Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oscar Wilde.THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. Ward, Lock & Co.,London, New York and Melbourne. 1891.

Oscar Wilde.THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. Ward, Lock & Co.,London, New York and Melbourne. 1891.

Value:$8,000 - $12,000


Wilde's only novel, considered by some to be his greatest work. One of the very few examples of decadent English literature, also a fantasy (listed in Bleiler as MX7- i.e. 'Magical Objects / Allegory, Symbolism). Oscar Wilde, chiding a hostile and prurient newspaper critic wrote- "Leave my book, I beg you, to the immortality that it deserves" and insisted in his preface "...there is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That's all." Dorian Gray first appeared in Lippincott's simultaneously in Philadelphia and London, on June 20, 1890. This publication was immediately followed by publication of an unauthorized, pirated version of the tale, printed June 22, 1890 in New York by M. J. Ivers & Co. Wilde then substantially revised the work and added six new chapters and this the Ward, Lock 1891 edition is the normal first edition that you see (there is also the one of 250 Large Paper copies signed by the great man.) There is a simple issue point on the trade first edition,the first issue has the word "and" misspelled "nd" on page 208 eight lines from the bottom.

The plot it is summed up in this piece of pre publicity for the new 'Dorian' movie due to hit screens on 11 September 2009 - 'A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty eternally, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all.' It stars Colin Firth as Lord Henry Wotton, the aristocrat who corrupts Gray and one Ben Barnes as the beautiful Dorian doomed in the Faustian pact. Apparently it is being done as a horror flick. It has been filmed several times notably the 1945 movie with George Sanders as Wotton --a b/w fim that bursts into Technicolor whenever the portrait is shown in close-up (as I recall.)

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