A Philosopher's Dream
Set at the height of the Victorian era in London, this novel tells the story of a young man who becomes so enamored of his youth and beauty that he allows it to steal his soul. Corrupted by the flattery of a painter who idolized him and the careless words of a dandy that the only virtues to be had are youth and beauty, he makes a desperate plea that his portrait will age while he remains unchanged.
The premise is a fascinating one. What vices would one allow themself if they knew that it could never be seen on our faces by the outer world. However I think it is an inherently flaws concept, as most people are guided by a set of morals and ethics that would stop us long before we reached that state of corruption that the titular character does. However I thought it was greatly redeemed by the novel's conclusion.
More than anything, I found that the philosophical tone of the novel was overbearing. I enjoy the study of philosophy, and I don't typically mind it's presence in my books. That said, it so consumed the story that I found myself skimming not only passages but at one point a whole chapter. It was just too much and in my opinion detracted from the narrative.
I know that Wilde is much more widely known as a playwright, and as this was only my first taste of his style, I intend to try one of his plays to see if I find it more readable.