Good evening Nerd Cactus cult! Do you like Halloween? Do you like gothic horror? Do you like spooky supernatural manifestations? Do you like hocus pocus (the Disney movie and/or general witchy shenanigans)? Well, I do. And because I do, I’m kicking off my first Boozy Books of October with one of my favorite creeptastic stories of soul-selling in the name of vanity.
Note: I’d really love to keep this up for the rest of the month since Halloween is my favorite holiday and gothic fiction is pretty high up there as far as genres of literature goes. If C is in you can expect us to cover the classic monster stories and provide you with some ghoulishly tasty brews while we’re at it.
Today I happily present you with the only novel Oscar Wilde ever penned, an exploration of Faustian themes, society’s inherent narcissism, and hedonism; The Picture of Dorian Gray. I’m sure many of you are already familiar with the name and concept of this novel, a vain aristocrat trades his soul for everlasting youth while his portrait ages in his stead. The portrait which serves to absorb his age also absorbs his sins, revealing his true nature in its depiction. Living in debauchery, committing murder and blackmail, and self indulging in his sensuality, Dorian Gray leads a life unmarked by his digressions. Of course, his charmed life is marked for death by the vengeful brother of an ex-lover whose attempt on Dorian’s life strikes fear into his heart. When Dorian finally vows to change his ways however, his newfound goodness is not reflected in the portrait. In desperation Gray stabs the picture, killing himself instead.
It’s a great story which was met with an inordinate amount of controversy when it was first released. *Gasp* Oscar Wilde is philisophizing while exposing us to lewdness! But now it’s a bona fide classic. Take that, censors! Muahahaha! Ok, enough of that. Time for the alcohol.
So what would Dorian drink? Well, pretty much whatever he feels like cause he’s all about experiencing everything to the fullest (since he can). In my opinion a grey goose dirty martini is the way to go cause “grey” is in the name and Dorian’s lifestyle is simply filthy (especially in the eyes of the 19th century readers who were utterly scandalized by his exploits). However, there’s a cocktail bar called The Dorian Gray in NYC which has a signature martini called… wait for it… the Dorian Gray. It consists of vodka, chambord, cranberry juice, ginger ale, and fruit. And it sounds delightful.
So tune in next week when (hopefully) we continue our Halloween-y tribute to gothic authors of all things dark, mysterious, and creepy.