Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

 “I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.”

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland on October 16th, 1854 and died impoverished in Paris on November 30th, 1900.

"I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china."

He was often ridiculously flamboyant and a brilliant conversationalist.  Celebrated and praised by glittering London society and the fashionable elite, he energetically expressed his own daring, personal style through long hair, colorful clothes and a habit of carrying little bouquets when lecturing.

"The only thing worse in the world than being talked about is not being talked about."

Mostly known as a playwright in the early 1890s, Wilde also exercised his writing talents & wit into works of poetry, epigrams, essays, dialogues and his one novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

“With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?”

First appearing in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine in the summer of 1890, The Picture Of Dorian Gray was the only published novel by Oscar Wilde. From the magazine version, Wilde amended and revised the story into the novel that was then published in April of 1891 by Ward, Lock And Company. The craving to stay young and beautiful is certainly not foreign to our present age… but what lengths will you go to preserve it. Leading a double life is a dangerous and tricky path to walk.

“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”

Fame, a fourteen-year marriage to the wealthy Constance Lloyd and various law suits, combined with unprincipled friends and a growing double life of his own to send Wilde into a decline that finally carried him into a prison sentence at Pentonville and then Wandsworth Prison in London. 

His health ruined, Oscar Wilde went into exile in Paris and spent his last days there in a dismal room -  about which he quipped – “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death.  One of us has got to go.”   Originally a pension house called Hôtel d’Alsace, this renovated Left Bank luxury hotel now offers a stay in various rooms famous for their former occupants – including The Oscar Wilde Room.

"Never trust a woman who tells you her real age; a woman who tells you that would tell you anything."

Buried in Père Lachaise cemetery, Oscar Wilde’s monument was kissed so many times with red-lipsticked smooches that to prevent further damage, it has been encased in glass.  It remains a favorite grave in the famed Paris cemetery.

The next read for The Jane Austen Tea Society will be – The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.  Find a copy to start reading now!  Our book tea to discuss this enjoyably discussable read will be July 14th, 2012!

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