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There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

From the Preface

'What odd chaps you painters are! You do anything in the world to gain a reputation. As soon as you have one, you seem to want to throw it away. It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being takled about. [...]'

Lord Henry to Basil

'[...]When I like people immensely I never tell their names to everyone. It is like surrendering a part of them. [...]'

Basil to Lord Henry

'[...]I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. [...]'

Lord Henry to Basil

'It should matter everything to you, Mr. Gray.'
'Why?'
'Because you have the most marvellous youth, and youth is the one thing worth having.'
'I don' feel that, Lord Henry.'
'No, you don't feel it now. Some day, when you are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead with its lines, and passion branded your lips with its hideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly. Now, wherever you go, you charm the world. Will it always be so? ...You have a wonderfylly beautiful face, Mr. Gray. Don't frown. You have. And Beauty is a form of Genius - is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts
of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignity. It makes princes of those who have it. You smile? Ah! When you have lost it you won't smile...People say sometimes that Beauty is only superficial. That may be so. But at least it is not superficial as Thought is. To me, Beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible...Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you. But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully. When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddendly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have you content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats. Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful.
Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly... Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days,
listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. 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!'

Lord Henry to Dorian

'How sad it is!' murmured Dorian Gray with his eyes still fixed upon his own portrait. 'How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June...If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that--for that--I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!'

Dorian Gray

'[...]Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.'

Lord Henry

'[...]Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.'

Lord Henry

‘[…] I love scandals about other people, but scandals about myself don’t interest me. They have not got the charm of the novelty.’

Dorian

'Each of us has Heaven and Hell in him, Basil'

Dorian

'If a man treats life artistically, his brain is his heart'

Lord Henry

'[…]You are the type of what the age is searching for, and what it is afraid it has found. I am so glad that you have never done anything, never carved a statue, or painted a picture, or produce anything outside of yourself! Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.'

Lord Henry

'The world is changing because you are made of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite history.'

Letter from an admirer

When they entered, they found hanging upon the wall a splendid portrait of their master as they had last seen him, in all the wonder of his exquisite youth and beauty. Lying on the floor was a dead man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. It was not till they had examined the rings that they recognized who it was.

See all notes on The Picture of Dorian Gray

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