March 03, 2004

Some Mythology in "Dorian Gray" Explained

Although I absolutely loved Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, I found chapter ten a bit annoying because of all the "over-my-head" refrences." To that end, I have linked many terms here from one large as well as defining a couple of words I was unsure about. I have copied and pasted sections and have hyperlinked the specfic terms.

For, while he was but too ready to accept the position that was almost immediately offered to him on his coming of age, and found, indeed, a subtle pleasure in the thought that he might really become to the London of his own day what to imperial Neronian Rome the author of the Satyricon once had been, yet in his inmost heart he desired to be something more than a mere arbiter elegantiarum, to be consulted on the wearing of a jewel, or the knotting of a necktie, or the conduct of a cane.

Yes: there was to be, as Lord Henry had prophesied, a new Hedonism that was to recreate life and to save it from that harsh uncomely puritanism that is having, in our own day, its curious revival.

The hero of the wonderful novel that had so influenced his life had himself known this curious fancy. In the seventh chapter he tells how, crowned with laurel, lest lightning might strike him, he had sat, as Tiberius, in a garden at Capri, reading the shameful books of Elephantis, while dwarfs and peacocks strutted round him and the flute-player mocked the swinger of the censer; and, as Caligula, had caroused with the green-shirted jockeys in their stables and supped in an ivory manger with a jewel-frontleted horse; and, as Domitian, had wandered through a corridor lined with marble mirrors, looking round with haggard eyes for the reflection of the dagger that was to end his days, and sick with that ennui, that terrible taedium vitae, that comes on those to whom life denies nothing; and had peered through a clear emerald at the red shambles of the circus and then, in a litter of pearl and purple drawn by silver-shod mules, been carried through the Street of Pomegranates to a House of Gold and heard men cry on Nero Caesar as he passed by; and, as Elagabalus, had painted his face with colours, and plied the distaff among the women, and brought the Moon from Carthage and given her in mystic marriage to the Sun.

I hope those hyperlinks helped you as much as they helped me.

Posted by JohnHaddad at March 3, 2004 03:01 PM

I'm glad you looked all these up; I had no clue on most of them too. :) Supremely helpful!

Posted by: Julie Young at March 4, 2004 12:34 AM

E is for Edward, who died of ennui.

Posted by: Aaron Bennett at March 4, 2004 12:35 PM

Thanks so much for posting those; they are a big help.

Posted by: Brendan at November 4, 2004 09:26 AM

thanks! they are great

Posted by: Kelly at September 19, 2005 09:59 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?