The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Confession: this is my favourite book. Of all time. Ever.

Now that that’s out of the way I should probably explain why, and what better way to do that than with a list.

  1. Wilde is witty and intelligent.
  2. Because you will come to love and hate Dorian, but above all pity him.
  3. Aside from the doomed love, sex and drug use that fuels the novel, Wilde decides to throw in a seedy criminal underworld just to liven things up.
  4. Because Lord Henry Wotton says the most outlandish things – obviously “a man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.”
  5. It may be set in 19th century London, but the resemblances to modern life and our obsession with youth and beauty are striking.
  6. There’s a portrait hidden in the attic. But not just any portrait, you definitely wouldn’t want it in an art gallery any time soon.
  7. The novel is unsettling but above all fascinating – Wilde once said that “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”
  8. Because for all of its ruminations on morality, decay and the soul, “all art is quite useless” and what better reason to love it.
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