Oscar Wilde: Art and Morality | Stuart Mason | *Non-fiction, Biography & Autobiography | 1/2
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section 11 of Oscar Wilde art and morality a defense of the Picture of Dorian Gray edited by Stuart Mason this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Martin Gleason section 11 if the man's work is easy to understand an explanation is unnecessary and if his work is incomprehensible an explanation is wicked profuse and perverted the review in the speaker which Oscar Wilde referred to in his letter to the Scots observer was as follows by a stroke of good fortune singular to this season the two stories which we have taken up to review this week turned out to be each in its way of no slight interest footnote the second story was / furthered the career of Ninian Jamison by John Davidson Ward and Downey of mr. Wilde's work this was to be expected let it be granted to begin with that the conception of the story is exceedingly strong a young man of remarkable beauty perfect in body but undeveloped or rather lacking altogether in soul becomes the dear friend of a painter of genius the artist under the spell of this friendship is painting the youths portrait enter to them the spirit of evil in the shape of Lord Henry Wotton an extremely fair – yet gentlemen who buy a few inspiring words supplies or calls into life the boy is missing soul and it is an evil one henceforward the tale develops the growth of this evil soul side by side with this mystery that while vice and debauchery write no wrinkle on the boy's face but pass from it as a breath of a pain every vile actions caused its mark upon the portrait which keeps accurate record of a loathsome life it has been insinuated that this story should be suppressed in the interest of morality mr. Wilde has answered that art and ethics have nothing to do with each other his boldness in resting his defense on the general proposition is the more exemplary as he might fairly have insisted on the particular proposition that the teaching of the book is conspicuously right in morality if we have correctly interpreted the books motive and we are at a loss to conceive what other can be twice this position is unassailable there is perhaps a passage or so in the description of Dorian's decline that were better omitted but this is a matter of taste the motive of the tale then is strong it is in his treatment of it that mr. Wilde has failed and his mistakes are easy of detection whether they can be as readily corrected his doubtful to begin with the author has a style as striking as his matter but he has entirely missed reconciling the two there is an amateurish lack of precision in the descriptive passage they are labored viniq in overlaid with paint and therefore they want vigor the Picture of Dorian Gray has been compared very naturally with dr. Jekyll and mr. Hyde and we would invite mr. Wiles to take up that story and consider the bold sharply-defined strokes with which its atmosphere and Melia are putting such brevity as mr. Stevenson's comes from shyness of knowledge not want of care and is the first sign of mastery nor is mr. Wilde too wordy alone he is too paradoxical only the cook who has yet to learn will run riot in truffles we will admit at once that Lord Henry's epigrams of admirable examples taken separately but a story demands simplicity and proportion and here we have neither it demands restraint and here we find profusion only its demands poignant and here the point is too often obscured by mere cleverness Lord Henry's mission in the book is to lead Dorian Gray to destruction and he does so if you please at the end of a string of epigrams in fact we should doubt that mr. Wilde possessed the true storytellers temperament we're it not for some half-a-dozen passages here is one where Dorian tells of his engagement to Sibyl vane of the actress lips he says that Shakespeare taught to speak have whispered their secret in my ear I have had the arms of Rosalinda found me and kissed Juliet on the mouth yes Dorian I suppose you were right said Hallward slowly have you seen now today said Lord Henry Dorian Gray shook his head I left her in the Forest of Arden I shall find her in an orchard in Verona Lord Henry sipped his champagne in a meditative manner at what particular points did you mention the word marriage Dorian and what did she say in answer perhaps you forgot all about it My dear Hallie I did not treat it as a business transaction and I did not make any formal proposal I told her that I loved her and she said she was not worthy to be my wife not worthy why the whole world is nothing to me compared to her women are wonderfully practical murmured Lord Henry much more practical than we are the last chapter of the tale is good storytelling throughout in style and matter as gordas chapter 9 is bad footnote chapter 9 in the Lippincott version is chapter 11 in later editions the last chapter 13 being afterwards divided into two nineteen and twenty and when mr. Wilde thoroughly sees why two particular sentences in that last chapter the park is quite lovely now I don't think there have been such lilacs since the year I met you though trivial in themselves are full of significance and beauty in their setting he will be far on the road to eminence in fiction he has given us a work of serious art strong and fascinating in spite of its blemishes will he insist on being taken seriously and go on to give us a better end of section 11 section 12 of Oscar Wilde art and morality a defense of the Picture of Dorian Gray edited by Stuart Mason this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Martin Gleason section 12 the Picture of Dorian Gray a spiritualistic review by Necedah the following review of dorian gray referred to by oscar wilde in his second letter to the Scots observer was published in the issue of light dated July the 12th 1890 this is a journal of psychical occult and mystical research ma oxen writing in the same paper a few weeks later mentions that Oscar Wilde says of light that it is the organ of the English mystics and adds I do not like that word organ at the same time MA oxen refers to the Scots observer as being bright wise witty and not at all aggressive the review is here given in its entirety mr. Oscar Wilde has created a new character in fiction one likely to absorb public attention with a similar weird fascination – that produced by the renowned dr. Jekyll and mr. Hyde and with a more lasting and beneficial moral effect than had mr. Stevenson surprising creation a deeply conceived psychological study upon entirely new lines enriched by the stored wealth of a mind which has spared no pains in the pursuit of sensuous beauty and which has to all appearance reveled in deepest drafts from that sparkling and alluring fountain but what a spiritual lesson has he drawn there from a lesson graphically and powerfully set forth in the fascinating pages which present to us the life of Dorian Gray a modern are CSIS enamored of his own beauty which proves a lure to draw him down into the deepest hell's of sensual indulgence from whence he sinks into a still deeper abyss of crime introduced as an innocent rather effeminate youth of extraordinary and fascinating beauty Dorian Gray has his eyes opened to the fact that he possesses beauty and his slumbering vanity and egotism awakened by the insidious flatteries of a hardened cynic spring at once into activity and from that moment begins the downward course skillfully the author depicts the budding and gradual unfolding of this baleful life blossom of the animal soul seeking only the selfish gratification of the senses refined indeed by education and artistic culture but notwithstanding purely animal Nate times best still by degrees the still small voice the voice of the higher self which spiritually overshadows the unsophisticated youth is deadened in the soul all the humane merciful spiritually beautiful sentiments and emotions of the better nature are strangled in their infancy for Dorian Gray drinks so deeply of the intoxicating cup of sensuous gratification that his nature becomes transformed to that of a demon beautiful outwardly but within hideous all this is depicted with a master hand the underlying lesson for those who can find it being the danger to the soul which lies in an egotistic love and idolatrous cherishing of one's own personal beauty for male or female equally perilous but the author by an ingenious device presents to us an objective image of the subjective transformation gradually going on in Dorian Gray's soul which for startling vividness and horror surpasses the effects usually produced by the novelist's art Dorian Gray whilst retaining the youthfulness vigorous health and unimpaired beauty of his external form at the same time witness is the objective presentment of his soul's growing loathesome hideousness and its falling into disease to decrepitude into an ugliness beyond conception at first horrified by this he becomes at length accustomed to it and at certain stages of his downward course after the commission of new excesses he repairs to this silent recorder of his deeds and unveiling it seeks for fresh indication of the gradual decay and corruption which are unfailingly represented on this physical side of his being as time went on he grew more and more enamored of his own beauty mourned more interested in the corruption of his own soul he would examine with minut care and often with a monstrous and terrible delight the hideous lines that seared the wrinkling forehead or crawled around the heavy sensual mouth wondering sometimes which were the more horrible the signs of sins or the signs of age he would place his white hands beside the coarse bloated hands of the picture and smile he mocked the misshapen body and the failing limbs never does he feel a moment of repentance the disgusting image however haunts him with a terror of discovery drawing him back from distant places to assure himself of its hidden security and to contemplate it with a hideous fascination the loathsome horror never departs from his consciousness from its veiled seclusion it exerts over him a spell of diabolical enchantment and he knows that it is he himself but his mirror presents to his gaze the personal beauty he cherishes and the world continues to be fascinated by his charm many become fascinated to their serious moral and spiritual injury his victims on numerous innocent women and upright young men no but for him would have led virtuous useful lives with his beautiful body cared for as one would care for some rare exotic blossom going about the world with a charming appearance of harmlessness and even innocence he murdered souls in secret as completely as if with his slender white tape her fingers he might have clutched their throats and strangled the life out of their bodies and all this rottenness all this corruption had been proximately caused by a seed dropped into a soil prepared for it the soul left doubtless from the Karma of some previous life a seed dropped from the flattering tongue of Lord Henry Wotton tended and skillfully fostered into a surprising precociousness by his insidious worthless cynicism x' and/or a coulis of history's a man out of whose life had departed every wholesome savor who poisoned the lives of others and led them to sin whilst apparently he sinned not himself as a friend once said to him you never say a moral thing and you never do a wrong thing your cynicism is simply a pose his whole life was however a sin concealed behind a mask of bone on me a fashionable cheerfulness and pleasantness of manner a hollow cadaver full of the dust and ashes of a burnt-out life one of Lord Henry Wotton 'he's specious sophistries was this the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it well wrap oneself confidingly in the folds of a boa constrictor hoping to save one's life there by Lord Henry's apt pupil Dorian Gray followed this advice scrupulously only to increase the power of temptation which never after found him unwilling until at last all of his higher nature was suffocated the author skillfully depicts the insidious baleful influence of Lord Henry Wotton but attributes the corruption of Dorian Gray's soul to a book which Lord Henry loaned him he says the her Nestle's new of strange manners of poisoning poisoning by a helmet and a lighted torch by an embroidered glove and a jeweled fan by a gilded pomander and by an amber chain Dorian Gray was poisoned by a book there were moments when he looked on evil simply as a mode through which he could realize his conception of the beautiful Dorian Gray had conceived the idea that his life was the product of many preceding lives the author causes him to make the following reflections he used to wonder at the shallow psychology of those who conceived the ego in man as a thing simple permanent reliable and of one essence to him man was a being with myriad lives and myriad sensations a complex multiform creature that bore within itself strange legacies of thought and passion and whose very flesh was tainted with the monstrous maladies of the dead he loved to stroll through the gaunt cold picture gallery of his country house and look at the various portraits of those whose blood flowed in his veins here was Philip Harbert described by Francis Osborne in his memoirs on the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James as one who was caressed by the court for his handsome face which kept him not long company was it young Harvard's life that he sometimes led had some strange poisonous germ crept from body to body till it had reached his own was it some dim sense of that ruined grace that had made him so suddenly and almost without cause give utterance in basil hallward's studio to that mad prayer which had so changed his life here in gold embroidered red doublet jewelled surcoat and gilt-edged ruff and wrist bands stood Sir Anthony Sherrod with his silver and black armour piled at his feet what at this man's legacy been had the lover of Giovanna of Naples bequeathed him some inheritance of sins and shame where his own actions merely the dreams that the dead man had not dared to realize here from the fading canvas smiled Lady Elizabeth develo in her gauze hood pearled stomacher and pink slashed sleeves a flower was in her right hand and her left clasped an enameled collar of white and Damus roses on a table by her side lay a mandolin and an apple there were large green rosettes upon her little pointed shoes he knew her life and the strange stories that were told about her lovers had he something of her temperament in him those oval heavy-lidded eyes seemed to look curiously at him what of George Willoughby with his powdered hair and fantastic patches how evil he looked the face was saturnine and swarthy and the sensual lips seems to be twisted with disdain delicate lace ruffles fell over the leaden yellow hands that was so over laden with rings he had been a macaroni of the 18th century and the friend in his youth of Lord Ferrars what of the second Lord Sharad the companion of the Prince Regent in his wildest days and one of the witnesses of the secret marriage with mrs. Fitzherbert how proud and handsome he was with his chestnut curse and insolent pose what passions had he bequeathed the world had looked upon him as infamous he had led the orgies at Carlton house the star of the Garter glittered upon his breast beside him hung the portrait of his wife a pallid thin-lipped woman in black her blood also stirred within him how curious it all seemed what a pity Dorian did not see that the sole reason for a plurality of lives was that very thirst of the animal soul for the sensual pleasures of the material life in which he so wildly indulged and yet with a diabolical smooth and easy method in his madness seeking ever the externally beautiful Beauty fled indeed before the gaunt ugliness of crime but when this happened to Dorian he coolly turned his back and went in search of new sensations and in his search for sensations that would be at once new and delightful and possess that element of strangeness that is so essential to romance he would often adopt certain modes of thought that he knew to be really alien to his nature abandon himself to their subtle influences and then having as it were caught their color and satisfied his intellectual curiosity leave them with that curious indifference that is not incompatible with a real ardour of temperament and that indeed according to certain modern psychologists is often a condition of it veil it as he would his extreme moral corruption became known crept out from beneath skillful concealment and was born by the breath of gossip and scandal whispering of its enormities he was blackballed in a West End Club and when brought by a friend into a smoking room of the Carlton the Duke of beric and another gentleman got up in a marked manner and went out curious stories became current about him after he had passed his twenty-fifth year men would whisper to each other in corners or pass him with a sneer or look at him with cold searching eyes of such insolence 'as and attempted slights he of course took no notice and in the opinion of most people his frank manner his charming boyish smile and the infinite grace of that wonderful youth that seems never to leave him where in themselves a sufficient answer to the calumnies for so they called them the twist circulated about him the life at length culminates in the commission of a crime of the most cruel treacherous and dastardly character it is successfully concealed the extraordinary coolness even peace of mind which story an experiences after this deed of horror is powerfully depicted but he does feel a few momentary weak qualms of conscience he spares one of his victims and he thinks of beginning a new life then imagining himself becoming purified he longs to see how his silent recorder looks he expects to find some wonderful improvement in the aspect of the loathesome hidden self he has created so he repairs to his hiding place it is more loathesome than ever and presents new aspects of ugliness in a moment of supreme disgust and aversion he seizes a knife to destroy it by so doing he ends his physical life the only occult explanation of the catastrophe which befalls him is that he commits astral suicide by the murderous attack he ignorantly makes upon that which represented to him his own soul the blue reverts to his physical body and he falls dead there is in this book a wonderful spiritual insight into the inner life of the human being arising in all probability from that intuition we all more or less possess a sort of flash of truth upon the mind which is not known at the moment to be really true but is supposed to be the mere weaving of a graceful prolific fancy a similar power lay at the back of mr. har Stevenson's creation of dr. G kill casting upon the tale so powerful as spiritual light that all readers were held by the spell of its enchantment the same feeling of being under a spell fills the reader of the Picture of Dorian Gray the same subtle spiritual effect of the aura of evil flows out from the book especially at those moments when Dorian is contemplating the image of his soul's corruption not in this instance that the evil so powerfully felt poisons the mind as poor Dorian was poisoned for life by his French novel but one gets a feeling of painful horror and sickening disgust it is not easy to shake off one seems to have glanced momentarily into the deepest abyss of hell and to have drawn back totally sickened by a subtle effluvium this singular power possessed by both these writers reveals a certain growth or development in them of the spiritual nature which need not necessarily as yet convert either of these gentlemen into saints or angels although doubtless they are both very good men the lesson taught by mr. Oscar Wilde's powerful story is of the highest spiritual import and if it can be not believed merely but accepted as a literal fact a mysterious variety in the life of a human being that the invisible soul within the body that alone which lives after death is deformed bestia lized and even murdered by a life of persistent evil it ought to have the most beneficial effect upon society let him depict the soul as he may except in the case of basil Hallward mr. Wilde never rises above the animal soul in man it is the animal soul alone dominated by a refined but perverted intellect seeking an animal gratification in sensuous beauty which he puts before us Dorian Gray suffocated in its infancy the only germ of spiritual soul he possessed end of section 12 section 13 of Oscar Wilde art and morality a defense of the Picture of Dorian Gray edited by Stuart Mason this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Martin Gleason section 13 the fact of a man being a poisoner is nothing against his prose illustration parallel Jew the fat boy in pig quick startles the old lady Oscar the fat boy in Lippincott's startles mrs. Grundy Oscar the fat boy I want to make your flesh creep reproduced by special permission of the proprietors of punch punch on Dorian Gray by special permission of the proprietors of punch the following review is reproduced from the issue of that journal dated July 19 1890 our booking-office the Baron has read Oscar Wilde's wildest and Oscar rest work called Dorian Gray a weird sensational romance completing one number of Lippincott's magazine the balan recommends anybody who revels in Diablo II to begin it about half-past ten and to finish it in one sitting up but those who do not say Ravel he advises either not to read it at all or to choose the day time and take it in homeopathic doses the portrait represents the soul of the beautiful canny median gray whose youth and beauty lasts to the end or his soul like John Brown's those marching on into the wilderness of sin it becomes at last a deviled soul and then Dorian sticks a knife into it as any ordinary mortal might do and fork also and next morning lifeless but hideous heel a while the portrait has recovered the perfect beauty which it possessed when it first left the artists easel if Oscar intended an allegory the finish is dreadfully wrong does he mean that place sacrificing his earthly life Dorian Gray atones for his infernal sins and so purifies his soul by suicide heavens I am no preacher says the barren and perhaps Oscar didn't mean anything at all except to give us a sensation to show how like puller Linton's old world style he could make his descriptions and dialogue and what an easy thing it is to frighten the respectable mistress Grundy with the bow gay hmm the style is decidedly literally his aphorisms are wild yet forced mr. Oscar Wilde says of his story it is poisonous if you like but you cannot deny that it is also perfect and perfection is what we artists aim at perhaps but we artists do not always hit what we aim at and despite his confident claim to unerring marksmanship one must hazard the opinion but in this case mr. Wilde has shot wide there is indeed more of poison than of perfection in Dorian Gray the central idea is an excellent if not exactly a novel one and a finer art say that of Nathaniel Hawthorne would have made a striking and satisfying story of it Dorian Gray is striking enough in a sense but it is not satisfying artistically any more than it is so ethically mr. Wilde has preferred the sensuous and Piper decorative manner of mademoiselle de Meaux pam and without go jays power has spoiled too promising conception by clumsy an ideal treatment his decoration upon which he plumes himself is indeed laid on with a trowel the luxuriously elaborate details of his artistic headin ism are too suggestive of South Kensington Museum and aesthetic encyclopedias a truer art would have avoided both the glittering conceits which bedecked the body of the story and the unsavory suggestiveness which lurks in its spirit poisonous yes but the loathly leprous distilment taints and spoils without in any way subserve impression artistic or otherwise if mrs. Grundy doesn't read it the younger Grundy's do that is the Grundy's who belong to clubs and who care to shine in certain sets where this story will be much discussed hmm I have read it and except for the ingenious idea I wish to forget it says the Baron end of section 13 section 14 of Oscar Wilde heart and morality a defense of the Picture of Dorian Gray edited by Stuart Mason this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Martin Gleason section 14 the note of doom that like a purple thread runs through the texture of Dorian Gray a revulsion from realism by an H Wharton footnote Lippincott's monthly magazine September 1890 in all ages and climes mankind has found delight in romances based upon the mystic the improbable and the impossible from the days when the Norse poet sang their sagas through long northern nights and the fair Shahrazad and a southern moon charmed her bloodthirsty Lord by her tales of wonder to our own day when Stevenson and Crawford and Haggard hold fancies spellbound by their entirely improbable stories Scott and bulla played with master hands upon the love of the mysterious and supernatural inherent in mankind Dickens and others have is saved to gratify its demands but with less daring and having an eye always on the moorings of the actual their success has been less marked with the Elder Hawthorne such romance writing seemed the natural growth of an exquisitely sensitive and spiritual nature while among later French writers tail feel gucci and ed more abou have entered into the domain of the impossible as into the natural heritage of their genie yes sporting in its impalpable ether with the tuneful a bonds or of a fish in the sea or a bird in the air hampered by no bond of the actual weighted by no encumbrances the material it is not strange that the great influx of realistic novels that has flowed in upon the last decade should be followed by a revulsion to the impossible in fiction men and women wearied with meeting the same characters and events in so-called romance that they encounter in everyday life or saddened by the depressing if dramatic pictures of Tolstoy and the cool vivisection of humanity presented by absinthe turn with a sense of rest and refreshment to the guidance of those who like Robert Louis Stevenson and rider Haggard leads them suddenly into the mystic land of wonder Oh like Marion Crawford and mrs. Oliphant delight to draw them my gentle and easy stages from the midst of a well-appointed setting of everyday life into the shadowy borderland that lies between the real and the unreal much of the success of such romance writing rests upon the rebound natural to humanity from intense realism to extreme ideology more perhaps upon the fact that this age which is grossly material is also deeply spiritual these two facts well in view mr. Oscar Wilde has fallen into line and entered the lists with some of the most successful masters of fiction in his novel of the Picture of Dorian Gray written for the July lipping cuts mr. Wilde like Balzac and the authors of Faust and John Ingalls and presents to us the drama of a human soul while alike gujia and abou he surrounds his utterly impossible story with a richness and depth of coloring and a Grace and airiness of expression that make the perusal of its pages an artistic delight if mr. Wilde's romance resembles the productions of some of the writers of the French School in its reality and tone it still more strongly resembles mr. Stevenson's most powerfully wrought fairy tale dr. Jekyll and mr. Hyde although the moral of the story is brought out even more plainly as plainly indeed as in the drama of Faust in both mr. Stevenson's and mr. Wilde stories there is a transformation or substitution in one the soul of dr. Jekyll appears under different exteriors in the other some fine influence passes from the soul of Dorian Gray into his portrait and their works a gradual and subtle change upon the pictured lineaments although mr. Wilde's extravaganza is far less dramatic than that of mr. Stevenson it has the advantage of richer colouring and a more human setting if we may so express it the characters in the Picture of Dorian Gray enjoy life more than mr. Stevenson's creations who seemed to have had so dollar time of it happed the best that they might have been expected to welcome a tragedy as a relief to the tedium of their daily lives mr. Utterson we are told was good but he was evidently not particularly happy which was the case with the other person of the drama with the exception of those who were signally had shed on the other hand mr. wilds characters are happy during their little day their world is a luxurious perfumed land of delight until sin transforms it and even after Lord Henry has corrupted the nature of Dorian Gray with evil books and worldly philosophy he occasionally drinks of the waters of Lethe and enjoys some fragments of what may be called happiness my Lord Henry himself seems to derive a certain satisfaction from the practice of his methods of alien art and in his entire freedom from the restraints of conscience in a tale of the impossible it is not required that the writer should be true to life animate or inanimate yet in the fact that there are glimpses of light through the clouds that surround his dramatis personae that they inhabit a world in which the laburnum hangs out yellow clusters in June and the clematis robes itself with purple stars and the Sun sheds gold and the moon silver despite the tragedy that touches the lives of its inhabitants is not mr. Wilde quite as true to nature as to art the reader may reasonably question the author's good taste in displaying at such length his knowledge of antique decoration and old-world crime as in chapter 9 footnote chapter 11 in the 1891 edition which besides being somewhat tiresome clogs the dramatic movement of the story yet on the other hand it must be admitted that none but an artist and an apostle of the beautiful could have so sympathetically portrayed the glowing hues and perfumes of the garden in which Dorian Gray had first presented to his lips the cup of life and none other could have so pictured the luxurious surroundings of his home for whose embellishment the known world had been searched for hangings ornaments and Rica black amid such an hour through harsh of modern London life with its sybaritic indulgence its keenness of wit and it's subtle intelligence mr. Wilde places his characters and works out his miracle viewing his own portrait just completed by an artist friend Dorian Gray turns from it filled with envy and dissatisfaction because it has been whispered in his ear that youth is the supreme possession in life and that when youth and beauty have fled from his face and form this pictured presentment will live forever a perpetual mockery of himself whom withering age has overtaken under the influence of his evil genius Lord Henry Wotton Dorian Gray utters a prayer that he may always remain young and the portrait alone revealed the ravages of time sin and sorrow the realization of this idea is the theory of mr. Wilde's romance and the air of probability with which he has endowed the absolutely impossible evidence is the artistic and dramatic power of the writer the portrait of Dorian Gray painted in days of innocence and loveliness when his mere presence symbolized to the artist the entire harmony between beauty of body and beauty of soul changes day by day with the degradation of his nature while the living Dorian Gray after years of sin remorseless cruelty and corruption of thought and action preserves all the Grace and fairness of his Antinous like youth love in this romance is an incident not its crowning event although an important incident as a revelation of the character of Dorian Gray the reader never meets Sibyl vane he merely sees her on the stage and hears of her from the lips of her lover yet even thus she appeals to us as an exquisite personation of maidenhood with all its purity and all its tenderness as shadow in outline as the fair child whom Buller allows to captivate the imagination of Kenema chillingly who caught butterflies talked philosophy and died young yet who in her brief transit across his path realized to his poetic soul all the best possibilities of life spiritual and material Sibyl vane comes to us curtain to fulfill her widely different mission which was to reveal to Dorian Gray the sad fact that his soul had passed beyond her sweet and ennobling influence his artistic and intellectual senses were touched by her beauty and dramatic power but to the beauty that made her worthy to be loved his eyes were blind his heart was insensible the tragedy of the story the climax of the situation is not the death of Sibyl vane nor even the Heelys murder of the friend who dared to give Dorian Gray Gord Council but the disclosure that Dorian's soul once open to all good influences had by yielding to the malign domination of his evil genius passed beyond the reach of love pity or remorse it is needless to say that Dorian Gray is not a very substantial character the most entertaining though not the most exemplary personage of the story is Lord Henry Wotton who by his preaching and practice of the doctrine of hedonism lead storyand gray into all known and unknown evil until finally his darkling shadow outreaches in depravity the imagination of his temperature when his victim has sunk so low in sin that the world shuns him Lord Henry still enjoys his gay consciousness existence and continues to utter the Parsee flourish that constitutes much of the attraction of the book as well as of his society debonair witty learn it giving expression to aphorisms as keen as the sayings of Thackery's characters with the moral element eliminated and as cynical as those of Maurice with exquisite taste and the fascination of a finished man of the world Lord Henry belongs us truly on the material side of his nature to the life of today as he obtains on its spiritual side to the region of Pluto a gay child of the great London social world he hovers eerily around and about the emotions of life declaring that death is the only thing that ever terrifies him and that death and vulgarity are the only thing because in the 19th century that one cannot explain away the climax of your Henry's sardonic worldliness is reached when he becomes the spectator of his own domestic ID if he may be said to have any and speaks to Dorian of his divorce from his wife as one of the latest sensations of London remarking apropos of his music the man with whom my wife ran away played Chopin exquisitely poor Victoria I was very fond of her the house is rather lonely without her Lord Henry is so entirely true to himself and the worst that is in him that towards the close of the book when Dorian announces that he is going to be good and begs his friend not to poison another young life with the book with which he had corrupted his we find ourselves trembling for Dorian's one remaining ally especially when he exclaims My dear boy you are really beginning to moralize you will soon be going about warning people against all the sins of which you have grown tired you are not too delightful to do that besides it is no use you and I are what we are and we will be what we will be had not the hero stabbed himself or his picture which was it it is only a question of time how soon Dorian Gray with the slightest of the Trojan of conscience would have ceased to charm him who had welcomed him as a de beauté are on the stage of pleasure where to use his favorite saying the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it Dorian Gray struggling against the temptations of the world would have proved an in artistic and disturbing element in the life of Lord Henry all that is needed to complete the tale is Lord Henry's own comment on the highly dramatic taking off of his friend this chapter mr. Wilde true to his artistic instinct has not finished preferring to leave appetite unappeased rather than to create satiety by making his mephistopheles say precisely what one would expect him to say under the circumstances end of section 14 section 15 of Oscar Wilde art and morality a defense of the Picture of Dorian Gray edited by Stuart Mason this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Martin Gleason section 15 the romance of the impossible by Julian hearth on footnote living monthly magazine September 1891 has latterly taken to the impossible as its quarry the pursuit is interesting and edifying if one goes properly equipped and with adequate skill but if due care is not exercised the impossible turns upon the hunter and grinds him to powder it is a very dangerous and treacherous kind of wild fowl the conditions of its existence if existence can be predicated of that which does not tastes are super kulia and abstruse that only genius is really capable of taming it and leading it captive but the capture when it is made is so delightful and fascinating that every tyro would like to try one is reminded of the princess of the fairy tale who was to be one on certain preposterous terms and if the terms were not met the discomforted suitor lost his head many misguided or overweening youths perished at last the one succeeded failure in a romance of the impossible is apt to be a disastrous failure on the other hand success carries great rewards of course the idea is not a new one the writings of the alchemists are stories of the impossible the fashion has never been entirely extinct pal Zak ropes the Cordish sacrum and probably this tail is as good awarness was ever written of that kind the possessor of the skin may have everything he wishes for but each wish causes the skin to shrink and when it is all gone the wish is annihilated with it by the art of the writer this impossible thing is made to appear quite feasible by touching the chords of coincidence and fatality the readers common sense is soothed to sleep we feel that all this might be and yet no natural law be violated and yet we know that such a thing never was and never will be but the vitality of the story as of all good stories of the sort is due to the fact that it is the symbol of a spiritual Verity the life of indulgence The Selfish life destroys the soul this psychic truth is so deeply felt that it's sensible embodiment is rendered plausible in the case of another famous romance Frankenstein the technical art is entirely wanting a worse story from the literary point of view has seldom been written but the soul of it so to speak is so potent and obvious that although no one actually reads the book nowadays everybody knows the gist of the idea Frankenstein has entered into the language for it is a perpetual truth of human nature at the present moment the most conspicuous success in the line we are considering is Stevenson's dr. Jekyll and mr. Hyde the author's literary skill in that awful little parable is at its best and makes the most of every point to my thinking it is an artistic mistake to describe Hyde's transformation as actually taking place in plain sight of the audience the sense of spiritual mystery is thereby lost and a mere brute miracle takes its place but the tale is strong enough to carry this imperfection and the moral significance of it is so Catholic it so comes home to every soul that considers it but it has already made an innovation impression on the public mind every man is his own G kill and hide only without the magic powder on the bookshelf of the impossible mr. Stevenson's book may take its place beside PAL sacks mr. Oscar Wilde the apostle of beauty has in the July number of Lippincott's magazine a novel or romance hid partakes of the qualities of both which everybody will want to read it is a story strange in conception strong in interest and fitted with a tragic and ghastly climax like many stories of its class it is open to more than one interpretation and there are doubtless critics who will deny that it has any meaning at all it is at all events a salutary departure from the ordinary English novel with the hero and heroine of different social stations the predatory black sheep the curate the settlements and society mr. Wilde as we all know is a gentleman of an original and audacious turn of mind and the commonplace is scarcely possible to him besides his advocacy of novel ideas in life art dress and demeanor had led us to expect surprising things from him and in this literary age it is agreed that a man may best show the best there is in him by writing a book those who read mr. Wilde story in the hope of finding in it some compact and final statement of his theories of life and manners will be satisfied in some respects and dissatisfied in others but not many will deny that the book is a remarkable one and would attract attention even had it appeared without the author's name on the title page the Picture of Dorian Gray begins to show its quality in the opening pages mr. wilds writing has what is called color the quality that forms the mainstay of many of readers works and it appears in the sensuous descriptions of nature and of the decorations and environments of the artistic life the general aspect of the characters and the tenor of their conversation remind one a little of Vivian gray and a little of Pelham but the resemblance does not go far mr. Wilde's objects and philosophy are different from those of either Disraeli or bulla meanwhile his talent for aphorisms and epigrams may fairly be compared with there's some of his clever sayings are more than clever they show real insight and a comprehensive grasp there which is generally cynical but they are put into the mouth of one of the characters Lord Harry and mr. Wilde himself refrains from definitely committing himself to them there one cannot help suspecting that mr. Wilde regards Lord Harry as being an uncommonly Abell fellow be that as it may Lord Harry plays the part of old Harry in the story and lives to witness the destruction of every other person in it he may be taken as an imaginative type of all that is most evil and most refined in modern civilization a charming gentle witty euphemistic methis tov Alize who deprecates the vulgarity of goodness and muses aloud about those renunciations that men have unwisely called virtue and those natural rebellions that wise men still calls upon the whole Lord Harry is the most a bleep or trade character in the book though not the most original in conception Dorian Gray himself is as nearly a new idea in fiction as one has nowadays a right to expect if he had been adequately realized and worked out mr. Wilde's first novel would have been remembered after more meritorious ones were forgotten but even as Nemo repent F which will be CMAs so no one or hardly any one creates a thoroughly original figure at a first si Dorian never quite solidifies in fact his portrait is rather the more real thing of the two but this needs explanation the story consists of a strong and marvelous central idea illustrated by three characters all men there are a few women in the background but they are only mentioned they never appear to speak for themselves there is true a valet who brings in his master's breakfasts and a chemist who by some scientific miracle disposes of a human body but substantially the book is taken up with the artist who paints the portrait with his friend Lord Harry aforesaid and with Dorian Gray who might so far as the story goes stand alone he and his portrait are one and they union points the moral of the tale the situation is as follows Dorian Gray is a youth of extraordinary physical beauty and grace and pure and innocent of soul an artist sees him and Falls aesthetically in love with him and finds in him a new inspiration in his art both direct and general in the lines of his form and features and in his coloring and movement are revealed fresh and profound laws he paints him in all guises and combinations and it is seen and admitted on all sides that he has never before painted so well at length he concentrates all his knowledge and power in a final portrait which has the vividness and grace of life itself and considering how much both of the sitter and of the painter is embodied in it might almost be said to live the portrait is declared by Lord Harry to be the greatest work of modern art and he himself thinks so well of it but he resolves never to exhibit it even as he would shrink from exposing to public gaze the privacy's of his own nature on the day of the last sitting a singular incident occurs Lord Harry meeting with Dorian Gray for the first time is no less impressed than was Hallward the artist with the youths of radiant beauty and freshness but whereas Hallward would keep Dorian unspotted from the world and would have him resist evil temptations and all the elements of corruption Lord Harry on the contrary with a truly satanic ingenuity discourses to the young man on the matchless delights and privileges of youth youth is the golden period of life youth comes never again in youth only are the senses endowed with divine potency only then our joys exquisite and pleasures unalloyed let it therefore be indulged without stint let no harsh and cowardly restraints be placed upon its glorious impulses men of that to us through fear and selfishness they are too dull or too timid to take advantage of the godlike gifts that are showered upon them in the morning of existence and before they can realize the folly of their self-denial the morning has passed and weary day is upon them and the shadows of night are near but let Dorian who is matchless in the vigor and resources of his beauty rise above the base shrinking from life that calls itself goodness let him accept and welcome every natural impulse of his nature the tragedy of old age is not that one is old but that one is young let him so live that when old age comes he shall at least have the satisfaction of knowing that no opportunity of pleasure and indulgence has escaped unti stood this seductive sermon profoundly effects the innocent Dorian and he looks at life and himself with new eyes he realizes the value as well as the transitoriness of that youth and beauty which hitherto he had accepted as a matter of course and as a permanent possession gazing on his portrait he laments that it possesses the immortality of loveliness and comeliness that is denied to him and in a sort of imaginative despair he utters a wild prayer that to the portrait and not to himself may come the feebleness and hideousness of old age that whatever sins he may commit to whatever indulgences he may surrender himself not upon him but upon the portrait may the penalties and disfigurements fall such historians prayer and though at first he suspects it not his prayer is granted from that hour the evil of his life is registered upon the face and form of his pictured presentment while he himself goes unscathed day by day each fresh sin that he commits stamps its mark of degradation upon the painted image cruelty sensuality treachery all nameless crimes corrupt and rend a hideous the effigy on the canvas he sees in it the gradual pollution and ruin of his soul while his own fleshly features deserve unstained all the freshness and virginity of his sinless youth the contrast at first alarms and horrifies him but at length he becomes accustomed to it and finds a sinister delight in watching the progress of the awful change he locks up the portrait in a secret chamber and constantly retires thither to ponder over the ghastly miracle no one but he knows or suspects the incredible truth and he guards like a murder secret this visible revelation of the different between what he is and what he seems this is a powerful situation and the reader may be left to discover for himself how mr. Wilde works it out end of section 15 section 16 of Oscar Wilde art and morality a defense of the Picture of Dorian Gray edited by Stuart Mason this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Martin Gleason section 16 Peter who is on the whole the most perfect master of English prose now creating amongst us walter pater on dorian gray there is always something of an excellent talk about the writing of mr. Oscar Wilde wrote Pater in reviewing Dorian Gray for the Bookman footnote November 1891 and in his hands has happened so rarely with those who practice it the form of dialogue is justified by its being really alive his genial laughter loving sense of life and it's enjoyable intercourse goes far to obviate any crudité there may be in the paradox with which as with the bright and shining truth which often underlies it mr. Wilde startling his countrymen carries on more perhaps than any other writer the brilliant critical work of Matthew Arnold the decay of lying for instance is all but unique in its half humour yet wholly convinced presentment of certain valuable truths of criticism conversational ease the fluidity of life felicitous expression are qualities which have a natural alliance to the successful writing of fiction and side-by-side with mr. Wilde's intentions so he entitles his critical efforts comes a novel certainly original and affording the reader of fair opportunity of comparing his practice as a creative artist with many a precept he has announced as critic concerning it a wholesome dislike of the commonplace rightly or wrongly identified by him with the bourgeois with our middle class its habits and tastes leads him to protest emphatically against so-called realism in art life as he argues with much plausibility as a matter of fact when it is really awake following art the fashion of which an effective artists sense while art on the other hand influential and effective art has taken its cue from actual life in Dorian Gray he is true certainly on the hill to the aesthetic philosophy of his intentions yet not infallibly even on this point there is a certain amount of the intrusion of real life and it sordid aspects the low theatre the pleasures and griefs the faces of some very unrefined people managed of course cleverly enough the interlude of Jim vane is half sullen but wholly faithful care for his sisters honor is as good as perhaps anything of the kind marked by homely but real pesos sufficiently proving a versatility in the writers talent which should make his books popular clever always this book however seems intended to set forth anything but a homely philosophy of life for the middle class a kind of dainty epicurean Theory rather yet fails to some degree in this and one can see why a true Epicureanism aims at a complete though harmonious development of man's entire organism to lose the model sense therefore for instance the sense of sin and righteousness as mr. Wilde's hero his heroes are bent on doing as speedily as completely as they can is to lose no lower organization to become less complex to pass from a higher to a lower degree of development as a story however a partly supernatural story it is first-rate in artistic management those epicurean niceties only adding to the decorative color of its central figure like so many exotic flowers like the charming scenery and the perpetual epic dramatic surprising yet so natural conversations like an atmosphere all about it all that Pleasant accessory detail taken straight from the culture the intellectual and social interests the conventionalities of the moment have in fact after all the effect of the better sort of realism throwing into relief the adroitly devised supernatural element after the of PO but with a grace he never reached which supersedes that earlier didactic purpose and makes the quite suffice in interest of an excellent story we like the hero and spite of his somewhat unsociable devotion to his heart Hollywood better than Lord Henry Wotton he has too much of a not very really refined world in him and about him and his somewhat cynical in yinz which sometimes seem to be those of the writer who may however have intended Lord Henry as a satiric sketch mr. Wilde can hardly have intended him with his cynic Amity of mind and temper any more than the miserable end of Dorian himself to figure the motive and tendency of a true ceranae Accor epicurean doctrine of life in contrast with Hallward the artist whose sensibilities idealized the world around him the personality of Dorian Gray above all into something magnificent and strange we might say that Lord Henry and even more than from the first suicidal hero loses too much in life to be a true epicurean loses so much in the way of impressions of pleasant memories and subsequent hopes which Hallward by a really epic EURion economy manages to secure it should be said however in fairness that the writer is impersonal seems not to have identified himself entirely with any one of his characters and waton cynicism who whatever it be at least makes a very clever story possible he becomes the spoiler the fair young man whose bodily form remains unnamed while his picture the shade earth of the artist Hallward changes miraculously with the gradual corruption of his soul how true what a light on the artistic nature is the following on actual personalities and their revealing influence in art we quoted as an example of mr. Wilde's more serious style I sometimes think that there are only two errors of any importance in the world's history the first is the appearance of a new medium for art and the second is the appearance of a new personality for art also what the invention of oil painting was to the Venetians the face of Antinous was too late Greek sculpture and to the face of Dorian Gray will someday be to me it is not merely that I paint from him draw from him sketch from him of course I have done all that but he is much more to me than a model or a sitter I won't tell you that I am dissatisfied with what I have done of him well that his beauty as such that art cannot express it there is nothing that art cannot express and I know that the work I have done since I met Dorian Gray his god work is the best work of my life but in some curious way his personality has suggested to me an entirely new manner in art an entirely new mode of style I see things differently I can now recreate life in a way that was hidden from me before Dorian himself there was certainly a quite unsuccessful experiment in epicureanism in life as a fine art is till his inward spoiling takes visible effect suddenly and in a moment at the end of his story a beautiful creation but his story is also a vivid though carefully considered exposure of the corruption of a soul with a very plain moral Post home to the effect that vice and crime make people coarse and ugly general Vedas nevertheless will probably care less for this moral less will have fine varied largely appreciative culture of the writer in evidence from page to page then for the story itself with its adroitly managed supernatural incidents it's almost equally wonderful applications of natural science impossible surely in fact but plausible enough in fiction its interest turns on that very old theme old because based on some inherent experience or fancy of the human brain of a double life of doppelganger not of two persons in this case but of the man and his portrait the latter of which as we hinted above changes decays is spoiled while the former through a long course of corruption remains to the outward eye unchanged still in all the beauty of a seemingly immaculate to use the devil's bargain but it would be a pity to spoil the readers enjoyment by further detail we need only emphasize once more the skill the real subtlety of art the ease and fluidity with all of one telling a story by word of mouth with which the consciousness of the supernatural is introduced into and maintained amid the elaborately conventional sophisticated disabused world mr. Wilde depict so cleverly so mercilessly the special fascination of the piece is of course just there at that point of contrast mr. Wilde's work may fairly claim to go with that of Edgar Poe and with some good French work of the same kind done probably in more or less conscious imitation of it the Athenaeum in reviewing the Picture of Dorian Gray in its issue of June 27th 1891 under the heading of novels of the week said mr. Oscar Wilde's paradoxes are less wearisome when introduced into the chatter of society than when he rolls them off in the course of his narrative some of the conversation in his novel is very smart and while reading it one has the pleasant feeling not often to be enjoyed in the company of modern novelists of being entertained by a person of decided ability the idea of the book may have been suggested by boughs acts for the shagging and it is none the worse for that so much may be said for the Picture of Dorian Gray but no more except perhaps that the author does not appear to be in earnest for the rest the book is unmanly sickening vicious though not exactly what is called improper and tedious mr. RH share hard in his recently published life of Oscar Wilde Werner lorry 19 or six gives some interesting particulars as to the reasons which induced Wilde to write the book while the viewers of a French literature on Dorian Gray may be read in Monsieur Andre sheets study a translation of which by the present editor was issued from the holliwell Press Oxford in 1905 end of section 16 section 17 of Oscar Wilde art and morality a defense of the Picture of Dorian Gray edited by Stuart Mason this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Martin Gleason section 17 a critic cannot be fair in the ordinary sense of the word the morality of Dorian Gray the question of the morality of Dorian Gray was dealt with very fully during the trial of the Marquess of Queensbury for libel and also in the subsequent trials of Wilde himself when the libel action having collapsed Wilde was transferred from the witness box to the dock at the trial of Lord Queensbury at the Old Bailey on April the 3rd 1895 Sir Edward Clark in his opening speech for the prosecution referred to what he called an extremely curious count at the end of the plea namely that in July 1890 mr. Wilde published or caused to be published with his name upon the title page a certain immoral and indecent work with the title of the Picture of Dorian Gray which was intended to be understood by the readers to describe the relations intimacies and passions of certain person's guilty of unnatural practices that censor Edward was a very gross allegation the volume could be bought at any bookstore in London it had mr. Wilde's name on the title page and had been published five years the story of the book was that of a young man of good birth great wealth and great personal beauty whose friend paints a picture of him Dorian Gray expresses the wish that he would remain as in the picture while the picture aged with the years his wish was granted and he soon knew that upon the picture and not upon his own face the scars of trouble and bad conduct were falling in the end he stabbed the picture and fell dead the picture was restored to its pristine beauty while his friends find on the floor the body of a hideous old man I shall be surprised said counsel in conclusion if my learned friend mr. Carson can pitch upon any passage in that book which does more than described as novelists and dramatists may they must describe the passions and the fashions of life Lord Queens praise counsel was mr. now Sir Edward Carson MP he proceeded after Sir Edward Clark's speech to cross-examine mr. Wilde on the subject of his writings counsel you are of opinion I believe that there is no such thing as an immoral book witness yes am i right in saying that you do not consider the effect in creating morality or immorality certainly I do not so far as your works are concerned you pose as not being concerned about morality or immorality I do not know whether you use the word posed in any particular sense it is a favorite word of your own is it I have no poles in this matter in writing a play or a book I am concerned entirely with literature that is with art I am NOT at doing good or evil but in trying to make a thing that will have some quality of beauty after the criticisms that were passed on Dorian Gray was it modified a good deal no additions were made in one case it was pointed out to me not in a newspaper or anything of that sort but by the only critic of the century whose opinion I set high as the Walter Pater that a certain passage was liable to miss construction and I made one addition this is in your introduction to Dorian Gray there is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book books are well written or badly written that is all that expresses my view of art then I take it that no matter how immoral the book may be if it is well written it is in your opinion a good book yes if it were well written so as to produce a sense of beauty which is the highest sense of which a human being can be capable if it were badly it would reduce a sense of disgust then a well-written book putting forward perverted moral views may be a good book no work of art ever puts forward views views be known to people who are not artists a novel of a certain kind might be a good book I do not know what you mean by a novel of a certain kind then I will suggest Dorian Gray as open to the interpretation of being a novel of that kind that could only be to brutes and illiterate an illiterate person reading Dorian Gray might consider it such a novel the views of illiterate on art are unaccountable I am concerned only with my view of art I do not care tuppence what other people think of it the majority of persons would come under your definition of Philistines and illiterate I have found wonderful exceptions do you think the majority of people live up to the position you are giving us I am afraid they are not cultivated enough not cultivated enough to draw the distinction between a good book and a bad book certainly not the affection and love of the artist of Dorian Gray might lead an ordinary individual to believe that it might have a certain tendency I have no knowledge of the views of ordinary individuals you did not prevent the ordinary individual from buying your book I have never discouraged him mr. Carson read an extract extending to several pages from Dorian Gray using the version as it appeared in Lippincott's magazine describing the meeting of Dorian Gray and the painter basil Hallward now I ask you mr. Wilde added counsel do you consider that that description of the feeling of one man towards another a youth just grown up was a proper or an improper feeling I think replied the author it is the most perfect description of what an artist would feel on meeting a beautiful personality which was in some way necessary to his art and life counsel you think that is a feeling a young man should have towards another witness yes as an artist mr. Carson proceeded to read another long extract mr. Wilde asked for a copy and was given one of the complete edition mr. Carson in calling his attention to the place remarked I believe it was left out in the purged edition witness I do not call it purged counsel yes I know that but we will see mr. Carson then read a lengthy passage from Dorian Gray as originally published and said do you mean to say that that passage describes the natural feeling of one man towards another it would be the influence produced on an artist by a beautiful personality was the reply counsel a beautiful person witness I said a beautiful personality you can describe it as you like Dorian Gray was the most remarkable personality may I take it that you as an artist have never known the feeling described here I have never allowed any personality to dominate my heart then you have never known the feeling you described no it is a work of fiction so far as you are concerned you have no experience as to its being a natural feeling I think it is perfectly natural for any artist to admire intensely and love a young man it is an incident in the life of almost every artist but let us go over it phrase by phrase I quite admit that I adored you madly what do you say to that have you ever adored a young man madly no not madly I prefer love that is a higher form never mind about that let us keep down to the level we are at now I have never given adoration to anybody except myself loud laughter I suppose you think that a very smart thing not at all then you never had that feeling no the whole idea was borrowed from Shakespeare I regret to say yes from Shakespeare's sonnets mr. Carsen continuing to read I adored you extravagantly do you mean financially go yes financially do you think we are talking about finance I do not know what you are talking about don't you well I hope I shall make myself very plain before I have done I was jealous of everyone to whom you spoke have you ever been jealous of a young man never in my life I wanted to have you all to myself did you ever have that feeling no I should consider it an intense nuisance an intense bore I grew afraid that the world would know of my idolatry why should he grow afraid that the world should know of it because there are people in the world who cannot understand the intense devotion affection and admiration that an artist can feel for a wonderful and beautiful personality these are the conditions under which we live I regret them these unfortunate people that have not the high understanding that you have might put it down to something wrong undoubtedly to any point they chose I am NOT concerned with the ignorance of others in another passage Dorian Gray receives a book it was the book to which you refer a moral book not well written pressed further upon this point and as to whether the book he had in mind was not of a certain tendency mr. Wilde declined with some warmth to be cross-examined upon the work of another artist it was he said an impertinence and a vulgarity he admitted that he had in his mind a French book entitled a Hibou mr. Carson wanted to elicit mr. wilds view as to the morality of that book but Sir Edward Clarke succeeded on an appeal to the judge in stopping any by the reference to it counsel then quoted another extract from the Lippincott version of Dorian Gray in which the artist tells Dorian of the scandals about him and finally asks why is your friendship so fateful two young men asked whether the passage in it's Ordinary meaning did not suggest a certain charge witness stated that it described Dorian Gray as a man of very corrupt influence though there was no statement as to the nature of his influence but as a matter of fact he added I do not think that one person influences another nor do I think there is any bad influence in the world counsel a man never corrupts a youth I think not nothing could corrupt him if you are talking of separate ages mr. Carson no sir I am talking common sense witness I do not think one person influences another you do not think that flattering a young man making love to him in fact would be likely to corrupt him no on the assembling of the court on the following day mr. Wilde who arrived 10 minutes late after saying to the judge my lord pray accept my apologies for being late in the witness box was examined by Sir Edward Clark in reference to Dorian Gray the witness said mr. walter pater wrote me several letters about it and in consequence of what he said I modified one passage the book was very widely reviewed among others by mr. Pater himself I wrote a reply to the review that appeared in the Scots observer the subject then dropped on the last day of mr. wilds first trial at the Central Criminal Court May the 1st 1895 the judge Mr Justice Charles in his summing up dealt with the literary part of the case and again Dorian Gray came under consideration the judge said that a very large portion of the evidence of mr. Wilde at the trial of Lord Queensbury was devoted to what Sir Edward Clarke had called the literary part of the case it was attempted to show by cross-examination of mr. Wilde as to works he had published especially in regard to the book called Dorian Gray that he was a man of most unprincipled character with regard to the relation of men to boys his lordship said he had not read that book and he assumed that the jury had not but they had been taught that it was the story of a youth of a vicious character whose face did not reveal the abysus of wretchedness into which he had fallen but a picture painted by an artist friend revealed all the consequences of his passion in the end he stabs the picture whereupon he himself falls dead and on his vicious face appear all the signs which before had been upon the picture his lordship did not think that in a criminal case that jory should place any unfavorable inference upon the fact that mr. Wilde was the author of Dorian Gray it was unfortunately true that some of their most distinguished and noble-minded writers who had spent their lives in producing wholesome Treacher had given to the wild books which were paying for two persons of ordinary modesty and decency to read Sir Edward Clark had quoted from Coleridge Judge snowman by his books but his lordship would prefer to say confound no man with the characters of the persons he creates because a novelist put into the mouth of his villain the most abominable sentiments it must not be assumed that he shared them it will be remembered on this occasion that jury were unable to agree on a verdict as to whether mr. Wilde was guilty or not of the charges brought against him in the second trial which began on may the 22nd following the subject of his books was not mentioned end of section 17 section 18 of Oscar Wilde a heart and morality a defense of the Picture of Dorian Gray edited by Stuart Mason this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Martin Gleason section 18 mr. Robert Buchanan on pagan viciousness mr. Robert Buchanan the well-known writer in a letter dated April 23rd 1895 expressed his own views on this subject in the columns of the star referring to an anonymous correspondent in the same newspaper who had accused mr. Wilde of gun viciousness this was more than a month before a verdict of guilty had been returned against him mr. Buchanan asks has even a writer like this no sense of humor does he seriously contend that the paradoxes and absurdities with which mr. Wilde once amused us were meant as serious attacks on public morality two-thirds of all mr. Wilde has written is purely ironical and it is only because they are now told that the writer is a wicked man that people begin to consider his writings wicked I think he adds I am as well-acquainted as most people with mr. wilds works and I fearlessly assert that they are for the most part as innocent as a naked piggy be that's what a much misunderstood Dorian Gray it would be easy to show that it is a work of the highest morality since its whole purpose is to point out the effect of selfish indulgence and sensuality in destroying the character of a beautiful human soul but it is useless to discuss these questions with people who are colorblind I cordially echo the cry that failing a little knowledge of literature a little Christian charity is sorely wanted end of section 18 recording by Martin Geeson in Hazel nursery end of Oscar Wilde art and morality a defense of the Picture of Dorian Gray edited by Stuart Mason

Oscar Wilde: Art and Morality | Stuart Mason | *Non-fiction, Biography & Autobiography | 2/2

11: [00:00:00] – 11 – Profuse and Perfervid

12: [00:09:15] – 12 – A Spiritualistic Review. By "NIZIDA"

13: [00:33:45] – 13 – Punch on "Dorian Gray"

14: [00:40:45] – 14 – A Revulsion from Realism. By Anne H. Wharton

15: [00:59:19] – 15 – The Romance of the Impossible. By Julian Hawthorne

16: [01:18:29] – 16 – Walter Pater on "Dorian Gray"

17: [01:34:11] – 17 – The Morality of "Dorian Gray"

18: [01:54:34] – 18 – Mr Robert Buchanan on Pagan Viciousness

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