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The Picture of Dorian Gray

Narrated by: Russell Tovey
Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
4 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible

The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890 in the July edition of the Lippincott Magazine. Now, this special anniversary edition marks 50 years since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act was passed in England. 25p from every copy downloaded over the next 12 months will be donated to Stonewall, Britain’s leading LGBT charity, to help the organisation further its work in securing full equality for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people everywhere.

A damning portrayal of Victorian society, Wilde used his narrative to chastise his contemporaries for their superfluous and hypocritical values. Having also interspersed homoerotic scenes within the story, The Picture of Dorian Gray was unsurprisingly condemned for its 'indecency', forcing Wilde to publish a second, censored edition in 1891. Wilde defended his vision to the last, whilst simultaneously challenging assumptions about his private life and sexuality. He credited his inspiration for the text to the classic Faustian suggestion that given the chance, a man would undoubtedly sell his soul in exchange for eternal youth.

When the protagonist, Dorian Gray, meets with the audacious Lord Henry Wotton, he is encouraged to indulge in his most vain and hedonistic of ambitions, thereby testing the boundaries of the law and living a life of unpunished anarchy. As handsome as he is charming, Dorian beguiles those around him, in particular, the artist Basil Hallward. Hopelessly enamoured by the young socialite, Basil sets out to capture his likeness in a full-length portrait. It is the finished product which ultimately engenders Dorian the ultimate weapon; control over the passing of time.

Modern audiences now recognise The Picture of Dorian Gray as an enticing gothic masterpiece and highly astute cautionary tale. Experience the unique and fractured world created by Oscar Wilde in this new audiobook adaptation, made in collaboration with Stonewall and narrated by award-winning actor, Russell Tovey.

Narrator Biography

Russell Tovey is a TV, film and stage actor, known for The History Boys, Grabbers, Angels in America, The Night Manager, Pride, Quantico and The Pass. He has narrated many audiobooks throughout his career including, Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty and Mark Michalowski's Being Human.

In collaboration with Stonewall, who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, Tovey brings us this new adaption of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. Having starred in The Old Vic's production of Queers and The National Theatre's Angels in America, Russell is a keen advocate of LGBT rights and, bringing years of stage training experience, the perfect narrator for this epic tale of masculine beauty.

Public Domain (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars

I don't like his acting.

The story is very well of cource as you know .But his voice was not suit for me.

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  • shubhangi s. pai
  • 17-11-2017

Russell Tovey is a delight to listen to.

If ever a classic could be read by Russell Tovey I would listen intently. His voice makes the words come off the page and the story cone to life. Oscar Wilde never sounded so good.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Seabass
  • 01-02-2018

The Censored Version W/ Good Narration

I thought for certain that this would not be the censored (as in anti-gay censoring) version of the novel but to my complete and utter disappointment, it is.

The narration is great though and atleast the company that produced this recording is not anti-queer. I just figured that since this company is supporting queer rights, they would use the completely uncensored version of the novel that was unearthed in 2011.

38 of 44 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-09-2018

Wonderfully Narrated

Russell Tobey narrated beautifully. I will definitely find another narration of his to listen to next!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • PilatesGirl
  • 15-04-2019

Classic Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde performed his usual verbal gymnastics to great effect in this oldie but goodie creep fest of a story about a world that long ago ceased to exist. His clever use of language is, of course, the highlight of the book and makes the macabre ending all the more interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rocky Sunico
  • 14-12-2018

Great Performance

What I Liked: This book has some amazing lines that are so artfully put together that they could be prose. I initially considered quoting some choice lines but there were just too many to remember all at once. Naturally a lot of these lines aligned with the different philosophies the various characters claimed to be their driving motivations or their key principles in life. And as all sides are so beautifully represented, it's really up to the reader to decide where to go with all this.

The performance by Russell Tovey was more delightful that I expected as he did a great job of trying to give distinct manners of speech to each of the characters. One of the more distinct voices naturally had to belong to Lord Henry and his involvement in any scene proved to be something to look forward to. I didn't realize he was this creative with voices such that I never had a problem distinguishing the characters from one another.

What Could Have Been Better: As much as most of us remember Dorian Gray for his immortality, its presentation in this book was actually a lot more subtle than I had expected. There was the exclamation about wanting to live forever but it almost felt like a joke or something silly you'd say between friends. It wasn't until much later when Dorian was telling Basil his story that things really hit home.

Dorian is actually a somewhat boring character once he goes on his journey of indulgent sensualism, We don't necessarily go into detail in terms of what he does but more how people react to his lifestyle at different points of his life. So we just have a lot of people mentioning how bad he has become but we don't necessarily know this apart from maybe the direct antagonist represented by James Vane much later in the story. But even then it's not quite a condemnation of his actions but more an act of revenge for one person who was more of an incidental victim of his new outlook on life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Erika-Louise Moat
  • 02-11-2019

required heading

This may be my favorite book of all time. The examination of one's self leaves you constantly pondering your own life afterwords.

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  • Erica Paulk
  • 01-11-2019

I'm not one for the classic's

This is a biased review because again I'm not one for classics. This back story was very intriguing and I am happy learning about classic characters and how their portrayed on tv today. I underestimated how cruel and loathsome Dorain became. I thought before reading he was always that way but he actually seemed good before the portrait. It made me sad that a stranger could talk to you for a short while and turn you into a monster.

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  • Helen S.
  • 05-10-2019

well done!!

great story and great narrator!! loved the different voices he used for the different characters. highly recommend

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  • Shantastic
  • 02-10-2019

A twisted tale of vanity and poisonous people

I read Dorian Gray many years ago but appreciated it more this time. It is a twisted story of rude and pompous intelligentsia and the way vanity can take over a life and destroy the lives around it. Wilde is able to create a character (not Dorian) that is so disgustingly venomous, pompous, and influential that you grow to hate every word...and I love it. This book is very dialogue heavy and you need to pay attention to the conversations closely if you want to get the most out of the book. I found myself rewinding several times to make sure I caught every beautifully written word.

But, that is also the one weakness of the book. The dialogue can be so long winded that it can lull you into a kind of trance where you are understanding the words but wish the conversation would come to a close. There is kind of, "That's enough, already," feeling at times.

Regarding the performance, I don't think Tovey could have done a better job. The way he takes on the role of Dorian, Halward, and Lord Henry...differentiating them perfectly...is engulfing. His performance is so good that I found myself creating thick physical descriptions of the characters based on his voice acting. He is great.

This is not a long book...although long-winded in places. If you like Wilde or classics of this era in general, this is great listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-09-2019

Boring story. Beautiful narration

3/5

The not so interesting story is saved by Russel Tovey's compelling narration. I believe some parts I only found interesting due to his voice acting.

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  • Ffion
  • 10-03-2019

just absolutely amazing

I loved it so much, and the narrator added such a lovely magic to it

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Stian
  • 15-02-2019

Voices

The narrator usually makes a wonderful job of differentiating between the characters, though some of the nuances might be hard to discern in the earlier chapters.

Other than that the performance is very good. It is quite a bit more languid than some of the other versions, which really suits the novel rather well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Farah S
  • 27-09-2019

This book gets better every time I read it!

Stunning and beautifully read by Tobey. It is so well crafted and I have returned to it after some time with so much appreciation for this gothic yet aesthetic novel.

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  • LC
  • 16-06-2019

A great reading of this classic

The reading of this takes you right into the story. The story itself is entertaining but also gives a lot to think about in terms of ways of living life, good and evil, conscience and freedom

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  • jason campbell
  • 08-06-2019

A good, solid, audible version

The story is pretty well known, even if you haven't read the book. The narrator really adds a sense of necessary seediness to the style, you feel Dorian's corruption. I tend to rate audio books on how likely I am to listen to them again, despite the story being well know this version stands up to repeated 'listens'.

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  • Sir Bazile
  • 29-01-2019

not what I expected.

To be fair I didn't really know what to expect, I did expect it to be over more years than it actually was. The League of Gentlemen movie may have coloured my perceptions I fear

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  • Andrew
  • 20-01-2019

A fantastic performance of a classic book

The story and writing itself was not my cup of tea really, Oscar Wilde has a very philospohical way of telling a story and meanders around elements of love and beauty. Although that is taking nothing from Russell Toveys performance which was excellent and brings life to a lot of the characters.

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  • P
  • 25-11-2018

Dorian

An enchanting work. A fairly tale. This well known work should be read, but lacks a little bit of much needed rhythm on this audio version