The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890.Wilde later revised this edition, making several alterations, and adding new chapters; the amended version was published by Ward, Lock, and Company in April 1891.The story is often mistitled The Portrait of Dorian Gray.
The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Talking in Basil's garden, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfilment of the senses. Realising that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian cries out, expressing his desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than himself. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, plunging him into debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered one of the last works of classic gothic horror fiction with a strong Faustian theme.It deals with the artistic movement of the decadents, and homosexuality, both of which caused controversy when the book was published. However, in recent times, the book has been regarded as one of the modern classics of Western literature.