Word came recently that, in a rush to satisfy the overwhelming desire for Fifty Shades of Grey-style erotica, the UK-based erotic romance eBook publisher Total-E-Bound will be releasing a series of “Clandestine Classics.” The books, they say, will present the likes of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre “as they’ve never been seen before.”
The old fashioned pleasantries and timidity have all been stripped away, quite literally. You didn’t really think that these much loved characters only held hands and pecked cheeks did you? Come with us, as we embark on a breathtaking experience—behind the closed bedroom doors of our favourite, most-beloved British characters. Learn what Sherlock really thought of Watson, what Mr Darcy really wanted to do to Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and unveil the sexy escapades of Mr Rochester and Jane Eyre. We’ll show you the scenes that you always wanted to see but were never allowed. Come on, you know you can’t resist...open the pages and delve inside.
Surely the likes of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Android Karenina have prepared us for these modern meme-ings of classic lit. But, we must insist, there’s at least one beloved work of 19th century British literature that needs no 21st century co-author tarting things up in order to give today’s readers those scenes we’ve “always wanted to see but were never allowed”: Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Before Wilde’s novel saw first publication in Lippincott’s in 1890, the magazine’s publisher censored several of the passages that most fully explored the nature of homoerotic and homosocial desire. Even still, the work was met with such hostility that Wilde himself made further cuts prior to the novel’s 1891 publication in book form. Wilde’s original uncensored text went unpublished until just last year, when we released Nicholas Frankel’s lavishly illustrated and wonderfully annotated edition of the novel. And now Wilde’s original text is available as The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Gray, a paperback edition that includes general and textual introductions from Frankel.
As Frankel explains, this original version of the story is “a more daring and scandalous novel, more explicit in its sexual content” than previously available editions. So, should you come across a copy of The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Gray you may mistake it for a mash-up, a “clandestine classic,” but rest assured: this is the novel as Wilde envisioned it.