Dorian – Observer review

Jonathan Heawood, September 2002

“He brings events forward to June 1981, the summer of the Royal Wedding and the Brixton riots, a time when, according to Self, ‘Britain was in the process of burning most of its remaining illusions’. In this world of style and insubstantiality, Basil Hallward’s oil painting has become an installation called Cathode Narcissus, in which Dorian’s divine form revolves endlessly across a bank of video monitors. Where The Picture of Dorian Gray both defined and mocked the decadent movement, Self aspires to do the same for postmodernism. Where Wilde had Huysmans, Self has Warhol. Where Wilde epitomised aestheticism, Dorian: An Imitation is riddled with reflexivity. And where the original novel was compelling but only incidentally amusing, Self’s adaptation is brutal and sometimes hysterical.”

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