Introduction by Jeffrey Eugenides Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde's story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author's most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray's moral disintegration caused a scandal when it ﬁrst appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel's corrupting inﬂuence, he responded that there is, in fact, "a terrible moral in "Dorian Gray."" Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde's homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray's relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, "Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be--in other ages, perhaps.
About the Author
Oscar Wilde was a Victorian-era British author and playwright. In his youth, Wilde became attached to the Aesthetic Movement, which emphasized the appreciation of the aesthetic value of cultural creations above social or political purposes, and this philosophy influenced his work throughout his career. The themes of art and beauty are particularly present in his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, , and in his two most popular dramatic works, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest. A quarrel with the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred, resulted in Wilde's arrest and imprisonment for gross indecency. Wilde died in 1900, penniless and in exile, as a result of cerebral meningitis contracted while in prison.