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 Post subject: Symbolism in Dorian Gray
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 5:55 pm 
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Anyone read Dorian Gray lately? I'd love to talk about what the flowers represented in different parts of the novel. Also, what book do you think Harry gave Dorian to read that so corrupted him? Why did Harry so enjoy destroying Dorian and watching the destruction of him? Did he live vicariously through him? Why was Basel friends with Harry in the first place??????


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:52 pm 
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Yeah I read Dorian Gray lately. It's definitely my favourite book. I didn't really think that much about the meaning of flowers in the book...but probably the meaning of the flowers is in their colours, for each colour of flower has a meaning. It'd be really hard to know the book that corrupted him because there are a lot of books out there that could have corrupted a person, but it was probably on how youth can be enjoyable (and wanting to be young forever) and getting enjoyments out of being sinful maybe ? I don't think Harry was trying to live through Dorian, maybe Harry didn't like the fact that Dorian had such amazing beauty, maybe he was just trying to make Dorian more human, because Harry remember didn't seem too bothered about the whole sinning thing and all humans commit sins. Dorian on the other hand at the beginning was said to be innocent and good natured, maybe he just wanted Dorian to seem more human, because maybe to Harry Dorian was too beautiful to be human or something like that.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 8:59 pm 
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The version of the book I read has in the end notes that the "poisonous book" that Henry gave Dorian might have been À Rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans. I don't really know enough to say whether that's true or not.

I didn't really notice flowers very much, but maybe I just wasn't paying attention or something.

Also, I got the feeling that Henry didn't quite take himself as seriously as Dorian took him, and might not have quite realized what effect he'd have on Dorian. And Dorian was quite unpredictable.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:25 am 
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From The Long Conversion of Oscar Wilde, by Anddrew McCracken:
Quote:
As for Dorian Gray and its connection to Wilde's eventual conversion, the novel sits at the intersection of several fictional and actual spiritual paths. The fictional Dorian is partly coaxed into his amoral aestheticism and self-regard by reading a "poison book," a yellow-backed novel written by a Frenchman. The book he had in mind, Wilde later affirmed, was a novel of the French Decadence published in 1884 entitled A Rebours (in English, "Against the Grain" or "Against Nature"). A Rebours chronicles the life of a fictional aristocrat who gives himself over to the most perverse pleasures he can dream of. A Rebours was a daringly new sort of fiction and worked powerfully on Wilde's literary imagination. He wrote, "the heavy odor of incense seemed to cling about its pages and to trouble the brain." The fictional hero of A Rebours, as Wilde well knew, ends contemptuous of everything and unable to have faith in anything except -- perhaps -- "the terrible God of Genesis and the pale martyr of Golgotha. . . ." The novel ends with his prayer, "Lord, take pity on the Christian who doubts, on the unbeliever who would fain believe. . . ." Seven years after A Rebours was published, its author, J.-K. Huysmans, sought out a priest. In 1892 he returned to the Church and in 1900 became an oblate at a Benedictine monastery. His last three works were religious novels with Catholic settings. As for the sincerity of his religious faith, a modern editor of his work attests that he "put the doctrine into effect . . . in six months of atrocious agony, heroically borne, that preceded his death from cancer."
http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/blog/20 ... -gray.html


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 9:47 am 
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I'm almost done reading Dorian Grey right now, and I was wondering. What do you think Dorian wrote on the piece of paper to show to that scientist guy that made him agree to dispose of the body? I think it's some type of blackmail, but what?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:22 am 
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Eliea wrote:
The version of the book I read has in the end notes that the "poisonous book" that Henry gave Dorian might have been À Rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans. I don't really know enough to say whether that's true or not.

I didn't really notice flowers very much, but maybe I just wasn't paying attention or something.

Also, I got the feeling that Henry didn't quite take himself as seriously as Dorian took him, and might not have quite realized what effect he'd have on Dorian. And Dorian was quite unpredictable.


It definitely is... if you read A Rebours, you can see parallels straight away. In some ways, they're almost too close, but Wilde gets away with it because each novel functions in a different way. A Rebours is brilliant and if you like Dorian Gray, you would probably like that.

I've written several essays on Dorian Gray, and have done lots and lots of research.

So symbolism??? Where shall I start? Flowers are meant to be important - think what they mean:- intense, but fleeting beauty. Excatly what Dorian becomes scared of. I haven't looked into flowers specifically, but there's lots to work with in the novel!

I have to totally disagree with you over Henry: look back to the text, Henry says he wants to make a human psychological experiement out of Dorian. It is totally deliberate. Henry plays the devil here, as a tempter. So does Basil of course, who initially made Dorian vain. Dorian only becmoes unpredictable because of the way the other characters treat and mould him... either moulding him to their desires, or in a way in their own image.

If you're interested in the symbolism within the novel, take a look at diametric oppositionos, like real vs artificial. Even the characters who seems real-ish are steeped in theatricality.. like the Vanes who exist only on stage. Dorian is created... a tabula rasa before Basil and Henry got hold of him. What is real about Dorian? What is real in the novel at all? Look at the painting.. art and life reversed... a recurrent theme of Wilde's work and throughout the novel.

Sybil and Dorian work as art and life reversed too.. Dorian only loves Sybil when she is acting.. and accuses her of acting when she isn;t.

I'll stop now... this could go on forever! The novel is so much morecomplex than it appears on the surface...

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