Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheating on Dorian

The next book being discussed by the Slaves of Golconda is Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. The "official" discussion begins on February 28th, but, if you haven't figured it out already, I'm about to cheat a little. I have read Dorian Gray before but it was so long ago I can't say anything more than that. When I began re-reading it I was dazzled and I am wondering with every page I turn how I could possibly have forgotten all this? What I am finding delightful at the moment is Wilde's aphoristic style. There is at least one pithy remark, often more, on every page. I have been marking them but I can't keep it up. I don't have enough page points. In the interest of expressing my delight, and to free up some page points, here are some of the aphorisms I have marked:

  • There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
  • But beauty, real beauty, ends where intellectual expression begins.
  • The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it.
  • The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.
  • As for believing things, I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.
  • Conscience and cowardice are really the same things. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm. That is all.
  • Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.
  • I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
  • The value of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with the sincerity of the man who expresses it.
And all that takes me up to page 11! What fun!