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Thread: Can a book corrupt?

  1. #31
    I'm tired Bancini's Avatar
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    I would not argue that a book is corrupt or that a book can fully corrupt someone.

    I am saying that books can influence us, even if slightly. While nothing can influence a person who refuses to be influenced, if someone is open to it a book can be an influence.

    In Dorian's case, I think he falsely blames the book for his corruption. Lord Henry leads Dorian down that path and Dorian is a willing follower.

  2. #32
    aspiring Arthurianist Wilde woman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subterranean View Post
    Ideas remain as state of mind until we put them in to action. And I think a matter intepreting the ideas is also important here otherwise there wouldn't be such controversy as banned books.
    I concur. And I think Wilde has similar ideas. One of his founding bases for writing Dorian Gray, IMO, is to prove that art is just art. It shouldn't have a moral influence. Isn't that what his preface to Dorian Gray, all those pithy quotations about art, is all about?

    In fact, this question comes up when one of the first critics lashes out at Wilde for writing an immoral book. And Wilde responds very wisely...by saying the artist can and should be distinguished from the art he produces. If Dorian Gray is a corrupting book (making it a metaphor for A Rebours), that doesn't necessarily mean that Wilde (or Huysmans, to continue the metaphor) meant it to corrupt its readers.

    If we carry this metaphor further, I think we could interpret Lord Henry as an "author" in the novel and Dorian as the impressionable "reader". Perhaps Dorian's decline is partially Lord Henry's fault, but Dorian also has to take responsibility for his lifestyle. (If we're following this line of reasoning, we could even implicate Basil, because he was actually the artist who created the painting that made Dorian vain.)

  3. #33
    I'm tired Bancini's Avatar
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    just realized i might be missing something...

    I did not see The Picture of Dorian Gray to be corrupting in any way....Am I merely reading it with 21st century morals?

    Today put the book down thinking it served as a warning against accepting new viewpoints (Henry and the book) and allowing them to change you.

    Does that make sense? It would be ironic if the same book (Gray) that once was denounced for corrupting would serve the 21st century as a warning against corruption.

  4. #34
    Well....... I don't think books can corrupt or exercise a bad influence upon us. Infact goodness or badness is something that lies within us. As there is a very well known line of William Shakespeare that,
    " There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so"
    And even if there is some book which we consider bad, it doesn't poison us, rather it tells us what goodness really is. This is what Milton said in his book, Aeropagitica in which he pleaded for the free publication of all kind of books, that both good and bad are indispensable. With the absence of one, we cant differenciate between the two. So, books always prove to be fruitful for us. If we hold on to goodness firmly, no external element can ever waver us.

  5. #35
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    The written word is amazingly powerful, even in our modern day when reading isn't as highly prized as it once was. I believe books - more so than movies or other forms of media - can be very influential, even corrupting, on individuals. Reading requires a tax of intellect that gives the ideas presented more opportunity to saturate your thoughts than films or television do, and it demands more attention than music or other wholly auditory activities. I believe books are second only to conversations in their ability to influence a person.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flora View Post
    I agree with that; anything that influences can corrupt. However, everything influences, not only books, and so everything has the potential ability to corrupt. We can't escape being influenced, and therfore risking corruption.
    what is more or less a quote Lord Henry although he says that every influence is bad


    To my mind the major issues is this: If there is influencen, there is also corruption. But of course someone could argue that Dorian only revealed his real soul. However I think he has been certainly induced by Lord Henry and the problem is that he has not been mature enough to resist and think better of it.
    מצוה גדולה להיות בשמחה תמיד- It is a great command to be constantly happy

    Feel free to correct howlers which I commit because I want to learn English properly.

  7. #37
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    Arguably only readers can corrupt, the book works as the incentive to produce readers.
    My blog about literature (in spanish): http://otrasbentilaciones.wordpress.com/

  8. #38
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    Apart from the issue of corruption, which is already complicated enough for a thesis, there is no doubt that words can corrupt. But where and how is the matter proposed. In a hostile and corrupted environment, children could be forced into corruption by not being allowed to multiple sources of information.
    But then, in an open situation, books have no power to corrupt at all. Words don't have the power to corrupt unless they are forced repeatedly upon people in an environment where information is selected for that purpose and excludes all other possibilities of thought. Thus closed cultures, where identity is derived from exclusively are extremely corrupting.

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