Book Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray

From the publisher: Oscar Wilde began writing this 13-chapter draft for Lippincott’s Magazine in 1889. Its pages showcase the writer’s tremendous craft, but also his self-censorship in the context of 19th century English homophobia. Basil Hallward’s use of the word “beauty” in reference to Dorian Gray is, for example, replaced by the softer “good looks”. The word “passion” becomes “feeling,” “boy” is replaced by “lad”. Passages are also crossed out, such as Basil’s confession: “the world becomes young to me when I hold [Dorian Gray’s] hand.” By April 1890, Wilde had finished the manuscript and had it typed out to submit to Lippincott’s. James Stoddart, the publisher, accepted the piece but still expressed concern about its homoerotic overtones. He began to censor Wilde’s text, deleting about 500 words. He removed single words as well as entire sentences, such as Basil’s tirade that in his portrait “There was love in every line, and in every touch there was passion”.

Hand-numbered from 1 to 1.000, each book is presented in a 14×10 inch slipcase, bound, and sewn using only the finest materials. The slipcase and cover ornamentations are gilt embossed, and the pages are printed using vegetal ink on environmentally friendly paper.

This book is fabulous and I highly recommend it if you collect books and such. I have included a few photos which will show the publication size and the handwritten manuscript, which makes it a tough read.