Regular followers of this blog should be ready for this; I alluded to it twice last week. It’s not all that tough even for first timers here.
At times, some of the most witty lines in literature (bon mot on top of bon mot) seem crammed into one short work. The following five quotes (the bolding is mine) are all from the same novel; in fact from the first two chapters of the novel. I could have chosen any of a half dozen other quotes.
From which novel and by whom?
“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.”
“People some times say that beauty is only superficial. That may be so. But at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.”
“I don’t agree with a single word you have said, and what is more, Harry, I feel sure you don’t either.”
“The masses feel that drunkenness, stupidity, and immorality should be their own special property and that if any one of us makes an ass of himself he is poaching on their preserves.”
“Always! That is a dreadful word. It makes me shudder when I hear it. Women are so fond of using it. They spoil every romance by trying to make it last for ever. It is a meaningless word, too. The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice last a little longer.”
One can only wonder whether EDA Chair Lucy Weber would try to censor this author as she tried to censor Shakespeare last week?
A—Candide by Voltaire
B—The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
C—No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre
D—The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
E— Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
You may recall I alluded last week to spending Super Bowl Sunday with a Mr. Gray, a Mr. D. Gray. In fact, it is of course, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the only novel from the brilliant but sad life of Oscar Wilde.
In the age of rampant homophobia in England, Wilde was convicted of sodomy in 1895. He was imprisoned for two years of hard labor. Released in 1897, penniless and in broken health, he drifted about the continent and died an early death in 1900. He was born in 1854. The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890.
Apparently, my friend Rep. Mary Gorman (D-Nashua), who recommended the book to me, and I both liked it more than John Irving, my favorite novelist. In his autobiographical memoir, The Imaginary Girlfriend (no; not a paean to the Notre Dame football player), Irving has little good to say about Wilde the writer although he does seem to admire Wilde the man and the trials, literally as well as figuratively, which he faced.