Dorian: An Imitation by Will Self - review by Thomas Wright

Thomas Wright

Self Portrait

Dorian: An Imitation


Viking 278pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is a retelling of many stories: the Faust and Doppelgänger myths, several Irish folk legends, and tales by Poe, Huysmans and Balzac. It is fitting, then, that Wilde’s story has itself been retold on many occasions: Max Beerbohm’s The Happy Hypocrite (1897) was the first adaptation, and Will Self’s Dorian is the latest.

Self sets the story in the London gay scene of the 1980s and 1990s, and turns it into an allegory about the recent history of homosexuality. The Greek and gracious Dorian, just down from Oxford, inspires a video installation by the conceptual artist Baz Hallward. Through Baz, Dorian meets the

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

East of the Wardrobe

Follow Literary Review on Twitter