The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a book written by Oscar Wilde. This is the lone novel produced by the writer before he acquired fame. It was released in 1890 in an issue of the Lippincott’s Monthly magazine, but the novel did not gain the attention that Wilde had hoped for. Instead the book was heavily criticized and labeled as immoral and of scandalous nature. Wilde was unpleased with this review of his novel and immediately began making changes. The result was a novel with many changes, six new chapters and now a preface. The book was re-written in 1891, one year after its original release.

The Inspiration for the Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde was a devoted lover of art. He used aestheticism in his works, thus he believed that art was more than what the beholder’s eyes saw. Art, according to Wilde, possess intrinsic value and needed to serve no other purpose other than this one alone. This was the same ideals that were found in England during revolutionary periods of time. The book, written with this basis, gave readers a novel that was more of a puzzle that would need to be put together. There is great speculation over the meaning of The Picture of Dorian Gray, although at the end of the preface Wilde himself explains how great diversity is a work of art and vital to success.

The Life of Oscar Wilde

In 1891, Wilde began a relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas. Douglas was an inspiring poet but he had little talent. The affair, one of homosexual nature, obviously caused a great amount of conflict and scandal, even from Wilde’s father himself. It was this relationship that would earn Wilde the consequence of two years of hard labor, after his father went public about this son’s relationship. He was convicted for acts of gross indecency. While sentenced to hard labor Wilde would produce a latter to his lover which was titled Out of the Depths. Upon release he travelled to France and Italy and lived in poverty. He never again published a novel, although he would release a pseudonym in 1898 titled the Ballad of Reading Gaol. Oscar Wilde passed away November 30, 1900 after being converted to Cat holism as he died.


Oscar Wilde was able to produce only work of art during his time. This work was not acclaimed as he had hoped but a revision would bring forth the talk that Wilde wanted. His fame would be short lived, however, as his homosexual relationship stirred things up and he was sentenced to serve time. Although we have but one work from Wilde, it is a work well worth the read.

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