Cover: The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition, from Harvard University PressCover: The Picture of Dorian Gray in HARDCOVER

The Picture of Dorian Gray

An Annotated, Uncensored Edition

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Book Details

HARDCOVER

$35.00 • £25.95 • €31.50

ISBN 9780674057920

Publication: April 2011

Trade

304 pages

78 color illustrations, 1 color map

Belknap Press

World, subsidiary rights restricted

Discover the original, uncensored text of Dorian Gray in a paperback reader’s edition »

The Picture of Dorian Gray altered the way Victorians understood the world they inhabited. It heralded the end of a repressive Victorianism, and after its publication, literature had—in the words of biographer Richard Ellmann—“a different look.” Yet the Dorian Gray that Victorians never knew was even more daring than the novel the British press condemned as “vulgar,” “unclean,” “poisonous,” “discreditable,” and “a sham.” Now, more than 120 years after Wilde handed it over to his publisher, J.B. Lippincott & Company, Wilde’s uncensored typescript is published for the first time, in an annotated, extensively illustrated edition.

The novel’s first editor, J.M. Stoddart, excised material—especially homosexual content—he thought would offend his readers’ sensibilities. When Wilde enlarged the novel for the 1891 edition, he responded to his critics by further toning down its “immoral” elements. The differences between the text Wilde submitted to Lippincott and published versions of the novel have until now been evident to only the handful of scholars who have examined Wilde’s typescript.

Wilde famously said that Dorian Gray “contains much of me”: Basil Hallward is “what I think I am,” Lord Henry “what the world thinks me,” and “Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.” Wilde’s comment suggests a backward glance to a Greek or Dorian Age, but also a forward-looking view to a more permissive time than his own, which saw Wilde sentenced to two years’ hard labor for gross indecency. The appearance of Wilde’s uncensored text is cause for celebration.

Awards

  • Honor Book, 2012 Barbara Gittings Literature Award and Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association
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