Queer Horror

Picture of Dorian Gray, The

book      fiction

  • Picture of Dorian Gray, The
  • AKA:
    Portrait of Dorian Gray, The
  • Author: Oscar Wilde
  • Publisher: Ward Lock Q. and Q. Co.
  • Year: 1890
  • Country: UK
  • 109 pages
book cover

A young and beautiful lad has his portrait painted and declares that he would give his soul if he were always to be young and the painting instead would grow old.

So begins the tale of the boy's descent into low society in London while still giving dinners and musicals for high society. He is inspired by two things: the book Lord Henry sends him that seems to predict his own life in dissecting every virtue and every sin from the past; and secondly the picture of himself which grows steadily older and more vicious looking when compared to his own mirror image, that remains forever young.

Qvamp says:

Like much of his work and life, this book was controversial. In his preface to the book he famously wrote that, 'There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all'. The original version of the novel (in 1890) is much more homoerotic than the second (1891), though the second was much better written and is the one generally published.

The book never states homosexuality directly, but it follows a young man who seeks greater and greater thrills to live his life. During his life, numerous relationships are alluded to, as is how he led several young men down the path of sin and eventual death. The novel hints at his having relationships with them.

More clear is the feelings of the artist who painted the famous portrait. He describes how he is utterly fascinated and obsessed with Dorian Gray. It is quite clear that he is in love with Dorian.

The novel was used during the trial of Oscar Wilde to help prove that he was a sodomite and that he was a corrupting influence on the nation's youth.

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By: Rob Dunbar ( DunbarRbrt@aol.com )
Overall Rating: A+     Queer horror Rating: B    

Okay, so the specifically queer content is minimal, but for sheer, elegant, gloriously gay wit there's never been anything like it.


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