The Picture of Dorian Gray Questions and Answers
by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is Wilde's writing style in The Picture of Dorian Gray?

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde's writing is complex, ornate, and humorous. His writing balances long complex sentences filled with figurative language with short and witty sentences. This style is indicative of Wilde's belief that beautiful art should be created for the sake of itself.

Expert Answers info

Nadia Hartley eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12), ESL/TEFL Instructor

bookB.A. from University of St. Thomas–Houston


calendarEducator since 2020

write40 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

From the preface of The Picture of Dorian Gray, the reader can infer that Oscar Wilde’s style in the novel will be ornate, elaborate, and beautiful. Wilde writes,

The artist is the creator of beautiful things … Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty.

Wilde considers himself an artist creating beautiful things, especially with this novel. Therefore, Wilde’s writing style can be described as ornate and humorous. His writing is filled with complex syntax, figurative language, and details.

We can consider a quote from the first chapter of the book as an example:

From the corner of the divan of Persian saddle-bags on which he was lying, smoking, as was his custom, innumerable cigarettes, Lord Henry Wotton could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and honey-coloured blossoms of a laburnum, whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 955 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

lusie0520 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write147 answers

starTop subject is Literature

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

ajacks eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write63 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

check Approved by eNotes Editorial