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The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition

The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition

by Oscar Wilde, Nicholas Frankel


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The Picture of Dorian Gray altered the way Victorians understood the world they inhabited. It heralded the end of a repressive Victorianism, and after its publication, literature had—in the words of biographer Richard Ellmann—“a different look.” Yet the Dorian Gray that Victorians never knew was even more daring than the novel the British press condemned as “vulgar,” “unclean,” “poisonous,” “discreditable,” and “a sham.” Now, more than 120 years after Wilde handed it over to his publisher, J. B. Lippincott & Company, Wilde’s uncensored typescript is published for the first time, in an annotated, extensively illustrated edition.

The novel’s first editor, J. M. Stoddart, excised material—especially homosexual content—he thought would offend his readers’ sensibilities. When Wilde enlarged the novel for the 1891 edition, he responded to his critics by further toning down its “immoral” elements. The differences between the text Wilde submitted to Lippincott and published versions of the novel have until now been evident to only the handful of scholars who have examined Wilde's typescript.

Wilde famously said that Dorian Gray “contains much of me”: Basil Hallward is “what I think I am,” Lord Henry “what the world thinks me,” and “Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.” Wilde’s comment suggests a backward glance to a Greek or Dorian Age, but also a forward-looking view to a more permissive time than his own, which saw Wilde sentenced to two years’ hard labor for gross indecency. The appearance of Wilde’s uncensored text is cause for celebration.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674057920
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/11/2011
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 162,062
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Nicholas Frankel is Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Date of Birth:

October 16, 1854

Date of Death:

November 30, 1900

Place of Birth:

Dublin, Ireland

Place of Death:

Paris, France


The Royal School in Enniskillen, Dublin, 1864; Trinity College, Dublin, 1871; Magdalen College, Oxford, England, 1874

What People are Saying About This

David Leavitt

Nicholas Frankel has done a great service to Oscar Wilde's readers in preparing this new edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray. His introduction and annotations deepen our understanding not only of Wilde the writer but of the political and sexual milieu in which he lived and published. This is the kind of scholarship that reminds us why scholarship matters.

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Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
hroethgar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Marvellous edition capturing the history of the book as well as the text itself.
-ledavi More than 1 year ago
My favorite book of all time ever. I've read it multiple times and probably won't stop! This is the third version of this novel that I own and I am so incredibly glad that it was released unedited like this. As soon as I caught the news, I made it down to B&N to buy it -- with my lunch money, no less. The annotations are helpful and insightful and interesting, in my opinion. Some people might be bothered by them, or distracted by the disruption, but if you're good at ignoring the interrupted flow of the story like that, then I recommend this book, one-hundred percent!
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