List of cultural references in The Picture of Dorian Gray

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This is a list of cultural references in Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Individual persons referred in the novel[edit]

The number of each chapter of The Picture of Dorian Gray in which an individual person is referred is in parentheses alongside his or her name. The chapter numbers are specific to the revised edition of the novel, first published in April 1891.

Fictitious (created by Oscar Wilde)[edit]

Seventy-one fictional characters, named in the novel, are Oscar Wilde's creations, and are listed in order of first mention in the novel's text. The listed chapter numbers are of the chapters wherein a person's name is referred, either in full form or in abbreviated form, but not for chapters wherein a person appears anonymously or pseudonymously. Titles and salutations are given only in lieu of a full name, when the full name is not given in the novel. Where a person appears elsewhere in Wilde's oeuvre also is indicated.

  • Henry Wotton (1-4, 6-12, 14-20)
  • Basil Hallward (1-3, 6-14, 16, 19-20)
  • Dorian Gray (1-4, 6-17, 19-20)
  • Lady Brandon (1)
  • Southwark (named after the location Southwark) (1)
  • Lord Goodbody (1)
  • Lady Agatha (1-3)
  • Parker (1, 2)
  • George Fermor (3)
  • Lord Kelso (named after the location Kelso) (3, 10)
  • Lady Margaret Devereux (3)
  • Carlington (3)
  • Duchess of Harley (3)
  • Thomas Burdon (3)
  • Mr Erskine (also appears in the earlier short story The Portrait of Mr WH (1889) (3)
  • Mrs Vandeleur (3)
  • Lord Faudel (3)
  • Victoria Wotton (4, 19)
  • Sibyl Vane (4-10, 16, 18-19)
  • Mrs Vane (5)
  • Mr Isaacs (5)
  • James Vane (5, 16, 17, 18, 20)
  • Tom Hardy (5)
  • Ned Langton (5)
  • Duke of Berwick (5, 12)
  • Lord Radley (named after the location Radley) (6)
  • Victor (8, 10)
  • Lady Hampshire (named after the location Hampshire) (8)
  • Lady Gwendolen (9, 12)
  • Mrs Leaf (10, 20)
  • Mr Hubbard (10)
  • Lady Radley (named after the location Radley) (10, 12)
  • Mr Danby (10)
  • Dr Birrell (10)
  • Anthony Sherard (possibly named after the real/historical individual Robert Harborough Sherard) (11)
  • Elizabeth Devereux (11)
  • George Willoughby (11)
  • Lord Ferrars (named after the real/historical individual Lord Ferrars of Groby) (11)
  • Lord Beckenham (named after the real/historical location Beckenham) (11)
  • Lord Staveley (named after the location Staveley) (12)
  • Henry Ashton (12, 20)
  • Adrian Singleton (12, 14, 16)
  • Lord Kent (named after the location Kent) (12)
  • Duke of Perth (named after the location Perth) (12)
  • Lord Gloucester (named after the location Gloucester) (12)
  • Francis (13-14, 20)
  • Alan Campbell (13-14, 19-20)
  • Lady Berkshire (named after the location Berkshire) (14)
  • Harden (14)
  • Lady Narborough (named after the location Narborough[disambiguation needed])
  • Ernest Harrowden (15)
  • Lady Roxton (15)
  • Mrs Erlynne (15) (also appears in the later play Lady Windermere's Fan (1892)) (15, 17)
  • Alice Chapman (15)
  • Adolphe (15)
  • Madame de Ferrol (15)
  • Sir Andrew (15)
  • Duke of Monmouth (named after the location Monmouth) (15, 17)
  • Lord Rugby (named after the location Rugby) (15)
  • Geoffrey Clouston (15, 18)
  • Lord Grotrian (15)
  • Mr Chapman (15)
  • Gladys, Duchess of Monmouth (named after the location Monmouth) (15, 17, 18, 19)
  • Lord Darlington (named after the location Darlington, also appears in Lady Windermere's Fan) (16)
  • George (16)
  • Lady Hilstone (17)
  • Thornton (18)
  • Hetty Merton (19, 20)
  • Lord Poole (named after the location Poole) (19)
  • Bournemouth (named after the location Bournemouth) (19)
  • Lady Branksome (19)

Textual variants (original edition)[edit]

The character of Mrs Leaf, in the novel's original edition published in July 1890, and her conversation with Dorian Gray, was significantly reduced for the novel's revised edition, first published in April 1891.

Mr Ashton, in the novel's original edition, was renamed Mr Hubbard for the novel's revised edition.

Fictitious (other)[edit]

Thirty-one fictional characters named in the novel are not Oscar Wilde's creations. These persons are listed in order of first mention in the novel's text, alongside details of their provenance.

  • Adonis (figure in Greek mythology) (1, 9)
  • Narcissus (figure in Greek mythology) (1, 8)
  • Hermes (figure in Greek mythology) (2)
  • Eve (from the Bible) (3)
  • Romeo (from the play Romeo and Juliet) (~1595), by William Shakespeare) (4, 7)
  • Mercutio (from Romeo and Juliet) (4, 7)
  • Juliet (from Romeo and Juliet) (4, 6-9)
  • Rosalind (from the play As You Like It) (~1599-1600), by William Shakespeare) (4, 6-7)
  • Imogen (from the play Cymbeline) (year?), by William Shakespeare) (4, 8)
  • Prince Charming (stock character in fiction) (4-5, 7, 9, 16-17)
  • Lady Capulet (from Romeo and Juliet) (4)
  • Achilles (figure in Greek mythology) (5)
  • Orlando (from As You Like It) (6)
  • Miranda (from the play The Tempest) (1611), by William Shakespeare) (7)
  • Caliban (from The Tempest) (Preface, 7)
  • Capulet (from Romeo and Juliet) (7)
  • Portia (from the play The Merchant of Venice) (~1594-1597), by William Shakespeare) (7)
  • Beatrice (from the play Much Ado About Nothing) (~1598-1599), by William Shakespeare) (7)
  • Cordelia (from the play King Lear) (~1605), by William Shakespeare) (7-8)
  • Desdemona (from the play Othello (~1603), by William Shakespeare) (8)
  • Ophelia (from the play Hamlet) (~1598-1602), by William Shakespeare) (8, 19)
  • Brabantio (from Othello) (8)
  • Paris (figure in Greek mythology) (9)
  • Athena (figure in Greek mythology) (11)
  • Apollo (figure in Greek and Roman mythology) (11, 19)
  • Ganymede (figure in Greek mythology) (11)
  • Hylas (figure in Greek mythology) (11)
  • Tartuffe (from the play Le Tartuffe, ou L'Imposteur) (1664), by Molière) (17)
  • Perdita (from the play The Winter's Tale) (~1610-1611), by William Shakespeare) (19)
  • Florizel (from The Winter's Tale) (19)
  • Marsyas (figure in Greek mythology) (19)
  • Cupid (figure in Roman mythology) (20)

Textual variants (original manuscripts)[edit]

Two references to fictitious persons not created by Oscar Wilde, in the original manuscripts of the novel, were excised for the original edition of the novel published in July 1890.

  • Sylvanus (figure in Roman mythology)
    The reference to Sylvanus was replaced with the reference to Hermes listed above
  • Venus (figure in Roman mythology)

Real/historical[edit]

104 real/historical individuals are referred to explicitly in the novel. These individuals are listed in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text, under the name by which they are most commonly known.

Textual variants (original manuscripts)[edit]

8 references to real/historical individuals, in the original manuscripts of the novel, were excised for the original edition of the novel published in July 1890.

Textual variants (original edition)[edit]

One reference to a real/historical individual, in the original edition of the novel published in July 1890, was excised for the revised edition of the novel that was first published in April 1891.

  • Peter Schouvaloff

Creative works referred to in the novel[edit]

The number of each chapter of The Picture of Dorian Gray in which a creative work is referred to is given in parentheses alongside that work's title. These chapter numbers are specific to the revised edition of the novel first published in April 1891.

Chapter numbers are listed only for chapters in which a creative work is referred to explicitly. For chapters in which individuals from particular creative works are referred to, see 'Individuals referred to in the novel', above.

Fictitious[edit]

Two fictitious creative works are referred to in the novel. These creative works are listed in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text.

  • The Idiot Boy, or Dumb but Innocent (play) (4)
  • Le Secret de Raoul (book by the fictitious individual Catulle Sarrazin) (10, 11)
    The title and author of this fictitious book are only given in Oscar Wilde's manuscripts of The Picture of Dorian Gray. The book and its author are still referred to in the published editions of the novel, but are unnamed.

Real/historical[edit]

Sixteen real/historical creative works are referred to in the novel. These works are listed in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. Where the work is explicitly quoted in the text, in addition to being referred to, this is indicated.

Textual variants (original manuscripts)[edit]

The original manuscripts of the novel contained a reference to an unnamed volume of sonnets by the real/historical individual Paul Verlaine. This was replaced with a reference Émaux et camées, by Théophile Gautier, for the original edition of the novel published in July 1890.

News publications/periodicals referred to in the novel[edit]

The number of each chapter of The Picture of Dorian Gray in which a news publication/periodical is referred to is given in parentheses.

6 news publications/periodicals are referred to in the novel.