Monday, August 15, 2011

Alex Ross on Dorian Gray

Alex Ross has a thoughtful piece in the August 8 issue of the New Yorker that examines the new uncensored edition of Dorian Gray published by Harvard University Press. He makes the point that the earlier version submitted to Lippincott's Magazine was shorter and spelled out in more obvious language than ever the nature of homosexual desire. He opines that Wilde was more of a gay liberationist than has been credited. When the novel was published in England, it was filled out and scenes depicting contacts between men were excised. The original Lippincott manuscript is in the Morgan Library, New York, and shows that it suffered cuts even by the American publisher.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Alex Ross shows from his examination of the autograph manuscript that Wilde, "hesitating over its homoerotic content," subjected himself and it to some prior self-censorship. We can see some of that in the single page that the Morgan Library has on its website. (I've provided a link in Terry's post.)

The Lippincott typescript was subjected to further "correction" in America. In between was the original Lippincott Monthly Magazine publication in Britain and finally a year later (1891) the Ward, Lock book. Plenty here for an editor to sort out. I think I'd be just as happy with a slim volume of the original story.