Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Picture of Dorian Gray - An Excerpt

Starting a novel and not completing it has been my forte since long. There have been one-too-many a novels that I started with full enthusiasm and then could not continue with that due to lack of time or mostly lack of enthusiasm. The start of this year has been a good one to me in this regard and I have, unexpectedly, completed more than a few novels, some in Hindi and others in English. Now only time will tell what is in its store for Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'. Going by the recent trend, I, myself, am not quite sure about completion of this novel by me but whatever few pages that I have been through, it seems quite promising.

I must admit this fact, that my knowledge about English literature is too less to know about different authors and their style of writing. So, it always has been a problem for me to choose a particular novel at a book shop amongst thousands. I was going through Shashi Tharoor's 'Riot, A Novel' at that time when I saw this book by Wilde. Shashi Tharoor has quoted Oscar Wilde too many a times in his novel that I was fascinated by this name. Finding his novel in the book store at that time compelled me to buy this one and once again I would like to admit that I am not at all disappointed with whatever I have been through.
Here is an excerpt from this novel where Wilde writes about the contradiction of beauty and intelligence and a strong sarcasm on church and its people:
"But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face. The moment one sits down to think, one becomes all nose, or all forehead, or something horrid. Look at the successful men in any of the learned professions. How perfectly hideous they are! Except, of course, in the Church. But then in the Church they don't think. A bishop keeps on saying at the age of eighty what he was told to say when he was a boy of eighteen, and as a natural consequence he always looks absolutely delighful."

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