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The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Guys/Gals,

So in my boredom of being off from college I have been reading as much as I can and today my topic of conversation centers on The Picture of Dorian Gray. Just a heads up if you haven't read it my theory does contain spoilers. My theory centers on Lord Henry and in my opinion he perfectly represents a misinterpretation of Ayn Rand and her philosophy. Here a just some lines he says in the book-

"When we are happy, we are always good, but when we are good, we are not always happy."

"To be good is to be in harmony with one's self. Discord is to be forced in harmony with others. One's own life- that is the important thing. As for the lives of one's neighbours, if one wishes to be a prig of a Puritan, one can flaunt one's moral views about them, but they're not one's concern. Besides, individualism has really the higher aim."

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his own absolute."

Now at first glance when reading the book these lines seemed to fit right in with Ayn Rand and some parts of them do but upon further examination of the character I have come to the realization that he represents something entirely different. Lord Henry is not the man Ayn Rand would have admired because while Lord Henry lives for himself he does so by bringing down others. To Lord Henry even if somebody kills someone as long as they are doing it for their own pleasure then it is ok but in my opinion Lord Henry's view is flawed because he claims to be a man of reason and physical force is pretty far from reason. I also believe that while it can be argued Lord Henry does in fact only live for himself that his character is unrealistic because the way in which he lives for himself is something no man of reason would ever desire. He doesn't care for having friends and he doesn't care for marriage or any type of companionship and he to my recollection makes no reference to wanting sex, and I believe no selfish human being wouldn’t want any of those things; so while Lord Henry might technically be selfish Oscar Wilde makes selfishness imply little care for friends or a spouse which is a false interpretation. Oscar Wilde is painting (no pun intended) a false narrative of selfishness.

Edit: I just wanted to add that I believe Oscar Wilde is confused on what pleasure is. I believe he assumes that earthly pleasure has to be something bad such as doing drugs or murder hence why Dorians picture keeps getting worse.

Any opinions are always welcome :smile:,

David C.

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It's impossible for Wilde to misinterpret Rand or to have.

--Brant

I can, though; you can too (joy!)

I understand they didn't live in the same time period, I mean I think he is misinterpreting concepts she would later have.

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David,

In understanding, it doesn't matter what words are used. The concept is the thing.

Wilde was talking about what we would now call hedonism. That kind of selfishness.

Strictly speaking, pleasure is involved with hedonism. But other considerations, like denying payoff short-term for a long-term goal, trading instead of simply taking, etc., are not present.

Michael

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It's impossible for Wilde to misinterpret Rand or to have.

--Brant

I can, though; you can too (joy!)

I understand they didn't live in the same time period, I mean I think he is misinterpreting concepts she would later have.

Are you filtering Wilde through Rand? You may have too much Rand in your head. I did once. I never read this actual book by Wilde. Are you sure of his intention? From what I know the ending strikes me as hugely ironical plus you get what you pay for and pay for what you get. As for Wilde himself, wasn't wit and use of language the big thing? If not, what? He was not that great if so. For me Mark Twain was great--the greatest American writer. I couldn't say Ayn Rand for her European background and influences meant she never could transcend them enough to be purely and typically American. That's how she could write Atlas Shrugged and fill it up with Russians, albeit not exclusively. Her magnum opus is full of give upperism, except for the parasites. The heroes all gave up being heroes. Dagny, the biggest hero, gave up last. Galt was no hero. He gave up first. God is not a hero.

--Brant

and the novel needed a lot more sex, but I digress

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It's impossible for Wilde to misinterpret Rand or to have.

--Brant

I can, though; you can too (joy!)

I understand they didn't live in the same time period, I mean I think he is misinterpreting concepts she would later have.

Are you filtering Wilde through Rand? You may have too much Rand in your head. I did once. I never read this actual book by Wilde. Are you sure of his intention? From what I know the ending strikes me as hugely ironical plus you get what you pay for and pay for what you get. As for Wilde himself, wasn't wit and use of language the big thing? If not, what? He was not that great if so. For me Mark Twain was great--the greatest American writer. I couldn't say Ayn Rand for her European background and influences meant she never could transcend them enough to be purely and typically American. That's how she could write Atlas Shrugged and fill it up with Russians, albeit not exclusively. Her magnum opus is full of give upperism, except for the parasites. The heroes all gave up being heroes. Dagny, the biggest hero, gave up last. Galt was no hero. He gave up first. God is not a hero.

--Brant

and the novel needed a lot more sex, but I digress

I don't believe I am, as there are several articles online discussing and contrasting their opinons as they share similar ideas in some respects and while Wilde is satrical in some pieces such as the importance of being earnest he has also written non satrical pieces.

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