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Library Journal Review
This novel by Wilde is so well known that even many who have never read it or seen a movie version know the story. Briefly, a beautiful young man has a portrait painted that will show his aging and corruption while he himself remains young. And though it has been published in many editions since its first appearance in 1890 in a magazine, this edition is the first one based on Wilde's uncensored typescript. Frankel (English, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.) provides an introduction that sets the scene of the book in its cultural context, and he presents a bibliographic history detailing the rationale for this particular edition. Accompanying the text itself are Frankel's hundreds of annotations, a mixture of commentary, background information, and notes on sources. There are extensive illustrations reproduced here in both color and black and white, many from earlier editions of Dorian and others chosen to further illuminate the novel's themes. There are several images of Wilde as well. VERDICT Like Harvard University Press's other beautiful annotated editions of classics, this is both handsome and instructive. Recommended for all English literature collections.-David Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
First published in 1890 in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine and the following year in novel form, The Picture of Dorian Gray categorically changed Victorian Britain and the landscape of literature. An ostentatious, self-confessed aesthete, known for his wit and intellect, Wilde not only had to endure his prose being labeled "poisonous" and "vulgar," but also suffer its use as evidence in the ensuing trial, resulting in his eventual imprisonment for crimes of "gross indecency." Frankel's introduction provides a deft preliminary analysis of the novel itself-exploring etymology and extensive editorial alterations (both accidental and deliberate)-and offers valuable insight into the socio-cultural juxtaposition of aristocratic Victorian society and the London underworld. The original typescript provides the unique opportunity to examine what was considered acceptable in both the US and UK at the time. Intriguing annotations allude to Wilde's influences and enterprising range of reference, incorporating art, poetry, literature, Greek mythology, philosophy, and fashion (certain to inspire further reading; an appendix is provided). Comparisons are drawn between Dorian Gray and Wilde's other literary output, as well as to the work of Walter Pater. Numerous illustrations subtly compliment Frankel`s inferences. A fine contextualization of a major work of fiction profoundly interpreted, ultimately riveting. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 10 Up-"The Whole Story" format provides illustrations and annotations to the classic text. Ross's lively and sophisticated cartoons add interest, and historical information helps readers place the novel in proper context and gives insight into its characters. The problem with this attractive, glossy layout, however, is that the text and the quotes pulled from it are not always on the same page. Further, some illustrations and notations visually cut into the narrative and may distract readers. For example, a drawing appears on the first page along with the passage, "In the centre of the room, clamped to an upright easel, stood the full-length portrait of a young man of extraordinary personal beauty," but that quote does not appear until the second page of the story. Useful as a supplement to the original novel, but not a replacement for it.-Karen Hoth, Marathon Middle/High School, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 6^-12. For teens who find even steadily paced novels a struggle, the biting but often meandering discussions between Basil and Lord Henry in Wilde's classic can seem overwhelming and pointless. But this version's informative sidebars make the surreal tale of the beautiful young man who never ages one that teens can not only tackle but also begin to relish. When the story advances or twists, Tony Ross' colorful artwork emphasizes Wilde's absurdly witty take on Victorian provincialism. For scenes in which characters discuss aesthetics, sidebar illustrations with helpful captions explain how Wilde's philosophies influenced his characterizations. Even when the sidebars only remotely relate to the story, they provide a clear cultural outline of the mores that resulted in Wilde's public undoing and his untimely death. The supplemental information and illustrations may strike sharp YA readers as amusing or interesting, but they may be the sole reason weaker readers tackle the novel at all. --Roger Leslie
Horn Book Review
Wilde's sophisticated novel of the seemingly ageless Dorian Gray and the portrait that reflects his debauchery is presented unabridged and accompanied by adequate watercolor illustrations. Historical facts, biographical information, and supplemental photographs and art are included in the margins, though perhaps not as overwhelmingly as in previous volumes of the series. From HORN BOOK Fall 2001, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.