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Uncensored ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’ text published

Updated: Apr 28, 2011, 19:08 PM IST

Spicezee Bureau

London: Condemned as unclean and vulgar for more than one hundred and twenty years, an uncensored version of Oscar Wilde`s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ has been published by Harvard University Press.

Apparently, Wilde’s ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’ was condemned by the British press as ‘vulgar’, ‘poisonous’, ‘unclean’, and ‘discreditable’.

It is believed that Wilde`s editor JM Stoddart had already deleted most of ‘objectionable’ text from the novel before it appeared in Lippincott`s Monthly Magazine in June 1890.

However, public outcry followed the novel`s appearance, “it is a tale spawned from the leprous literature of the French Decadents – a poisonous book, the atmosphere of which is heavy with the mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction,” wrote the Daily Chronicle.

Even as Wilde reworked his novel due to public pressure, Frankel, associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University said, “the time is ripe for the publication of Wilde`s novel in its uncensored form … It is the version of the novel that Wilde, I believe, would want us to be reading in the 21st century … I`m bringing it out of the closet a little more.”

Among other restored passages, Hallward describes the feelings which had driven his portrait of Gray. "There was love in every line, and in every touch there was passion".

However, critics and academics in the US have not been universal in their praise of the uncensored text.