Dorian Gray

The one really great thing with The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen is that it finally got me to read Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, who is one of the gentlemen in question, although his qualification to that designation is not beyond doubt. Otherwise, the film is good entertainment.

So, I just finished the book on my way to Warsaw and had a nice debate about it with the flight attendant on Swiss. She saw me reading it and since it was her A-levels literature, she asked what I thought about it. Well, it is an artfully crafted, entertaining horror story. The entertainment lies in seductive, diabolical Lord Henry, who is not only a dyed-in-the-wool aesthete, but also a walking collection of all too true aphorisms. He is entirely debauched and amoral, yet he is all talk, no action (big hat and no cattle might be a rather rustic term for that). Dorian Gray however is an ambivalent character: refined, yet completely self-centered and immoral in every practical aspect possible, but eventually, he is looking for redemption. The horror plays itself out in his mind, where he projects his debaucherie on a portrait of him done by a painter friend of his, whom he murders because he thinks that the picture grows old (and ugly) instead of him. An altogether fantastic read, but not for the weak minded.

And now I am off to see a bit of Warsaw.

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