1891 The Picture of Dorian Gray: Oscar Wilde

1891 The Picture of Dorian Gray: Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde’s famous story of a portrait which ages while its human subject stays young, was first published in the July 1890 issue of Lippincott’s Magazine. The story was regarded as quite immoral by many at the time; indeed, the editor of Lippincott’s Magazine, J. M. Stoddart, removed about 500 words from Wilde’s original manuscript, without the author’s permission, because he held it to be indecent due to its homoerotic content. 

The first edition in book form followed in 1891, and because of the widely-voiced criticism of the initial version, Wilde wrote a preface to the book defending his point of view, although he did also agree to edit out a few of the more contentious passages. A complete uncensored version, in which all Stoddart’s excisions and Wilde’s enforced additional amendments have been reversed, was not published until 2011 by the Belknap Press.

The 1890 magazine form of the novella is famously scarce and the book form is much more likely to be accessible to the keen collector. Lippincott’s Magazine cover for July 1890 is shown below.

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