The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (Don’t Ask Me What This Means).
Posted by helix888 on Mon, 22 Jun 2020
I started a book club-- Readers Red BC. "Let's start with a classic!" a member suggests. I thought perfect, I'm already behind on my Goodreads challenge for the year-- they keep reminding me--I'm in desperate need to vary my book selection which probably has contributed to my stagnation and maybe reading with people will help me get out of the slump that happens when I start a new book eager to get to the end, only for the feeling to wither, forcing me to hack or manipulate joys inside of me to read again just to get to the last chapter. Point is, it's an up-hill battle no more, Readers Red did the trick. No slump. No stagnation. I crossed the finish line at a 'healthy' pace with The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, a piece of literature that one mustn't die before reading for if he does he might discover he'd been dead for too long. Now does that sound like dollar store version of Lord Henry aka Harry from the book? If it does, don't worry I made it up. It makes sense in my head.
The premise of the book is titled, it's not a gotcha title, it is exactly what it is, but it is the details YOU MUST STAY/READ FOR. Dramatic much? I know. That's me selling the book to the clouds, knowing it won't stick but trying regardless. The book is centered around three characters, Basil, the painter, Dorian, the subject of the painting, and Lord Henry aka Harry, the critic. One might argue he's not a critic but as long he's a thought provocateur that's enough for me. And to help sell the book to the clouds I just want to share Harry's epigram on youth:
"Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing . . . . A new Hedonism— that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol. With your personality there is nothing you could not do. The world belongs to you for a season . . . . The moment I met you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are, of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself. I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last—such a little time. The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again. The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now. In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth!”
I'll leave it alone, the words will find you, maybe they'll mean something, maybe they'll get lost. But what I know, "don't ask me what this means, I just know the words."