Oscar Wilde's classic work is about a man who sells his soul for eternal youth: only his portrait ages, while he remains forever handsome and young. Wilde's allegory, first published in 1890, provides an interesting take on the Faust myth and also a probing examination of human values. Wilde himself described it as the story of "an idea that is old in the history of literature, but to which I have given new form." He was shocked and angered by the response to it by the English press, which considered the novel decadent, corrupting, and--worst of all--French-influenced.
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