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The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

 

 

Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, first appeared, in a shorter version, in Lippincott’s Magazine in the Summer of 1890. Devoted to a school of thought and a mode of sensibility known as aestheticism, Wilde believed that art possesses an intrinsic value—that it is beautiful and therefore has worth, and thus needs serve no other purpose, be it moral or political. This attitude was revolutionary in Victorian England, where popular belief held that art was not only a function of morality but also a means of enforcing it. The novel is florid and echoes themes that became pronounced in the three-act tragedy that Oscar Wilde made of his life.