Thursday, September 8

Bric-a-Brac Brain

"...As a rule, he is charming to me, and we sit in the studio and talk of a thousand things.  Now and then, however, he is horribly thoughtless, and seems to take a real delight in giving me pain.  Then I feel, Harry, that I have given away my whole soul to some one who treats it as if it were a flower to put in his coat, a bit of decoration to charm his vanity, and ornament for a summer's day."

"Days in summer, Basil, are apt to liner,' murmured Lord Henry.  "Perhaps you will tire sooner than he will.  It is a sad thing to think of, but there is not doubt that Genius lasts longer Beauty.  That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves.  In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place.  The thoroughly well-informed man - that is the modern ideal.  And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing.  It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value.  I think you will tire first, all the same. 
Chapter One, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, published 1891. 

I have really only just started reading this, but I'm enjoying it immensely so far.  It almost has a Dickensian sort of zest, but then I haven't read from Oscar Wilde before, so maybe that's just how he always is.  It's very beautifully written and so simple and enchanting to read that it's hard to pull myself away once I begin. 

I wanted to pull this passage out because it contains two of my favourite little bits so far.  Firstly, I love how Harry responds to Basil's observation with the slightly cryptic but all wonderful and charming affirmation, "Days in summer, Basil, are apt to linger."  It's a sweet encouragement that continues with Basil's simile.  I really loved it. 

The second part was the lines, "And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing.  It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value."  It's such a lovely thought, regardless of meaning, thought provoking and very new. 

I can tell already that I'm really going to enjoy this book!


  1. Great passage to pick right away! And yeah, that's how Wilde is all the time..there's people in his books that entrance you and make you afraid at the same time..just as there are other people who you want to pity and scorn simultaneously. And all of that comes wrapped up in the high Wildean turn-of-phrase which made his epigrams so famous!

  2. Ooh that's one of my favourite passages! the whole book is just brilliant though. And thank you for posting my small piece and being so nice about it, you made my day!!! So excited to hear if you got school captain, I wish they would hurry up and make their decision!

  3. You're extremely welcome. And it really was lovely. You did a beautiful job.

    Yes, well not long to wait now for the news on school captain. The first Monday back from holidays!


Please leave a comment to respond to my post or start a new conversation about whatever it is that you're passionate about.

If you don't have a Blogger or Google account, you can always leave an anonymous comment. Thankyou for taking the time!