Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Once again (like for The Great Gatsby), a radio show decided me to read a book, when I saw that Guillaume Gallienne aired a show about The Picture of Dorian Grey. I knew it was a great book, and unwilling to hear it read before having read it myself, I laid hands on this book.

Most of the quotes I found in this book got my attention more for their formulation than for the actual content: Lord Henry, Dorian Gray’s friend, has a talent for gibes, and as Dorian Gray phrases it “you would sacrifice anybody, Harry, for the sake of an epigram.”

Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself. p 4

But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face. [Lord Henry] p 5

The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat. They live as we all should live, undisturbed, indifferent, and without disquiet. [Basil] p 5

Ah! realise your youth while you have it. Don’t squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing… [Lord Henry] p 19

Like all people who try to exhaust a subject, he exhausted his listeners. p 29

Nowadays people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing. [Lord Henry] p 34

Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious; both are disappointed. [Lord Henry] p 34

I get hungry of her presence; and when I think of the wonderful soul that is hidden away in that little ivory body, I am filled with awe. [Dorian] p 39

[Women] create Love in our natures. They have a right to demand it back. [Dorian] p 56

[…] each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved. Difference of object does not alter singleness of passion. It merely intensifies it. We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible. [Lord Henry] p 133

I wish I could love,’ cried Dorian Gray, with a deep note of pathos in his voice. ‘But I seem to have lost the passion, and forgotten the desire. I am too much concentrated on myself. My own personality has become a burden to me. I want to escape, to go away, to forget.[…]’ p 139

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