The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde's first and, as it turned out, only novel, was published on both sides of the Atlantic by the American periodical Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20th June 1890. Not only did this text provoke a heated debate in the British press over the summer in the same year, it also became notorious for its being quoted and examined in detail as well as repeatedly in court throughout Wilde's three trials in the spring of 1895.

As a story, the novel shows how a young man in a Faustian situation wishes for his portrait to age rather than himself. Steeped in sin, which, however, is alluded to, rather than spelled out at length, The Picture of Dorian Gray for Wilde's critics and enemies all too easily became an image of the author's own behaviour.

Prepared in typescript before it was dispatched to America, the novel became the spearhead of a new age of publishing. Going back to that typescript, the editor has restored passages to the text that had been excised or censored by Wilde himself and the editorial committee in America. Danny Morrison, the Irish writer from Belfast, has provided a preface playing Wilde in the Irish political context of his own day and beyond.

After its two scandalous appearances in public in Wilde's lifetime, this text of the novel was superseded by the book version published in 1891 and only rarely reprinted in the 20th century before Jörg W. Rademacher unearthed it in 2000. This English text was first issued by Elsinor Verlag in 2014.