The Picture of Dorian Gray (published in two versions, in 1890 and 1891) is Oscar Wilde’s Gothic novel about the price of vanity and selfishness. At the beginning of the novel, a young artist named Basil has just finished his masterpiece: a portrait of his young and beautiful friend Dorian Gray. After wishing that he could remain attractively youthful while the painting ages in his stead, Dorian finds that this wish has come true: he remains free to live a hedonistic and venal lifestyle while only the painting bears the marks of his cruelty and age. Twenty years later, Dorian’s crimes finally begin to catch up with him.
Oscar Wilde was born and raised in Dublin. He later settled down in London and enjoyed a successful career as a poet, playwright, novelist, dandy, and wit—only to be eventually jailed and exiled for his homosexuality.