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back to article 'Picture of Dorian Gray' borrowed in 1934 is finally returned

A rare book telling the story of a young man who sells his soul in a bargain whereby he stops ageing has been returned to a library after having been taken out in 1934. The tome in question is a valuable first edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray, the novel written by noted 19th-century writer, wit and theatrical luvvie Oscar …

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No offence to Stephen Fry

But Oscar Wilde was a bit more than the Stephen Fry of his time.

Similar mannerisms and proclivities, but to my knowledge Stephen Fry has yet to pen any works that reach worldwide acclaim or which will still be commonly referenced in popular culture long after his death.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No offence to Stephen Fry

Then you clearly haven't seen his twitter feed

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WTF?

Re: No offence to Stephen Fry

Or this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/18/stephen_frytard/

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@Bernard Re: "No offence to Stephen Fry"

I have admit that although I have enjoyed a great deal of Fry's work as a comedian I cannot dispute what you say. Wilde's talents were considerable including a mastery of the epigram, what we perhaps might today often be tempted to call "the soundbite". He was a past master at summing up a socio-political point he wanted to make whilst making it extremely funny. In the hope that no techies from the Countryside Alliance are going to log on and hose me, I feel that his description of fox hunting as "the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable" is an example of an absolute mastery of encapsulating a point in one sentence and cracking a very funny joke at the same time.

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Stop

Re: No offence to Stephen Fry

"There is only one thing worse than being compared to a fatuous fanboi, and that is NOT being ... um, hang on... no there isn't." - O. Wilde, spinning, in grave, 2012.

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FAIL

The Stephen Fry of his time.

That's a bit of an insult to Wilde.

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Re: The Stephen Fry of his time.

Seconded.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Stephen Fry of his time.

Thirded?

I'll get me'coat now...

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Joke

Sir

I also think Oscar Wilde had a better grasp of modern technology than Mr Fry.

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Childcatcher

Movies

Interestingly Stephen Fry played the part of Oscar Wilde in a 1997 movie opposite Jude Law

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120514/

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Joke

does that mean

That we can expect Stephen Fry to be banged up in Reading Nick in the future?

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Re: does that mean

Actually Mr Fry has already spent time at her majesties pleasure for stealing credit cards I believe in his early years

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Meh

Re: does that mean

..but did he write a poem about it...?

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Happy

It's not what you know....

I’m not a fan of Stephen Fry but he does have one endearing quality - he's sung on an album by Kate Bush!

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Re: It's not what you know....

"I’m not a fan of Stephen Fry but he does have one endearing quality - he's sung on an album by Kate Bush!"

Not really singing - he spoke 50 words for snow.

Damn fine track though

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Re: It's not what you know....

He also, if I recall, appeared in Kate's video for Experiment IV many, many years ago - alongside Hugh Laurie & French & Saunders.

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Trollface

Re: It's not what you know....

I don't think he was in Experiment IV but Hugh Laurie and Dawn French were.

As an aside, Kate Bush seems to be working her way through the cast of Blackadder in terms of collaborations - Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie, Tim McInnerny, Miranda Richardson, and Stephen Fry the latest.

Which basically leaves Tony Robinson and Rik Mayall. Kate Bush and Rik Mayall - oh God please let it happen...

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@ 0765794e08

I suppose Tony Robinson could take the Time Team and rummage around her collection of hits. It could be broadly categorised as archeology.

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Re: @ 0765794e08

Step away from La Kate my good Sir!

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@0765794e08

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QeyRIyBJy4

One of my favourites!!

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Pint

Re: It's not what you know....

Stephen in Experiment IV? No. But Dawn French and Hugh Laurie both are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTUcoR8_pyE&

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Megaphone

Re: @ 0765794e08

Funny gag, kind Sir, but you seem to be behind the times yourself.

Kate Bush’s R.U.T.H. 2012 remix, which featured in the Olympics opening ceremony, entered the UK charts at no.6 on 19 August, and peaked at no.3 on iTunes on 21 August. Dig it!

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Happy

Hmmm...

Duno about the rest of you, but I'd have been seriously tempted to borrow some 1930's clothing to wear when returning the book...

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Re: Hmmm...

"Yes, I'm a very slow reader but it's a very good book, I've barely put it down in... Good God, is that the year!?!?!"

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Wow, and I thought I was a record holder

for late library books.

While clearing out an old storage shed a couple of years ago, I discovered a copy of Wind In The Willows that I'd borrowed from the local library as a primary school kid in 1977 and forgotten to return. I also was trepidatious about the late fees, but I reckoned if the library tried to hit me up for that many times the book's value I could make enough of a song and dance about it in the local media that I'd most likely get away with it.

So I took it back, explaining to the librarian how I'd borrowed it as a primary school kid back in 1977 and forgotten to return it. She was so gobsmacked that she simply waived the late fees - which we computed just out of interest; adjusted for inflation it came to $955.50 AUD (for our UK readers, about £620.) The librarian said it had to be the latest book she'd ever seen returned - 33 years, although she was quite young and had only worked there for 4 years. The fact that I'd checked the book out 10 years before she was even born was a point of amusement for both of us!

In fact, the book wasn't even in the system any more, and hadn't been for years. Obviously it had been written off as lost decades ago, and since then the system had changed so many times any record of it was long since gone. The librarian had to enter it into the system as a new acquisition.

But yeah, I reckon 1934 beats my 1977 by a fair old chalk. Kudos to that woman!

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Re: Wow, and I thought I was a record holder

That's the kind of feelgood story I would have expected would have made an appearance in the local free paper, if only for the sakes of advertising the existence of the local library. It would have taken up half a column along with the obligatory picture of you handing over the book sheepishly 33 years late to an annoyed looking librarian pointing to a calendar.

Thumbs up from me!

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Unhappy

Re: Wow, and I thought I was a record holder

You've not borrowed a book from your local library since 1977?

Everybody should visit their library from time to time otherwise some bureaucrat will decide there aren't enough people using it to justify its cost. We'll all be worse off if that happens.

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@ Fibbles

Absolutely agree on that point, but I suppose there is reason for it...

You see, the "local" library is in town, and my parents' house is in (what was then) the outer suburbs, and I was in grade 6 at the time, so as you can imagine I required Mum and Dad's Taxi Service to get me in and out of town. By the time I was old enough to go into town by myself I was more interested in discos and girls than libraries and books. After that I got into computers (which wasn't good for my interest in girls or books!), and the rest, as they say, is history.

But you're right, of course, and I'll try to make a bit more of an effort to visit the library in future. If only because it's something different to do!

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Anonymous Coward

Another vote for Wilde

Stephen would love nothing more than to be compared to Wilde, but it's really like comparing Katie Price to Audrey Hepburn - Bless Him!

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Re: Another vote for Wilde

I'm sure Stephen Fry would be the first to decline any comparison between himself and Oscar Wilde.

But to compare Mr Fry to Katie Bloody Price is grossly unfair to the gentleman!!!

And you, sir, are a cad and a bounder of the highest order for doing so.

Grrr, etc.

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Boffin

Re: Another vote for Wilde

AC didn't compare Mr Fry to Ms Price.

Analogies don't work that way.

A is to B as C is to D says exactly nothing of any relationship between A and C or between B and D.

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Re: Another vote for Wilde

Everybody likes to mock Katie Price but she's attained a lifestyle and wealth most of us can only dream of. And, whilst she may not be a MENSA candidate, she's certainly more intelligent than she lets on. I say kudos to her. She's worked to get to where she is today and it's a shame she gets lumped in with the likes of Paris Hilton who appears to be famous for nothing other than being born to a rich family.

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Headmaster

Re: Another vote for Wilde

"Everybody likes to mock Katie Price but she's attained a lifestyle and wealth most of us can only dream of"

Well, yes, that is what usually happens when you win the genetic lottery, natch.

She'd be working as a checkout chick if she looked more like say, Stephen Fry.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Another vote for Wilde

Yeah but I heard a rumour that Katie could sing without being dubbed, not maybe as well as Julie Andrews, but hey ... :P

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "genetic lottery"

I would put forward that the two original reasons for Katie Price's fame had nothing to do with genetics or chance.

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Coat

Re: "genetic lottery"

The original reasons were indeed down to genetics, the rest was bolted on later.

Mine is the grubby mac

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Re: Another vote for Wilde

"Everybody likes to mock Katie Price but she's attained a lifestyle and wealth most of us can only dream of"

She doesn't look happy though. I'd even go as far as to say she's a bit of a shrew, she's also totally arrogant and self-centered...what's not to mock?

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probably preserved it better than the library would have

I'd posit that losing the book was the best way to preserve it.

I don't know about other libraries, but ours turns over a large portion of the collection every year. A book like this may not have been determined to be a classic for quite a while, at which time most of the copies would have been lost, sold off, or destroyed.

And many books that seem to turn up most valuable or rare may be because they were deemed crap at the time, and just generally thrown out. When the one or two stragglers that were forgotten about show up they're valuable.

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Joke

Re: probably preserved it better than the library would have

By George I think he's got it (don't know what it is but he's got it)!

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Anonymous Coward

Wilde v Fry

Granted, Fry is no Wilde, but can any commentards think of a closer comparison?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wilde v Fry

"Your majesty is like a dose of clap; before you arrive is pleasure, but after is a pain in the dong."

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Happy

Re: Wilde v Fry

I do believe that the most apt comparison would be to say that Oscar Wilde was was the Oscar Wilde of his day.

And I'm quite surprised that it has not yet been said in this forum.

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Coat

Re: Wilde v Fry

Gore Vidal?

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Pint

Re: Wilde v Fry

The AO of the thinking classes ? (OK, I know I'm being unfair to Mr Fry, but still....)

Henri

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Pirate

Re: Wilde v Fry

A Beetle to a Bentley, perhaps.

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PTW

1st edition!

No mention in the article but my first thought was how much must it be worth?

A reasonable sum it turns out...

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/book-search/title/picture-of-dorian-gray/author/oscar-wilde/first-edition/pics/sortby/1/

And why not just mail it back, thus avoiding any late fees?

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Happy

Re: 1st edition!

Because a decent librarian will track you down no matter - ordinary bounty hunter could learn from them.......

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Who is Stephen Fry?

Any relation to Phillip Fry?

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Bah!

"There's nothing in the story about Ms Vision's mother having lived an unusually long time without apparently ageing or anything."

The book, on the other hand, is surprisingly well-preserved considering its age.

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