The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde


"For a very corageous woman from the very bottom of the Americas, this book from the most passionate man ever existed"


Recently I decided, once more, to start reading this book my Cuban friend gave me for Christmas -with a lovely dedication written on it- a few years ago. I remember his enthusiasm when he described not only the story, but Wilde himself. He used to say that this book was one of the all-time masterpieces of literature without a doubt, written by one of the most controversial, ground breaking, modern, bold, and wise authors that ever existed or will exist.  Of course “Jorgito” had this impetuous personality, and used strong, graphic adjectives for whatever he felt something for, whether it was a good feeling or a bad one. Nonetheless he had this flawless view of the arts I highly respected, so I did feel intrigued by the book, but my flawless parsimony made the story wait about two years to be read.
I believe there is a time for everything, and that timing is everything itself. It shapes, gives birth and brings close to us whatever we´re hoping and waiting for. A couple of days ago my time to read The Picture of Dorian Gray came, and the torrent of parallelisms that I found paragraph after paragraph with my personal life was so amazing that I had to capture some of the most striking, bell-ringing phrases in this post to be held captive for eternal analysis and amusement.

-Chapter 1-

[...] There is a fatality about all physical and intellectual distinction, the sort of fatality that seems to dog through history the faltering steps of kings. It is better not to be different from one´s fellows. The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat. They live as we all should live, undisturbed, indifferent, and without disquiet. They neither bring ruin upon others, nor ever receive it, from alien hands. [...] We all shall suffer for what the gods have given us, suffer terribly. [...]

-Chapter 2-

[...] All influence is inmoral from the scientific point of view. Because to influence a person is to give him one´s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of someone else´s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one´s nature perfectly -that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. The have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to oneself. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror og God, which is the secret of religion -these are the two things that govern us. [...]

-Chapter 3-

[...] Lord Fermor, a genial if somewhat rough mannered bachelor, whom the outside world called selfish because it derived no particular benefit from him, but who was considered generous by Societyas he fed the people who amused him. [...]
[...] Why can´t this American women stay in their own country? They are always telling us is the paradise for women. -It is. That is the reason why, like Eve, they are so excesively anxious to get out of it. [...]
[...] I always want to know everything about my new friends, and nothing about the old ones. [...]
[...] Mr. Erskine was an old gentleman of considerable charm and culture, who had fallen, however, into bad habits of silence, having as he explained once, said everything that he had to say before he was thirty. [...]
[...] I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intelect. [...]
[...] The advantage of emotions is that they lead us astray. The advantage of science is that it is not emotional. [...]
[...] Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world´s original sin. If the cavemen had known how to laugh history would have been different [...]
[...] Nowadays people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it´s too late that the only things one never regrets are one´s mistakes [...]

-Chapter 4-

[...] Punctuality is the thief of time [...]
[...] Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing [...]
[...] There are many things that we would throw away if we wew not afraid that others might pick them up [...]
  [...] When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving oneself, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance. [...]