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17 August 2008 @ 10:30 am
Dorian Gray, discussion one: ch. 1-6  
Esteemed members of Sparticus Ni, I would like to welcome you back to our first official-like discussion post for a while now. I hope everyone is enjoying their last days of summer as much as I have been and I hope you all made good on our hiatus and read some good books! If there was anything in particular be sure to tell us!

So now let's get on to our
I've really enjoyed this book so far I know I have a lot to say but what about you?

1. Okay, by now we are all aware that The Picture of Dorian Gray is being turned into a movie with our very own Ben Barns (and in a small part Max Irons, squee!) so when I started to read I could not help but creating my own cast. So far, who would you cast as who and why?

2. Oscar Wilde is primarily a playwrite and a poet as well, he gave us such works as The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windimere's Fan, how do you think this affects his ability as a novelist whethere good, bad or not at all?

3. What did you think of Dorian when you finally got to meet him after hearing such things about him from Basil for a whole chapter and what did you think of Sybil after hearing about her from Dorian? Why do you think Wilde did this, how do you think it affect our opinion of his characters?

4. I think it's safe to say that we all know this book is going to start getting rather gloomy, but looking at him now do you think Dorian has any redeaming qualities that could save him if he just holds on to them or is he just too moldable?

5. The back of my edition has some notes on the chapters: The name "Dorian" itself recalls one of the major anchient Greek peoples. Images of Greece also allow Wilde and mant other male aestheticists of the time to deploy a subtextual homoeroticism. How acurate do you find this?

6. Shakespeare said "all the world is a stage" but Mrs. Vane seems to take it past the limit. Do you think she has Sybil's best interests in mind and based on the knowledge of her failed relationship with a rich man what to do think will become of Sybil and Dorian? 
 
 
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Current Music: the garbage truck passing by
 
 
 
Kirstenfreak4theater on August 18th, 2008 02:48 am (UTC)
1. At first I was definitely picturing Ben Barnes as Dorian... but after you mentioned Ed Speleers, I kind of felt that was a perfect match for my brain-Dorian. I imediately pictured Rupert Everett as Lord Henry, probably because he has portrayed many similar Wilde characters in the past. As for Basil, I pictured somone along the lines of Brendan Gleeson-- someone a little more portly and not as self-assured as Lord Henry. Aaaand I know she's blonde, but I picture someone like Carey Mullugan as Sybil. What do you think of those??

2. I think Wilde's success in the theater world does have some influence on his work as a novelist. I can sense a sort of theatricality about his dialogue and his characters and scenes are very visual, which as we know is crucial to theater. I can also sense a similarity between his characterizations in Importance and Dorian Gray-- such as Algernon and Lord Henry (which probably influenced my casting, above). I think his work as a playwright and poet helps Dorian Gray become more lyrical and descriptive.

3. No doubt the whole first chapter formed preconceptions of Dorian. Basil made him out to be a Grecian god of epic proportions, so I expected nothing less, really. But Dorian, to me, seems to be extreamely naieve and immature. He's not nearly as perfect as Basil made him seem-- yes, his beauty is flooring, but his personality so far has shown him to be just an ordinary teenager. Sybil, too, seemed exceptionally young after Dorian's chapter-long praises of her. She also strikes me as a very moldable person without much life experiance.

4. Dorian does seem to be pretty insecure, which may account for his weak backbone. But then again, he is also exceptionally shallow and vain (and seems to be growing only more so). I think there could be hope for Dorian to find his own moral compass, but he would need to get away from the influence of both Lord Henry and Basil in order to do so.

5. Honestly, the underlying homosexual currents are pretty funny. It's very clear that Basil has something of a crush on Dorian... and Dorian seems pretty oblivious to it. I think Lord Henry is interested by Dorian and clearly wants to seduce him into the pleasure-filled lifestyle that he, himself, so enjoys... but I wouldn't think he is in LOVE with Dorian to the extent that Basil seems to be.

6. I thought Mrs. Vane was a very interesting character. It's interesting to think that a life on the stage could one day become more real to a person than actual life. I can't help but wonder in Wilde ever ran into a muted version of this character in his real life experience with the theater. I do not think she really has her childrens' best interests at heart-- she seems to be more preoccupied with paying off her own debts and living in the spotlight for as long as possible. One thing that really interested me was the mystery surrounding James's (and Sybil's?) father... who is he? I'm secretly hoping it's Lord Henry, but we'll see...