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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
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The Picture of Dorian Gray

$15.26

Retail price: $16.95

Discount: 9%

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Narrator Simon Vance

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Length 7 hours 44 minutes
Language English
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Dorian Gray, a handsome and narcissistic young man, lives thoughtlessly for his own pleasure—an attitude encouraged by the company he keeps. One day, after having his portrait painted, Dorian makes a frivolous Faustian wish: that he should always remain as young and beautiful as he is in that painting, while the portrait grows old in his stead.

The wish comes true, and Dorian soon finds that none of his wicked actions have visible consequences. Realizing that he will appear fresh and unspoiled no matter what kind of life he lives, Dorian becomes increasingly corrupt, unchecked by public opinion. Only the portrait grows degenerate and ugly, a powerful symbol of Dorian’s internal ruin.

Wilde’s dreamlike exploration of life without limits scandalized its late-Victorian audience and has haunted readers’ imaginations for more than a hundred years.

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) was born in Dublin. He won scholarships to both Trinity College, Dublin, and Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1875, he began publishing poetry in literary magazines, and in 1878, he won the coveted Newdigate Prize for English poetry. He had a reputation as a flamboyant wit and man-about-town. After his marriage to Constance Lloyd in 1884, he tried to establish himself as a writer, but with little initial success. However, his three volumes of short fiction, The Happy Prince, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, and A House of Pomegranates, together with his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, gradually won him a reputation as a modern writer with an original talent. That reputation was confirmed and enhanced by the phenomenal success of his society comedies: Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, and The Importance of Being Earnest, all performed on London’s West End stage between 1892 and 1895. In 1895, he was convicted of engaging in homosexual acts, which were then illegal, and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labor. He soon declared bankruptcy, and his property was auctioned off. In 1896, he lost legal custody of his children. When his mother died that same year, his wife Constance visited him at the jail to bring him the news. It was the last time they saw each other. In the years after his release, his health deteriorated. In November 1900, he died in Paris at the age of forty-six.

Simon Vance is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with over fifty Earphones Awards and thirteen prestigious Audie Awards. He was named Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008 and an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009.

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Reviews

“The book seems more modern than one would imagine. Rather than merely a potboiler from two centuries back, Wilde’s genius imbues the story with a strange and haunting immediacy, and a cautionary tale for us all: Be careful what you wish for.”

“Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, seems—in an age devoted to youth—unsettlingly modern.”

More than a century after its publication, Oscar Wilde’s novella The Picture of Dorian Gray is recognized as one of the classics of English literature, a masterpiece of fin-de-siècle aestheticism and in many respects a harbinger of the Modernist movement.” 

“Simon Vance’s portrayal of each character is spot-on. His Lord Henry is casual, dismissive, and haughty. His Basil Hallward, the artist infatuated with Dorian, comes across as timid and pitiful but always endearing. Best of all, Vance’s Dorian Gray exudes youth and impetuousness at the beginning but quickly darkens once the character’s madness takes hold…Vance…finds the essence of each character, making Wilde’s work a delightfully creepy listen.”

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