The only novel written by Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray is part of the Irish literature culture worldwide. First published in 1890, this novel faces philosophical mayor themes, like the human duplicity, fading beauty and decadence.
It’s strange to think that a novel that will become one of the most famous and iconic books worldwide, was initially only considered an indecent work, not fitting into the social frame of mind. In fact, the book was censored and several parts were never published (as many great works at that time).
Dorian is a handsome man that has a hedonistic world view, thinking that beauty is the only thing worth pursuing in life; the novel in fact begins with an artist, Basil Hallward, that paints a portrait of Dorian Gray, considered his muse.
Dorian will experiment every human vice possible, while his portrait become more and more horrible. At a certain point, the artist of the portrait is only able to identify it as his work by his signature.
One of the major hidden meanings of the book is the analyze of how important it was to fit into the Victorian Age Society, but that no one was as he seemed and people had secret lives that they were too ashamed of reveal. Everyone was ashamed of being what they truly were! But not Dorian.
The degeneration of the portrait symbolizes the degeneration of Dorian’s soul. Outside he was really beautiful, but he could do nothing to not let the portrait transform day after day;
This work has several interpretations, and Wilde himself made textual revisions and expanded the text, so you can find censored editions, and editions with passages added to the novel.