Condemned in the British press over 130 years ago as “vulgar”, “unclean”, “poisonous” and “discreditable”, now an uncensored version of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray has “come out”.
The public outcry which followed the novel’s appearance – “it is a tale spawned from the leprous literature of the French Decadents – a poisonous book, the atmosphere of which is heavy with the mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction,” wrote the Daily Chronicle – forced Wilde to revise the novel still further before it appeared in book form in 1891.
“It is quite true I have worshipped you with far more romance of feeling than a man should ever give to a friend. Somehow I have never loved a woman,” Hallward tells Dorian, in one passage which was changed. The censored version read: “From the moment I met you, your personality had the most extraordinary influence over me”.
Updated 15 November 2014: Image Resource no longer available