The Perfumes of Dorian Gray: Chapter Nineteen

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“You may fancy yourself safe and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play – I tell you, Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend. Browning writes about that somewhere, but our own senses will imagine them for us. These are moments, when the odour of lilas blanc passes suddenly across me, and I have to live the strangest month of my life over again.”

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The Perfumes of Dorian Gray: Chapter Two

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“Lord Henry went out to the garden, and found Dorian Gray burying his face in the great cool lilac blossoms, feverishly drinking in their perfume as if it had been wine. He came close to him, and put his hand upon his shoulder. “You are quite right to do that,” he murmured. “Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.”

Colour-printed, hand-finished stipple engraving entitled Lilas, engraved by Langlois (c.1800) after an original by Pierre Joseph Redouté (1759-1840). From P. J. Redouté's Choix des plus belles fleurs, published in parts (each part containing four plates) in Paris from 1827 to 1833. Plate 76.

Colour-printed, hand-finished stipple engraving entitled Lilas, engraved by Langlois (c.1800) after an original by Pierre Joseph Redouté (1759-1840). From P. J. Redouté’s Choix des plus belles fleurs, published in parts (each part containing four plates) in Paris from 1827 to 1833. Plate 76.

The Perfumes of Dorian Gray: Chapter One

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A perfume friend of mine recently shared with me a wonderful article she wrote on fragrance in Decadence literature. It inspired me to start exploring this further, and I’ve begun reading Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. I’ll be sharing the references to scent I discover…

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