The Picture of Dorian Gray, English research help: In his De Profundis
In his De Profundis, a letter written to his lover from prison in 1897, Oscar Wilde wrote the following: “I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease…. Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in the search for new sensation. What the paradox was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere of passion. Desire, at the end, was malady, or madness, or both. I grew careless of the lives of others, I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has someday to cry aloud on the housetops. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace.” To what extent does this description match that of the protagonist in The Picture of Dorian Gray, written five years earlier, before he had begun the homosexual affair that led to his imprisonment? In what sense is the novel autobiographical, and in what sense is it prophetic?