Is Oscar Wilde one of the greatest writers ever?
The first of his work which I have read is the uncommon fiction The Picture of Dorian Gray, which serves more as a critique on the etiquette of the 19th century English society, which is more relevant today than even when it was written.
This is an extraordinarily written story about a naive, young man and his tryst with narcissism, which turns him into a devil from within, while still retaining his physical appearance. Narcissism, and the consequences of mad obsession of one's own physical appearance and addiction to pleasure without gauging the rights and wrongs are the rest of the book, ingeniously written.
Apart from the exceptional plot, the consistent wit associated with every parable puts the reader at awe, incessantly. Especially the philosophical discourse, a character Lord Henry spills throughout are unbelievably witty, although the morals of the same could be severely debated.
This work by Oscar Wilde is a tribute to youth of people, as was his entire life. The vanity, curiosity and hypocrisy of the protagonist, which the narration elucidates are the manifestations of the life and personality that Oscar Wilde was.
Oscar Widle, as an author, to have written and to have endorsed this work in the 1890 is something of a great achievement by itself.
A personal favorite passage towards the end of the book; It stands out while reminiscing the book.
Life is not governed by will or intention. Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play--
I tell you, Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend. Browning writes about that somewhere; but our own senses will imagine them for us.....
The world has cried out against us both, but it has always worshipped you. It always will worship you. You are the type of what the age is searching for, and what it is afraid it has found. I am so glad that you have never done anything, never carved a statue, or painted a picture, or produced anything outside of yourself! Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.