The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray

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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 cultivated. Forthese there is hope.They are the elect to whom beautiful thingsmean only Beauty.There is no such thing as a moral or an immoralbook. Books are well written, orbadly written. That is all.The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticismis the rage of Caliban not seeinghis own face in a glass.The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matterof the artist, but the morality of art consistsin the perfect use of an imperfect medium.No artist desires to prove anything. Eventhings that are true can be proved.No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethicalsympathy in an artist is an unpardonablemannerism of style.No artist is ever morbid. The artistcan express everything.Thought and language are to the artist instrumentsof an art.Vice and virtue are to the artist materialsfor an art.From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type.All art is at once surface and symbol.Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.Diversity of opinion about a work of art showsthat the work is new, complex, and vital.When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.All art is quite useless.

Oscar Wilde.

THE PICTURE OFDORIAN GRAY CHAPTER I

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 saddlebags 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 honey-coloured blossoms of a laburnum, whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flame-like as theirs; and now and then the fantastic shadows of birds in flight flitted across the long tussore-silk curtains that were stretched in front of the huge window, producing a kind of momentary Japanese effect, and making him think of those pallid jade-faced painters of Tokio who, through the medium of an art that is necessarily immobile, seek to convey the sense of swiftness and motion....