Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Intro: The Picture of Dorian Gray



The studio was filled with the rich odor of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn. 
From the corner of the divan of Persian saddle-bags on which he was lying, smoking, as usual, innumerable cigarettes, Lord Henry Wotton could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and honey-colored blossoms of the laburnum, whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flame-like as theirs; and now and then the fantastic shadows of birds in flight flitted across the long tussore-silk curtains that were stretched in front of the huge window, producing a kind of momentary Japanese effect, and making him think of those pallid jade-faced painters who, in an art that is necessarily immobile, seek to convey the sense of swiftness and motion. The sullen murmur of the bees shouldering their way through the long unmown grass, or circling with monotonous insistence round the black-crocketed spires of the early June hollyhocks, seemed to make the stillness more oppressive, and the dim roar of London was like the bourdon note of a distant organ.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde

I recently started my Classics Club Spin book, but haven't made much progress. My edition has 254 pages, so it shouldn't be a problem to finish by April 1, but the opening hasn't grabbed me yet. I'll give it my full attention right after I finish Vanity Fair. Have you read this book, or anything else by Oscar Wilde?


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

37 comments:

  1. I love Oscar Wilde. Your post captures his beautiful prose magnificently.

    Here's my Tuesday first chapter post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2013/03/first-chapter-first-paragraph-tuesday_12.html

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    1. Catherine - I think I'll appreciate him more after I finish Vanity Fair!

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  2. I haven't but this one is on my classics list as well. Maybe finishing Vainty Fair will do the trick. you can restart fresh!

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    1. Jenny Girl - You're right... I should probably just start over. It's not like I've made very much progress anyway.

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  3. I read 'The picture of Dorian Gray' and enjoyed it. Good luck with your progress with this book.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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    1. Spangle - Glad to hear you liked it. Hoping my outlook will change after I give it fresh start.

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  4. In high school, and don't remember liking it. (Though I was usually the one who loved the books everyone else suffered through!)

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    1. Audrey - Ugh oh... not a good sign for Dorian Gray :-(

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  5. P.S. I never got a chance to read more than the first few pages when I had it from NetGalley, but there'a a new biography of Oscar Wilde's wife Contance (I think the book is called 'Constance,' too) that looked very intriguing.

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    1. Audrey - You know you are feeding my most recent literary bio binge!!

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  6. I might some other time--I have to be in the right mood to read a classic. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

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    1. Kelley - I know what you mean. Mood often dictates my choices, too.

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  7. That is a lot of description there. With books like this, I have to be really focused and tuned in, otherwise I drift. But I have always wanted to read this one. Because I guess we are made to feel that we SHOULD.

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    1. Sandy - I think after spending time with Vanity Fair, my power of concentration is just about tapped out. Need to hold off on this until I finish VF.

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  8. What a lovely intro! I can literally see the setting...and all the senses are brought into play. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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  9. I have not read this one! I'd have to keep reading a bit more to decide on this classic.

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    1. Nise' - It gets more interesting once the dialog starts!

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  10. It's worth sticking with this book although from what I can remember it has a bit of a slow start.

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    1. Sam - That's good to know. I should finish Vanity Fair in the next couple of days, then can give Dorian Gray my full attention.

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  11. I'd hang in there JoAnn. The way the author set the wtage is quite beautiful. He definitely uses the senses to bring in the reader.

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    1. Margot - Thanks for the encouragement. I'm not giving up just yet :-)

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  12. The writing is beautiful, but I can tell that I would have to be in a certain kind of mood to read this one, as I think the writing may be overdone if the entire book is that descriptive:)
    I'd read more though.... thanks for joining us Joann

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    1. Diane - This is definitely one that requires my full attention :-)

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  13. I'm a huge fan of Oscar Wilde. This particular novel is dark, but really good. Most of the rest of his work is more fun and entertaining. Try The Importance of Being Earnest sometime, it's hilarious!

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    1. Melissa - I have another 30 or 40 pages left in Vanity Fair, then I can focus on this one. My daughter loves The Importance of Being Earnest, too. I'll have to add it to my list.

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  14. Oscar Wilde is known for his romanticism and sensual writing. He was very much into beauty and the details that went into making it. He used all the senses to describe what was happening, and what the characters were experiencing. You have to let yourself feel the writing as well as read it. What would it feel like to lie on that couch and smell those flowers on the breeze? It's a drowsy, warm summer day... See what I mean? I hope you enjoy it more the second time around.

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    1. Erin in Boston - Yes, I see what you mean. Dorian Gray is beautifully written and I'll be giving it my full attention after I finish the last few chapters of Vanity Fair. Thanks so much for your comment...I look forward to smelling the flowers on the breeze!

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  16. I've never read any thing by this author...I look forward to your final thoughts!!

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    1. Staci - I'm supposed to have this done by April 1, so we'll see...

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  17. I love Dorian Gray -- and Oscar Wilde in general, for that matter. His plays are so witty, lively and make me long for a visit to fin-de-siecle England. I still have a few more to read for my Classics Club list.

    My old university had a Wilde manuscript that a friend and I looked over one day. I was overcome knowing he had graced the pages I was examining with his writing. Amazing!

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    1. Diana - I'm almost wondering if I should have started with one of his plays. My daughter has enjoyed a couple of them.

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  18. I read this several years ago when I was on a classics kick, but unfortunately I was not impressed. I remember that I struggled to finish, but honestly don't remember much else. Good luck!

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    1. Les - I started over again, but I still don't love it. Good thing it's a short book ;-)

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