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FIRST ACT SCENE Morning-room in Algernon’s flat in Half-Moon Street.  The room is luxuriously and artistically furnished.  The sound of a piano is heard in the adjoining room. [Lane is arranging afternoon tea on the table, and after the music has ceased, Algernon enters.] Algernon.  Did you hear what I was playing, Lane? Lane.  I didn’t think it polite to listen, sir. Algernon.  I’m sorry for that,... more...

INTRODUCTION The editor of writings by any author not long deceased is censured sooner or later for his errors of omission or commission.  I have decided to err on the side of commission and to include in the uniform edition of Wilde’s works everything that could be identified as genuine.  Wilde’s literary reputation has survived so much that I think it proof against any exhumation of articles which he or his admirers would... more...

PROLOGUE. Scene.—A Russian Inn. Large door opening on snowy landscape at back of stage. Peter Sabouroff and Michael. Peter (warming his hands at a stove). Has Vera not come back yet, Michael? Mich. No, Father Peter, not yet; 'tis a good three miles to the post office, and she has to milk the cows besides, and that dun one is a rare plaguey creature for a wench to handle. Peter. Why didn't you go with her, you young fool? she'll... more...

THE PREFACE The artist is the creator of beautiful things.To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim.The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.The highest, as the lowest, form of criticismis a mode of autobiography.Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.Those who find beautiful meanings inbeautiful things are the... more...

[65] For years, Dorian Gray could not free himself from the memory of this book. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he never sought to free himself from it. He procured from Paris no less than five large-paper copies of the first edition, and had them bound in different colors, so that they might suit his various moods and the changing fancies of a nature over which he seemed, at times, to have almost entirely lost control. The... more...


CHAPTER 1 The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn. From the corner of the divan of Persian saddle-bags on which he was lying, smoking, as was his custom, innumerable cigarettes, Lord Henry Wotton could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and... more...

HOW THEY STRUCK A CONTEMPORARY There is such a thing as robbing a story of its reality by trying to make it too true, and The Black Arrow is so inartistic as not to contain a single anachronism to boast of, while the transformation of Dr. Jekyll reads dangerously like an experiment out of the Lancet.  As for Mr. Rider Haggard, who really has, or had once, the makings of a perfectly magnificent liar, he is now so afraid of being suspected of... more...

The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death. Women are made to be loved, not to be understood. It is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. Moren than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read. Women, as someone says, love with their ears, just as men love with their eyes, if they ever love at all. It is better to be beautiful than to be good, but it is better to be... more...

ACT I SCENE I The palace of the king of burmah.  The scene is laid in the Hall of a Hundred Doors.  In the distance can be seen the moat, the waiting elephants, and the peacocks promenading proudly in the blinding sunshine of late afternoon.  The scene discovers king meng beng seated on a raised cushion sewn with rubies, under a canopy supported by four attendants, motionless as bronze figures.  By his side is a betel-nut... more...

DE PROFUNDIS . . . Suffering is one very long moment.  We cannot divide it by seasons.  We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return.  With us time itself does not progress.  It revolves.  It seems to circle round one centre of pain.  The paralysing immobility of a life every circumstance of which is regulated after an unchangeable pattern, so that we eat and drink and lie down and pray, or kneel at... more...