. In April 1895, Oscar sued Bosie’s father for libel as the Marquis had accused him of homosexuality. Oscar withdrew his case but was himself arrested and convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years hard labor. Constance took the children to Switzerland and reverted to an old family name, “Holland.”

Upon his release, Oscar wrote “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” a response to the agony he experienced in prison. It was published shortly before Constance’s death in 1898. He and Bosie reunited briefly, but Oscar mostly spent the last three years of his life wandering Europe, staying with friends and living in cheap hotels. Sadly, he was unable to rekindle his creative fires. When a recurrent ear infection became serious several years later, meningitis set in, and Oscar Wilde died on November 30, 1900.

Numerous books and articles have been written on Oscar Wilde, reflecting on the life and contributions of this unconventional author since his death over a hundred years ago. A celebrity in his own time, Wilde’s indelible influence will remain as strong as ever and keep audiences captivated in perpetuity.

Source: http://www.cmgww.com/historic/wilde/index.php

Photo: Wilde photographed by Napoleon Sarony, New York in 1882.

Morrissey in glasses (1983 - 1987)

the-hated-salford-ensemble:

Morrissey, Greater Manchester, 1986

(via thesmithsappreciation)