• The Picture of Dorian Gray

  • By: Oscar Wilde
  • Narrated by: Russell Tovey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (4,872 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
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

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What listeners say about The Picture of Dorian Gray

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

38 people found this helpful

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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.

30 people found this helpful

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Wonderfully Narrated

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

18 people found this helpful

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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.

14 people found this helpful

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Great Narration

There were many narrators to choose from for this classic story. I sampled all the versions. This narrator read in a tempo just a bit slower than the others. His expressive and languid style provided a great listening experience.

9 people found this helpful

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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.

9 people found this helpful

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Lord Henry is the WORST

great story... though Dorian got less likeable by the chapter thanks to Lord Henry. Glad I finally read it.

6 people found this helpful

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Dorian Gray

The narration was wonderful. Each charctwr had their own personality.

This has been a favorite story of mine ever since I was a teenager. I was concerned the story and personality of Dorian Gray wouldn't translate well in narrative, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Anyone who loves this classic will enjoy listening to it!

6 people found this helpful

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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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Wonderful reflection on youth and "sin"

Such a wonderful story depicting the human value of consequence. What a life lived apart from them would ultimately be. And what foolish desires our youth and vanity can propel us to.

3 people found this helpful

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  • jason campbell
  • 06-08-19

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'.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Ffion
  • 03-10-19

just absolutely amazing

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

13 people found this helpful

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  • Stian
  • 02-15-19

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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • John Ex
  • 06-16-20

Excellent story well read

It’s clear why this is a classic, although not upon its immediate release. The slow defilement of the protagonist is a joy to read - not because the corruption of innocence is laudable, of course, but how beautifully it is written.

Wilde manages to repeatedly amuse and scintillate with deep philosophical enquiry about the nature of right thought and right action, or else their opposites. Full of paradox, witticisms, human observation, vivid description of society, I enjoyed this very much.

The text is very well read by the audible narrator, although there are a few moments of jarring edits that seem overdubbed and quite louder than the usual reading - but these are few and more the fault of production than the reader. I believe the narrator does a great job of capturing the range of voices, so I disagree with some comments that his range is limited - RT captures voices without being overly dramatic and abrasive - he gets the balance just right; his reading is excellent throughout.

I heartily recommend this text - it goes deep into human psychology and the nature of our most fundamental questions.

The work of a genius who died far too young.

5 people found this helpful

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  • DJL
  • 05-13-20

Classic story marred by narrator

I found the narrator extremely irritating - he added aspirated "h"s where they would never be used - trying too hard to perform an upper class accent. His own accent and intonation crept in far too often to make the characters at all credible. I think I would try again with a different narrator.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dan Sands
  • 04-09-20

Dorian Gray

Never read/listened to Wilde before and really enjoyed this. Great voice work from Russell Tovey who makes each character unique.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Pamela
  • 08-25-20

Patchy reading by Russel Tovey!

I first read The Picture of Dorian Gray when I was a teenager and I remember enjoying it. Coming back to it again after a few decades I have to say I found it rather disappointing. But first I'll with the narration which is very patchy indeed and although it seems easy enough to read a book unless someone has a good range of abilities to alter their voice and their accents it can be a disaster. Of course if it was your uncle or aunt reading to you as you lay ill in bed you'd be happy enough. But as a professional performer having female voices like pantomime dames doesn't quite do the business.
Putting that to one side I see the book as a rather heavy handed argument about morality and aestheticism. And Lord Henry Wotton appears as just a mouthpiece for the clever witty sayings that WIlde was renowned for.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-01-20

A classic hindered by flat performance

Stunningly beautiful and still relevant classic with no sign of ageing pardon the pun. However, Russell Tobey is woefully lacking in bringing any characters to life. Caricature work that wouldn’t look out of place in a Carry On film.

2 people found this helpful

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  • "ashleighbelinda"
  • 07-06-20

Wrong narrator

I love Russell Tovey and was really looking forward to him narrating this, but the fake posh accent was truly truly terrible. The word 'one' has no 'wh' in it. 'buttonhole' was so over-enunciated it became 'butt-ton hoowe'. If you wanted an RP accent, hire an actor with one, don't get Russell Tovey trying to squeeze it out.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mark Livingstone
  • 03-19-20

A must read

A very interesting look at sin I lothed to put down I recommend it highly

2 people found this helpful

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  • Terri
  • 06-27-22

Great performance

Oscar Wilde is truly the master of aphorisms, but I particularly appreciated the performance of the reader here.

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  • julee latimer
  • 06-09-22

Fascinating read

Thoroughly enjoyable. So many thought provoking comments that need some pondering over.
Narration excellent. Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys the classics.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-29-22

Perfect narration by Russell Tovey

Russell Tovey is the perfect choice to narrate this iconic novel. Tovey’s voicework effectively picks up the finer details of each of Wilde’s characters bringing greater life to an already excellent story. In particular, he captures Dorian’s most sympathetic qualities, making him more likeable than expected and amplifying the tragedy of the tale.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-08-22

Delicious reading for a thirsty reader

Fantastic read/listen, rich with laughter, romance, friendship and very dark secrets. A timeless piece that will have you from the very first word. Poetic and clever, highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-09-22

Brilliant narration

Russell Tovey is the best narrator by far. Classic book spoken with class and style

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-16-19

I don't like his acting.

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