AP English 3 Summer Reading Assignment
Authorial Background: Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on October 16th, 1854, in Dublin, Ireland, was a
distinguished writer during the later 1800s, Discerned by his appreciation of art, imprisonment, and early death, Wilde's writing are uniquely influenced by his life's circumstances. Although, in regards to Dorian gray Wilde's own decline is portrayed through his character Dorian's moral decline through killing, manipulation, and eventual suicide.
Time Period and Literary Movement:
Wilde's work is part of the late Victorian Aestheticism movement and one major historical event
that is a direct parallel in his writing is, "The Yellow Book", published in 1894. This is a collection of art in a book that features Wilde's own Salome and directly relates to the book as Dorian receives a "yellow book" from Henry after the death of Sybil Vayne, leading to his own corruption. Additionally, by coincidence, Wilde is reported to have had his own copy of the yellow book during his arrest. Additionally, in regards to Aestheticism, Dorian's dress and attitude can be said to mirror Wilde's extravagant lifestyle and flamboyantness.
This novel takes place in the height of the Aestheticism artistic movement in the late 19th
Century, making Dorian a mirror of his author, Oscar Wilde. Although this trend (which
celebrated aesthetic pleasure and sensual experience) began in France, Wilde was a major example of it in England. The influence of French Decadent writers can be seen throughout the novel, from the Gautier poem to the luxuriant style of Dorian's clothing and furniture. Although Wilde does not include a date in the novel, his inclusion of the yellow book, Rebours by J. K.
Huysmans means that Dorian must have been living sometime after its publication in 1884.
Interestingly, the Aestheticism movement took place in the encompassing setting of the
The victorian era, is mainly known for its prudish social norms and heavily judgmental
standards. Overall contrasting the dull middle class with the extravagant lifestyle of the wealthy even further distinguishes his work.
Lord Henry Wotton: Friend of Basil, Henry meets Dorain and diffuses onto him his lavish and
lacking in morality ideals of life. One main change Henry undergoes in the book can be seen through," when he . Additionally one main influence mentioned before was that Henry was the one who gave Dorain the yellow book, that fascinated him so much, ( as Henry was fascinated in Dorain) , but ultimately influenced him to the point of corruption.
Basil Hallward: Friend of Henry and the painter of Dorains portrait Basil shows a more
simplistic middle class non hedonistic view of life and tries to be a positive influence over Dorain but ultimately leads to both of their demises as Dorain later stabs him and himself with the paintin...