Criticism of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay examples

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Criticism of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

The novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, written by Oscar Wilde originally appeared in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine in 1890. It was then published in 1891, in book form, containing six additional chapters with revisions. The first reviews of Dorian Gray were mostly unfavorable. It was condemned for its speculative treatment of immoral or at least uncomfortable subjects. A review in the St. James’s Gazette by Samuel Henry Jeyes, journalist and biographer was titled "‘A Study in Puppydom." Jeyes refers to Wilde’s idle, “effeminate” characters in the book and writes: “The puppies appear to fill up the intervals of talk by plucking daisies and playing with them, and
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Wilde’s lifestyle may have caused him to be snubbed in certain social situations. It maybe that he drew on his own experiences to create the atmosphere of scandal in the last chapters, even though, other than murder, the protagonist’s “sins” are never named and only briefly alluded to.

Wilde was obviously upset by the public controversy concerning moral issues that occurred after the appearance in Lippincott's. The reason he added the six additional chapters was to take on more of a conventional Victorian nature and to tone down the passages which may have been described as homo-erotic in spirit.

The prejudice against Wilde is best demonstrated in the reviews of his previous short stories and prose fiction as compared to Dorian Gray. Even though his works are consistent in style and theme, while Dorian Gray was criticized severely, the earlier stories were praised not only for their “morality” but also for their literary competence.

He had earned temporary notoriety for his earlier works but with the novel, as
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