Dorian Gray

Oscar_Wilde

Oscar_Wilde

Of all novels written by notable homosexuals, Dorian Gray is probably the most prominent event to this day. Whilst it may be a strange thing to many that the sexual orientation of an author should matter at all, it behooves us to remember that in the time of dear old Oscar Wilde, the world was not quite so tolerant. Indeed, it was the era of ‘the love that dare not speak its name’! And yet, in some senses, The Picture Of Dorian Gray is just another novel portraying evil.

The theme is very much reflected by the book’s setting, plot structure and characterization. Because of this, it shows how individuals can slowly deteriorate and succumb to the the evil lying within themselves. The evil of this book is the evil created by one’s self and enforced upon one’s self. The power of greed and selfishness take over Dorian Gray and they create an ugly and malicious side to him. The mid eighteenth century was a very influential era, for England and that is reflected in the social customs and attitudes of the time. It was a period in which men and women were judged severely on appearance and status. Dorian was a very wealthy, intelligent man with a very high status. He knew the very influential and rich people in his town – he was ‘well connected’ as we say. His beauty charmed the world, and Basil was inspired to draw his portrait in order to preserve his beauty and youth.

Dorian recognized that as long as he remained young he would be handsome. He dreaded the day that he would age and start to form wrinkles and knew that for him, old age held nothing but misery. The degree of evil within Dorian increases as the plot develops. By trading his soul for his youth, Dorian rids himself of the good aspects of his character. The plot proves to us that evil does actually lie within an individual, and is not something imposed from ta corrupt world. From the moment that he becomes forever young, Dorian begins to deteriorate. At the moment of his epiphany he saw his evil through the portrait, and blocked it out – he simply denied seeing it and continued his malicious deeds.

Dorian-Gray

Dorian-Gray

The characterization of the book is one of the most important elements in this masterpiece by Wilde. Dorian begins by being a very naive young man. He is very easily influenced by others especially his two new good friends, Basil and Lord Henry. Basil, the painter of the portrait, influenced Dorian in more of a good, honest way, while Lord Henry, although not being evil himself, gave him a more evil insight on life. Both of them changed his life forever. How little they both knew what went on inside that man. Basil does not have any real direct influence on the youngster -but without him, Dorian would have never been caught in his evil destiny.

Basil admitted that his picture of Dorian was the best picture he ever painted. To him it was more than a painting. It was as if he had created another life and put himself into it. He did not know when he made the painting, that he was creating his own murder. He was always a good friend to Dorian and when Dorian talked about ageing being such a dreadful thing, something worth killing yourself for, Basil tried to calm him down. At the same time, Lord Henry was more of a directly harmful influence on Dorian. Within the couple of minutes in which he lectured Dorian about youth and living, he developed a whole other side to him. He had such a big cynical, impact on Dorian and yet he did not realize it.

Because of him Dorian Gray decided that he would like to remain exquisite and young for all time. He is the one who brings out Dorian’s first bad deed with Sibyl Vane and with a multitude of different influences around Dorian Gray, he is still the one to blame for all his wrong doings. His character is a tragic one, much like Macbeth’s. His flaw was excessive ambition. Even when he knew he was doing something wrong he could not control himself. He even yearned for self reformation but could not make it possible. He started off as one of the kindest, most innocent and modest men ever, but once he traded his soul for his youth with the painting, that all changed and he entered a life of gradual but utter dissipation. It became easier and easier for him to do evil because he always had his own personal defense system, a personal Maginot line – the knowledge that he had no soul.

When he first started his life of debauchery his uneasy conscious made him avoid those he knew, but once he became accustomed to a life of degradation he no longer cared what others thought of him – not even his friends. This is one of the biggest ironies of the story. He originally wanted to stay lovely and young so others would recognize his greatness and love him all the more. His pride of individualism was half of his fascination of evil. The author was very successful in finding the right means and methods to represent the evil inspect of the human character. In Dorian’s attempt to redeem himself he must terminate his life. The book ends.on more of a good note than a bad; that there is hope in stopping evil, – we just have to desire it above all else.
So how did Wilde’s homosexuality permeate the life of Dorian Gray? What similes and metaphors do we find in this work of Wilde’s inner struggles and desperation? More on that later my good readers. In the meantime, here’s a link to Oscar Wilde on Wikipedia

The Aquarius Key: An Occult Novel

Aleister-Crowley

Aleister-Crowley

Last week, I bumped into an old friend, and we began talking about the great passion for words that began our friendship so many years ago. From Shakespeare to Tolkien, and Greg Bear to Ian Banks, we’ve read and shared and philosophized over many years. For the main part, we’ve shared a love for history and science fiction, so I was a bit surprised when he began extolling the virtues of an unknown author with a passion for magic, or ‘magick’ as he now spells it who has written a book about Aleister Crowley. I find it quite remarkable that Crowley is still in the public consciousness, despite his rather extraordinary life – after all, he died in 1947 and he wasn’t exactly universally loved – quite the contrary actually.

I did a little research into the matter and found that Crowley’s influence on contemporary culture has been quite strong through the sixties up to the present day. In fact whenever anyone wants to investigate the possibility of supernatural power (for lack of a better expression), they often begin and end their quest with Crowley. That is because Crowley really did try to put the whole business of magick, of causing change to occur in compliance to the human will, on a scientific footing.

The available biographies of Aleister Crowley often tend to be altogether too partisan, either seeking to condemn him or otherwise sanctify him. The discerning reader will be able to read his autobiography (or autohagiography as he termed it, being the biography of a saint!) and easily discern the truth that lies between the lines of this somewhat self-serving tome. Others may find Richard Kaczynski’s Perdurabo more satisfactory. But having now read Keith Rowley’s The Aquarius Key I think that for those who like their history wrapped up in a superb work of fiction, this is the book to read. Rather than go on and on, I refer you to the book’s website http:/theaquariuskey.com. it’s a great read, available from Amazon in e-book or paper format and I loved it!

Finding A Good Architect

Choose an architect

Professional Architect Associations

The first thing we must sort out is the vision in your head!  Before you go looking for an architects, you really should have a long and deep think about what it is you want from him! (I will use the male objective personal pronoun him  throughput this post, but of course I mean him or her and wish no offense to anyone – English does not have a gender neutral pronoun!). For instance, you may have seen a house that you wish to copy or at least capture the essential design aspects and/or features of in your dream home. Or you may have ideas entirely of your own and wish to find out whether they are feasible and realistic. of course, thsi will in major part depend on your budget. A qualified architect can help you with all of these things.

I’m currently in Australia, so I’ll begin there and say that you need to ensure before you speak with any architect, that he is properly affiliated and registered with a professional body.  In Australia, that’s the Australian Institute of Architects.

Any architects so registered will always behave according to the professional ethics and rules of the association or risk being disqualified from practice.

The next thing you will investigate is the list of architects that you can obtain from a a professional registry. You should first check the architect’s portfolios and see whether or not any of them have completed work that is similar to the work you wish to commission. Having done that and narrowed down the list, you need to obtain references for those architects whose work interests you. But good references are not enough and you also need to execute a thorough Internet search, looking for unhappy customers. Such an inquiry on Google might take the following form:
Architect – Name – Scam
Architect – disaster
Architects – Complaints

There is absolutely nothing wrong or unethical about doing such a check – hiring an architect is a very expensive undertaking, and you need to be sure that you are getting a reliable and honest architect for your money. BUT – and this is important – if you do find complaints against an architect who is registered with the appropriate authorities and there are visible complaints against him, CHECK THEM OUT! Not everyone is reasonable and some perfectly ethical practitioners and up with unjustified complaints against them on the net. You can check with the Architect’s registration board and also, as a matter of courtesy, with the architect himself – everyone deserves a fair hearing and no one should be condemned on hearsay!

Other Architect and Home sites of Interest

Every architect has his own website, but it’s far better and easier to find sites on the web where lists and details of a number of architects may be found. I also have a huge interest in the history of architecture, so here’s a good up and coming site. – looking for a better one!
All the best for now and signing off,
Shelley Price

Books Art and Architecture

art-and-architect
Hello and welcome to my blog on the two things that inspire me most in life – architecture and art! It’s a lovely combination isn’t it, because after all good architecture Is art, and a good architect IS an artist!

You’re probably wondering what the wall I’ve used to illustrate this article is all about- and I’ll start off by telling you! It’s actually an example of truly BAD building practice.  See the huge gaps between the rough stone that are filled in with cement? A truly well built wall wouldn’t need even a smidgen of cement and properly selected and shaped stones would lock together like the pieces  of a 3 dimensional jigsaw puzzle.

If you don’t believe me, hop over to North Wales and go for a hike in the countryside and mountains of that most beautiful of places. There you will see dry stone walls (that’s what they are called when cement is not used) that have been in place  since they were first built by Napoleonic prisoners of war (circa 1810) – and 200 years later they are still there in the snow and the wind of Wales, enhancing the countryside with their natural beauty. So as I said, the picture on this page is a great example of how NOT to build a wall.

Now let me introduce myself; I’m Shelley Price, a retired architect who lives between South Africa, Australia and good old ‘Blighty – Britain. (“Blighty” is a British English slang term for Britain, deriving from Persian velayat and ultimately from Arabic wilayah, originally meaning something like “province”.). I’m an old fashioned woman and I’m going to stick to terms that please me – and ‘Blighty’ has an endearing ring!

In these days of my dotage, I like to think I can paint a bit and maintain some sort of artistic endeavor, but my work isn’t really good enough to show here, so I’ll be displaying the work of real artists and architects and pointing the way to good architects. So a word about both:

Investing in Art

When we buy a painting from a reputable artist it is both a thing of beauty and a solid, if sometimes unpredictable investment. So apart from the aesthetic value of a painting you also need to know whether it will grow in value or end up worthless – or even possibly if it’s essentially worthless when you buy it. This is not difficult territory to  navigate so here’s a few hints!

Starting with Blighty, you could look for artists who aere already best-selling, and whose works will almost certainly only rise in value or at the very least keep their value. You can visit a site like LondonArt.co.uk to find such artists. the pleasant and surprising thing about this is that these works are not inordinately expensive, starting at around $1,500 for fairly minor pieces. However, although you are unlikely to lose money on these works, the fact that they are best-selling and still reasonable in price does usually limit the upside potential for future gains.

Another way – and one I prefer myself – to invest is to find superb artists who are not yet known at all. These artists are found all over the world, and my personal current favorite is an Australian artist who originates in South Africa. I have several of her pieces and she is featured on this site:
Magick Mirrors. I’ll post some of this artist’s work in an other post later, but for now I must sign off!

PS: If you want a portrait of Aleister Crowley as fuerther up this page, then try this art site! – now I must really sign off!