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“I wish I could love”
“To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early or be respectable.” Oscar Wilde said it and we almost felt revenged.
And since you`ll beg to know why, picture the following:
You open a fashion magazine (say, Vogue’s thick September issue). In between the make-up/skincare/perfume/you-name-it adverts showing the immaculate faces of splendid creatures in no need of botox, your eyes fall upon a ten-page interview with the latest god of style-cum-dandy of the day: a certain Dorian Gray.
Had he lived nowadays and outside the confines of a print book’s pages, he would have graced the most fashionable covers with his beauty, while giving witty, melancholic interviews about pleasure, fun times, love-as-a-chimera and the decadent power of the New Überhedonism.
When asked “Beauty over truth?”, he would have sighed, cracked a whimsical smile and answered, looking away: “I wish I could love…”
Forty-five minutes (and as many side glances from his agent) later, he would have finally stated, nonchalantly yet slightly bored:
“I have never searched for happiness. Who wants happiness? I have searched for pleasure.”
A brief moment of silence on the glossy page and in your mind, then the reporter regains composure:
“And found it, Mr. Gray?”
“Often. Too often.”
Does the above sound too bitter or cynical to you? Than you must read the book and you`ll understand why we–and everybody else–love Dorian.
Now, witticisms aside and as shallow as we might picture Mr. Gray, we ought to give him credit. As a true artist of pleasure, whose art was his life, he is one of the best written and most intriguing literary characters, not to mention envied or downright adored. And, although “art has no influence upon action”, we urge you to try and poison your soul with this book–the effect will be a thorough cleansing of the mind and the pleasure of finding countless treasures on the page, for this is one book that reads with a pencil in hand. You will want to underline everything, remember it all and emulate its every single deed. Oh well, almost every single one.
In our world in which ugliness and old age have become both taboos and “the great Boos”, reading Dorian Gray remains an incredibly refreshing–and rewarding–experience.
Beauty over truth? Beauty over kindness? Is it better to be beautiful than to be good?
Here are as many questions for your own inner interview. Enjoy!