The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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

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Oscar Wilde was a member of the Aesthetic movement, a movement that said art should exist for its own sake.  Much of what he wrote in A Picture of Dorian Gray was a reflection of this idea, from its aphorisms to its ornate prose to the allegorical nature that characterizes the story.

Wilde uses aphorisms to draw his reader into the story.  In his Preface, for example, he says, “The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim.” In the very first line of the novel, Wilde tells us that art, the creation of beauty, is what is most important.  This applies not only to the way he writes, but also to what he writes about. He says, “Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated,” challenging the reader to find those beautiful meanings. He also challenges the reader to go beneath the surface of his narrative when he says, “All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their...

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