Each month, the Official Rogue Book Club brings together readers, art-lovers, and special guests to discuss books that inspire us to look at art and life in new, unexpected ways. This month, the club is taking on a classic: The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde. The book was considered so indecent and morally offensive that some reviewers called for Wilde’s prosecution.
Selected for its “mesmerizing tale of horror and suspense,” The Picture of Dorian Grey ranks as one of Wilde’s most important creations and is a classic achievement within its genre. Now a celebrated work — and Wilde’s only novel — it “forged a devastating portrait of the effects of evil and debauchery on a young aesthete in late-19th-century England”. Despite being more than 100 years old, the novel remains relevant to this day.
Oscar Wilde was one of the most controversial and brilliant literary figures of Victorian England. Known for his flamboyant dress and biting wit, he produced a number of well-received plays, including Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), his most famous play. At the height of his fame, he was charged with “gross indecency” after his affair with a young man came to light. He was imprisoned for two years and died in poverty three years after his release at the age of 46.