6 times in 6 posts
I was struck by a few words that kept repeating. Paradox is one.
I used one of the online editions and did a search of the uses of the word. Here is what I found. I wonder what Wilde was say by using this word and not another.
Dorian: For nearly ten minutes he stood there motionless, with parted lips,
and eyes strangely bright. He was dimly conscious that entirely
fresh impulses were at work within him, and they seemed to him to
have come really from himself. The few words that Basil's friend had
said to him--words spoken by chance, no doubt, and with wilful
paradox in them--had yet touched some secret chord, that had never
been touched before, but that he felt was now vibrating and throbbing
to curious pulses.
At the dinner table, chapter 3: "I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect." "I do not understand you," said Sir Thomas, growing rather red. "I do, Lord Henry," murmured Mr. Erskine, with a smile. "Paradoxes are all very well in their way. . ." rejoined the baronet. "Was that a paradox?" asked Mr. Erskine. "I did not think so. Perhaps it was. Well, the way of paradoxes is the way of truth. To test reality we must see it on the tight rope. When the verities become acrobats, we can judge them." "Dear me!" said Lady Agatha,
Lord Henry: he continued, "that is one of the great secrets of life. Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes." A laugh ran round the table. He played with the idea and grew wilful; tossed it into the air and transformed it; let it escape and recaptured it; made it iridescent with fancy and winged it with paradox.
and then nothing until near the end of the book -
Chapter 17: "My dear Gladys, I would not alter either name for the world. They are both perfect. I was thinking chiefly of flowers. Yesterday I cut an orchid, for my button-hole. It was a marvellous spotted thing, as effective as the seven deadly sins." "In a thoughtless moment I asked one of the gardeners what it was called. He told me it was a fine specimen of Robinsoniana, or something dreadful of that kind. It is a sad truth, but we have lost the faculty of giving lovely names to things. Names are everything. I never quarrel with actions." "My one quarrel is with words. That is the reason I hate vulgar realism in literature. The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for." "Then what should we call you, Harry?" she asked. "His name is Prince Paradox," said Dorian.
I've always found it rather exciting to remember that there is a difference between what we experience and what we think it means.