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Beauty as explored in TPoDG 
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Post Beauty as explored in TPoDG
Society will always instinctively judge someone based on their appearance, politically we will trust someone who looks more pure and innocent with power, and culturally we will accept people who fit a certain physical standard. However the point is that beauty is not based on how attractive an object is to everybody, but how attractive it is to one.


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Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:25 pm
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I haven't read Dorian in years (decades actually) but something I have always thought interesting was the relationship between Wittgenstein's "the body is the best picture of the soul" and the Dorian's decay.

Of course Wittgenstein was born in 1889 and Wilde died in 1900 so there is no direct connection. But I think Wilde had a sense of reality that was deeply embodied, as if he took Wittgenstein’s dictum seriously without ever hearing it.

I do know that Wilde had some fairly strong feelings about the nature of Art and its constitutive capacity, and the indissoluble relationship between reality and fraudulence, so it may be that Dorian was for Wilde’s readers a picture of that relationship as much as he was a simple moral lesson. And the power of Art was, or course, brought clearly to the forefront by that painting.

Don’t know but have always suspected Wilde of more depth than he is usually credited.


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Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:46 pm
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Mary:

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Don’t know but have always suspected Wilde of more depth than he is usually credited.


He did say some profound things in a very humorous way....and I think that is the mark of genius.

I love his childrens' stories. But then I am reaching my second childhood, never really feeling that I achieved adulthood in the interim. :oops:


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Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:41 pm
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I've never read his children's books but I did learn something about his life and I do think he had a kind of genius. I think he was a man who was willing to pay the price that came with living what he actually was. That, it seems to me, is fairly rare and I deeply admire it when I see it.

What was your favourite children's book of his?

BTW, I have always thought that living a second childhood was a good thing. Maybe because the people that I have heard accused of it were really just giving up that which hurt them. Wise choice I have always thought.


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Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:15 pm
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Mary:

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What was your favourite children's book of his?


The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde.

My favourite of the stories is called 'The Selfish Giant'.

However, my grandson is not impressed by them at all - he likes TinTin, Asterix the Gaul and Star Wars. So perhaps they are sureptitious fairy stories for adults - which would be just like Oscar. :smile:


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Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:36 am
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When I was a child my favourite stories were Grimms and some Mesopotamian stories I had.

Once I grew older I found I really liked Barbara Walker's Feminist Fairytales and some of the stories found in Clarissa Pinkola Estes' Woman who run with the wolves. I also really like the Poia stories from the Blackfeet, which led me to love the books by James Welch (especially Winter in the Blood) and Leslie Marmon Silko (Garden in the Dunes, in particular).


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Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:54 pm
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Do you know Mary, except for the Grimms, I don't think I've ever heard of any of the others you mention, even less read them.

I did like Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley which told the legend of King Arthur and Guinevere, the Knights of the Round Table and Merlin and Morgana, from a feminist point of view. It is one of those books which you never forget. I loved it and so did my daughter.


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

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Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:08 pm
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I read Mists and liked it. I had read more "classic" takes on that set of stories and I have to say I appreciate different views on topics. I have found nothing so mind-widening as trying to look at my cultural background through the eyes of others. That's why I love reading stories from a variety of cultures. They are all talking about what it means to be a good person, a strong man or woman, how to survive devastation and how to be happy, but what they see and what they say contrasts so strongly with the "mainstream" that it makes ridiculous the notion that there is one right way or one truth.

I read TPoDG from this perspective. Wilde was an outsider even amongst those who he should have been able to claim as his own. It made him "see" differently, and those differences peer out at us through the changing picture in the book.


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Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:22 pm
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I think you are right. Perhaps that is why I like to read travelogues. Especially those of Dervla Murphy. She seems to get a different take on the peoples she meets, than a man would. I also like her humour.

I hadn't thought of reading Dorian Grey from the perspectives you suggest, so perhaps I will read it again with your ideas in mind. I have often thought about most peoples' desire to be loved, or at least liked. The problem seems to crop up when they want to be admired. If we fail in any of these, I wondered if we then settle for a state of belonging and we join 'groups' and conform to how they think we should be.

It is puzzling why people in the western world are so often unhappy when really we have all we could wish for, physically. It seems that psychologically, we have something lacking. That's why I like to read Dervla, because she seems to be interested too, in why people in the poorer countries, who live in supportive communities, seem to be happier.


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Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:50 pm
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I'm not quite understanding something and I think it's causing me to misunderstand Wilde's love of beauty. How can one exalt beauty above all else, including morals, and warn against the evils of shallowness?



Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:43 pm
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Trish:

I think perhaps we are thinking that beauty of form, reflects beauty of soul.

But there are different ways of perceiving beauty. Some modern ideas of what is beautiful is harsh and dishonest - and above all...'thin', in this age. :smile:

In fact, through your post I am beginning to understand the Bloomsbury Group's idea...that truth is beauty and beauty is truth.

That is why works of art are sublimely beautiful......because they all tell the truth in their own way. A work of art is largely 'what we bring to it'. There is truth within us all......and we recognise it and respond to it in the work of a true artist whether that is in music, fine art, or literature.

I think it is a feeling of recognition of something beautiful. We recognise it because it is in all of us, somewhere.

It is very brave of me to post this because I am aware of how it sounds, but I don't know how else to say it. :oops:


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

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Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:23 pm
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I think I kind of understand what truth in beauty means. I could be way off though. See I'm a hairstylist and I'm in the business of selling beauty. But I hate selling just what's trendy at that moment. I try to look at facial proportions and try to accentuate the client's best features. This in turn makes the client feel more confident and projects her desired image. Confidence makes people instantly more approachable, energetic, youthful, and yes, beautiful. I don't think this is shallow if you're matching your outside to how you feel on your inside. I am supposing that Wilde values the beauty that resonates with authentic feelings within us. Beauty is not really a certain checklist of attributes, but something that makes your soul sing.



Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:33 pm
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