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review 2020-05-24 14:37
The Canterville Ghost
The Canterville Ghost - Oscar Wilde,Inga Moore

by Oscar Wilde

 

This is one of those Classic stories I've meant to read for years and have finally got to it. Oscar Wilde comes from an era when characters were written bigger than life, even when they are dead. Many clichés of ghost story writing, like blood stains that reappear after being cleaned up, are to be found in this one, but the reader should remember that Wilde probably wrote them first! His sometimes humorous take on ghostly activity set the tone for many stories that came after.

 

My only complaint would be that sometimes the ghost had too much physicality. The antics of the children who chose to torment him instead of fearing him might have had greater limitations if he couldn't slip on floors or have his dignity damaged by projectiles.

 

Later in the story, humour gives way to a poignant encounter with the little girl in the family who feels sorry for the ghost and his plight. The gamut of emotions that are woven through the tale make me want to read more of Oscar Wilde to discover his full potential as a writer.

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review 2020-02-17 13:53
Doran Gray’s Instagram of Horror
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

I truly love the idea of this novel for being so simple and so complicated at the same time. The downfall of the young aristocrat Dorian Gray ultimately shows that the combination of good looks, infinite money and bad friends can be fatal.

Does anyone remember the (really not so good) movie Hollow Man and how Kevin Bacons character states how you wouldn’t believe what you are capable of doing when you no longer have to look at yourself in the mirror? The same principle can be found in The Picture of Dorian Gray, it only differs in the design. It is easy to understand how everlasting youth (and apparently good health) can be tempting and corrupting, hence it is easy to understand how Dorian Gray starts out on his hedonistic journey. He is young, rich and good looking, the world is at his feet and thanks to the bad influence of Lord Henry and his endless supply of cynical one-liners, the protagonist gets self-absorbed and reckless. He lives only for his own vanity and in search of pleasures which turn out to be unfulfilling and he is left wanting more and more.

Due to the fact that he never bears any visible consequences of his actions, Gray stays irresponsible and defiant like a teenager. He goes on blaming everyone else for his own actions, suppresses his own guilt as well as his misbehaviour and he is easily angered when hearing the truth about himself.  When James Vane forces him to face his past, Dorians panic, denial, paranoia and his inability to do anything but run away and hide show how irresponsible he truly is.

The story is great, the novel’s characters are great (although somewhat flat considering that the plot spans over a time period of twenty years). This novel about vanity, self-absorption, temptation and hedonism should be a reminder (especially) for the Instagram generation that looks are deceiving. Whenever I read one of the „classics“, I am astonished how much universal truth lies in them, because they still relate to modern life, in the case of The Picture of Dorian Gray, it might relate even more to our current day and age than it did in the last century.

The one really weird thing of the whole novel was that no one ever questioned how an almost 40 year old man still looks exactly like a 21 year old lad. Seriously, no one??

…that and chapter 11.

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text 2020-02-13 18:28
Reading progress update: I've read 185 out of 256 pages.
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

Lots of aristocratic / first world problems, yet why is it so incredibly hard to put this book down?

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quote 2020-02-11 16:47
‘Yes,’ he continued, ‘that is one of the great secrets of life. Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.’
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text 2020-02-11 16:46
Reading progress update: I've read 51 out of 256 pages.
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

So far, so good. Still a very fitting novel in our day and age of beauty/youth craze.

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