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View Full Version : Why is the man on the cover of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar WIlde there?


alterego
12-04-2006, 11:43 AM
I apologize in advance - the person's name in the painting on the cover of this book (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1593080255/ref=nosim/librarythin08-20) by Oscar Wilde is written on the back. I have forgotten what it is and no longer have a copy of the book. It was never clear to me why this particular person is featured on the cover. Can anyone shed some light on this?

alterego
12-04-2006, 12:45 PM
Thanks to Google Books, the cover painting is "Portrait of Franz Liszt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Liszt)" by Henri Lehmann (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Lehmann). Other than that Wilde and Liszt were contemporaries, I still don't see why Liszt was put on on the cover of Wilde's book.

garygnu
12-04-2006, 12:52 PM
It's just one edition of the book. The publisher probably decided that painting was public domain and apropriately dark and brooding.
Here's some other covers:
1 (http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Dorian-Gray-Penguin-Classics/dp/0141804556/ref=ed_oe_a/102-5260455-1196922) 2 (http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Dorian-Modern-Library-Paperbacks/dp/0375751513/ref=ed_oe_p/102-5260455-1196922) 3 (http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Dorian-Gray-Modern-Library/dp/0679600019/ref=ed_oe_h/102-5260455-1196922) 4 (http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Dorian-Gray-Whole-Story/dp/067089494X/ref=ed_oe_h/102-5260455-1196922) 5 (http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Dorian-Gray-Classic-Fiction/dp/9626340746/ref=ed_oe_a/102-5260455-1196922) 6 (http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Dorian-Gray-Tor-Classics/dp/0812567110/ref=ed_oe_p/102-5260455-1196922)

pulykamell
12-04-2006, 12:54 PM
Thanks to Google Books, the cover painting is "Portrait of Franz Liszt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Liszt)" by Henri Lehmann (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Lehmann). Other than that Wilde and Liszt were contemporaries, I still don't see why Liszt was put on on the cover of Wilde's book.

I would presume that we are to take the portrait of Liszt as a portait of the Dorian Grey Character. The pose, lighting, and general look of the Liszt portrait definitely reflects the characterization of Dorian Grey in the book.

gigi
12-04-2006, 03:37 PM
I would presume that we are to take the portrait of Liszt as a portait of the Dorian Grey Character. The pose, lighting, and general look of the Liszt portrait definitely reflects the characterization of Dorian Grey in the book.
Except there has to be a hand visible to get covered in blood.

Isn't garygnu's #3 a picture of Oscar Wilde himself? I had yet another version, an oil portrait of a standing handsome blond guy.

lissener
12-04-2006, 04:49 PM
There's no specific reason; it was chosen because it gives the impression the designer wanted to give, and it was probably free.

lissener
12-04-2006, 04:59 PM
Wait--you do know that it's fiction? That there's no actual picture of Dorian Gray to put on the cover?

alterego
12-04-2006, 05:02 PM
Wait--you do know that it's fiction? That there's no actual picture of Dorian Gray to put on the cover?

...

pulykamell
12-04-2006, 05:52 PM
Except there has to be a hand visible to get covered in blood.

Isn't garygnu's #3 a picture of Oscar Wilde himself? I had yet another version, an oil portrait of a standing handsome blond guy.

I'm not saying it's supposed to be the Picture of Dorian Gray that ages in the book. I'm saying that it's a portrait of Dorian Gray, the main character in the book, i.e. not the actual painting in the book.

stuyguy
12-04-2006, 11:21 PM
One of my dearest friends works in the art department of a very well-known national publisher here in NYC. Just a couple of weeks ago she was telling me about a cover she was working on for a novel that's in the public domain. Many editions of the same story published by rival houses feature a sailing ship on the cover, she told me. But when she actually took the time to read some of the novel she learned that the book does not mention a sailing ship at all; the vessel is a steamship. She rolled her eyes and screamed, "I don't think anybody reads any of these books before they slap any old cover on them!"

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