Sunday, November 17, 2013

Collectibles or: Why I love Dorian Gray

I don't recall when I read "The Picture of Dorian Gray" for the first time, but one of the things that impressed me most - besides the main story line, of course - was how Dorian used to collect beautiful and precious objects and how the narrator revels in the richness and beauty of these objects. I could especially relate to his fondness of gemstones and minerals as I used to collect minerals myself until I was about 18.

Here's a quote:
On one occasion he took up the study of jewels, and appeared at a costume ball as Anne de Joyeuse, Admiral of France, in a dress covered with five hundred and sixty pearls. This taste enthralled him for years, and, indeed, may be said never to have left him. He would often spend a whole day settling and resettling in their cases the various stones that he had collected, such as the olive-green chrysoberyl that turns red by lamplight, the cymophane with its wirelike line of silver, the pistachio-coloured peridot, rose-pink and wine-yellow topazes, carbuncles of fiery scarlet with tremulous, four-rayed stars, flame-red cinnamon-stones, orange and violet spinels, and amethysts with their alternate layers of ruby and sapphire. He loved the red gold of the sunstone, and the moonstone's pearly whiteness, and the broken rainbow of the milky opal. He procured from Amsterdam three emeralds of extraordinary size and richness of colour, and had a turquoise de la vieille roche that was the envy of all the connoisseurs.

I still have most of my collection from back then and though I haven't really paid any attention to the subject for years there's still quite a bit of knowledge left. However, I feel this is circumstantial.

I can also relate to the parts where Dorian accumulates precious cloths and tapestries. It's not the objects themselves but the collector's passion Dorian and I - and, so I believe, Oscar Wilde himself as well - share and which he wrote about in a way that makes you feel his enthusiasm und invites you to become part of it.

If I were feeling very ambitious I'd say this is what I'd like my blog to be!

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