06 April 2011

Gothic Mashups

The latest of our literary mashups is a short series featuring Gothic novels of the late nineteenth century. Oscar Wilde’s version of the horror story, The Picture of Dorian Gray has entered popular consciousness even amongst people who have not actually read the novel. His central image of a secret ‘portrait in the attic’ is frequently used as a metaphor in cases where people seem to be rather unnaturally preserving their youthful looks. The novel is also packed full of witty epigrams and paradoxes (usually expressed by the character Lord Henry Wotton) which Wilde re-used in the stage plays that made him famous. Within twelve months of publishing Dorian Gray he was at the height of his fame as a writer, a wit, and a dandy. And within another three years he was in jail – convicted of having commited acts of ‘gross indecency’ with other men in private – providing a wonderful example of the claim made in his essay The Decay of Lying (1891), that "Life imitates Art more than Art imitates Life". More on plot, characters, and study resources here >>

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