What is the main plot of The Picture of Dorian Gray?Any information about the author and publishing details would also be helpful.

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, was published as a novella in both American and England at the same time, in 1890.  As with many of Oscar Wilde's works, it had a mixed reception.  Many in that conservative time thought it too risque and immoral and Wilde expanded a reworked version released the following year with a foreword by the author where he tried to explain what he was trying to accomplish with the work.

The story takes place in England, where a very good looking Dorian Gray meets Lord Henry Wotton and later artist Basil Hallward who both change the course of his life.

Lord Henry instills in Dorian the sense that beauty was to be pursued through the experience of human pleasure, while the artist Basil paints a portrait of Dorian so beautiful that Gray wishes he could stay forever young, even at the cost of his soul.  The crux of the book is to be careful what you wish for, as Gray's wish is granted and he has to watch for the rest of his life as his soul is corrupted into crime and deprivation even while he remains beautiful on the outside.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

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