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Wilde and Morality

Peter Benson deconstructs the moral intrigues of Dorian Gray.

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.”
Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest

One of the most famous and most frequently quoted statements about the moral responsibility of artists can be found in Oscar Wilde ’s preface to his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book,” writes Wilde, “Books are well written or badly written. That is all.

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