Celebrated novel traces the moral degeneration of a handsome young Londoner from an innocent fop into a cruel and reckless pursuer of pleasure and, ultimately, a murderer. As Dorian Gray sinks into depravity, his body retains perfect youth and vigor while his recently painted portrait reflects the ravages of crime and sensuality.
"Gr. 6^-12. For teens who find even steadily paced novels a struggle, the biting but often meandering discussions between Basil and Lord Henry in Wilde's classic can seem overwhelming and pointless. But this version's informative sidebars make the surreal tale of the beautiful young man who never ages one that teens can not only tackle but also begin to relish. When the story advances or twists, Tony Ross' colorful artwork emphasizes Wilde's absurdly witty take on Victorian provincialism. For scenes in which characters discuss aesthetics, sidebar illustrations with helpful captions explain how Wilde's philosophies influenced his characterizations. Even when the sidebars only remotely relate to the story, they provide a clear cultural outline of the mores that resulted in Wilde's public undoing and his untimely death. The supplemental information and illustrations may strike sharp YA readers as amusing or interesting, but they may be the sole reason weaker readers tackle the novel at all. --Roger Leslie"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"First published in 1890 in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine and the following year in novel form, The Picture of Dorian Gray categorically changed Victorian Britain and the landscape of literature. An ostentatious, self-confessed aesthete, known for his wit and intellect, Wilde not only had to endure his prose being labeled "poisonous" and "vulgar," but also suffer its use as evidence in the ensuing trial, resulting in his eventual imprisonment for crimes of "gross indecency." Frankel's introduction provides a deft preliminary analysis of the novel itself-exploring etymology and extensive editorial alterations (both accidental and deliberate)-and offers valuable insight into the socio-cultural juxtaposition of aristocratic Victorian society and the London underworld. The original typescript provides the unique opportunity to examine what was considered acceptable in both the US and UK at the time. Intriguing annotations allude to Wilde's influences and enterprising range of reference, incorporating art, poetry, literature, Greek mythology, philosophy, and fashion (certain to inspire further reading; an appendix is provided). Comparisons are drawn between Dorian Gray and Wilde's other literary output, as well as to the work of Walter Pater. Numerous illustrations subtly compliment Frankel`s inferences. A fine contextualization of a major work of fiction profoundly interpreted, ultimately riveting. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."