Fun Facts Friday: The Picture of Dorian Gray

April 29, 2011

This week, in 1891, Oscar Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900 published is wildly successful novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. The history of the book is as fascinating as the book itself.

1. Wilde’s full name is Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde.

2. The story was originally published in Lippincot’s Monthly Magazine and caused quite a stir.

3. Adding six chapters and revising the book for publication, Wilde toned down the overt homosexuality but added equally offensive comments (for Victorian England).

4. The narrator of the book is anonymous.

5. Even though famous book seller W.H. Smith refused to sell the book, it still sold well.

6. Oscar’s wife, Constance Mary (Lloyd) Wilde complained that “Since Oscar wrote Dorian Gray no one will speak to us“.

7. Oscar, however, didn’t care “I wrote this book entirely for my own pleasure” he said.

8. Wilde took the name of his protagonist from a 25 year old post office worker and poet John Gray.

9. John Gray signed his letters as “Dorian” when he was dumped by Oscar in favor of Lord Alfred Douglas (richer, younger and handsomer).

10. Lord Alfred Douglas was reported to have read “The Picture of Dorian Gray” 14 times in a row before arranging a meeting with Wilde.

Oscar Wilde

Zohar- Man of la Book

The Official Website of Oscar Wilde
Replica of the 1890 Edition & Critical Edition
The Picture of Dorian Gray study guide, themes, quotes, literary devices, character analysis, teacher resources

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  • ChelleApril 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    This is one of the few books I read but never blogged about. I got so bogged down in the descriptions it’s a miracle I finished…and I like a good Victorian description. When I was done I couldn’t bear thinking about it any longer to bother writing a post. I thought the story ended abruptly. I was like, that’s it? It’s over? So, not my favorite read. Like you said, I think the interest is in Wilde’s life at the time and not so much the book (at least for me!).

  • Jill ElizabethApril 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I LOVE Oscar Wilde – his manipulation of language and his unbelievably clever turns of phrase amaze me and make me more than a little jealous of his literary skills. While this is not my favorite of his works (that would be either “The Importance of Being Earnest” or “An Ideal Husband” – they alternate as my favorite, depending on my mood), I do still quite like it and think he managed to make it a morality tale that doesn’t over-moralize – a particularly tricksy bit of wordplay considering he was writing in Victorian England… 🙂

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy...April 29, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Fascinating! Thanks! I didn’t know any of these.

  • Nota SupermomApril 29, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I love Wilde. How could you not admire someone whose last words were “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.”

  • MelApril 29, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Enjoyed reading your post. I am a big fan of the book; read it at an impressionable age and loved it. Certainly, Wilde’s life is at least as interesting, flamboyant and contains as much pathos as any of his fiction. What a character. I read and reviewed his poem, Ballad of Reading Goal last year, and found it very moving.

  • JonathanDecember 11, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Always love to see the classics still being enjoyed. Your 10 facts were quite interesting as well. I love that kind of stuff. Guess it comes from having been a Literature major and all. Thanks for posting!

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