London: Ward, Lock, and Co., 1891. First edition. First issue, with misprint "nd" for "and" on page 208 line 23. Original drab boards rebacked in vellum, retaining endpapers. Some bumping and shelfwear to extremities; small spot of tape residue near rear joint. Small bookseller's ticket to front pastedown. Occasional light scattered foxing, but in all a clean copy internally. Containing the preface and additional chapters not printed in the Lippincott Magazine, owing to the publication's desire to dodge scandal; complete but no adverts.
The author's only published novel and a gothic masterpiece. A complex psychological study of a man who fully embraces an hedonistic world-view, seduced by the idea of ageless beauty. Drawing on a rich literary tradition, including Faust, Jekyll and Hyde, and Shakespeare, Wilde's sensational novel met with moral censure from all sides. However, it quickly became closely associated with the aesthetic movement, which espoused that art and literature need only be beautiful, not send a moral or sentimental message. Modern critics and readers agree that Dorian Gray now stands within the very top tier of literary efforts. The book also had a profound impact on Wilde's own life, since a copy was lent by Lionel Johnson to his cousin Lord Alfred Douglas, who begged to be taken to meet the author. Thus Wilde saw his own fictional character come to life. (Item #3359)