The Picture Of Dorian Gray (pp. 5 – 16)
In our oral presentation, we’re going to present you a passage from the book The Picture Of Dorian Gray. This story has been written by Oscar Wilde.
Our passage takes place almost at the very beginning of the book. It’s preface and the first chapter.
The preface is a collection of statements about the intention of art, the role of an artist and the value of beauty. We think that the main goal of the preface is to show how does Oscar Wilde, the author, wants us to read the novel. Oscar Wilde thinks that the artist is « the creator of beautiful things ». He condemns anyone who finds ugliness where there is beauty as « corrupt ». He states that a book can be neither moral or immoral. Wilde warns against reading too much into any work of art by saying that « Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril ». The preface ends with a strange statement : « All art is quite useless ». The preface also establishes many of the novel’s themes.
The chapter one starts with a description of Basil Hallward. Basil is a respected painter who is entertaining his friend, Lord Henry Wotton. Lord Henry admires Basil’s latest work-in-progress. It’s a portrait of Dorian Gray, a beautiful young man. Lord Henry Wotton urges Basil to show it at a gallery. Basil replied by saying that he will never do so, beacause he has « poute too much of himself into it. » (p.6 l.20). Lord Henry misunderstand the meaning of that sentence and says that the painter is nothing like the beautiful man in the painting. Basil clarifies his earlier statement by saying that « every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter » (p.8 l.28). Lord Henry insists on meeting the young beautiful man, but Basil, for a strage reason refuses. He wants to protect the boy’s innocent purity from Lord Henry’s cynical influence. It becomes clear that Basil has very strong feelings for Dorian. He almost adulates...