My oh my.
Another standard by which to judge other authors.
At the age of 43, I've finally gotten to Wilde (aside from his delightful children's tales) after many years of the "I'll get to him, I'll get to him, stop bothering me" stage. I wish you all hadn't stopped bothering me. Reading this at 23 might have helped me to understand some dark events and people better.
Not a novel to make one feel good, for sure. As a matter of fact, it left me feeling nauseous at a few points. Wilde is such a master of prose that he's able to describe perfectly the vacuous "new" hedonism he observed in late Victorian society with his characteristic wit yet show no signs of cynicism that might otherwise lead the reader to any dry conclusions. Rather than being an autopsy of the condition of morals, it is simply a body laid bare upon the table, complete with hair and scabs and scars and imperfections, leaving you mildly uncomfortable at the slight grin on its pale face.