October 30, 2012 by chriszumtobel
I read two very different books on my trip to Las Vegas this weekend. Well, the more I think about it, it is surprising how similar they actually are. They are from very different time periods and parts of the world, but to be honest, both the authors and the novels have more in common than it would seem.
Oscar Wilde and Hunter S. Thompson are two of the most quotable and inspirational authors there have ever been, but that’s not to say they were great influences… Both had a tendency to over drink and to immerse themselves into drugs. Each of them seemed to live these hedonistic lifestyles because they were so upset with the state of their respective time periods and countries and it was the only way they could keep from going insane.
Thompson has a good deal of writings on his negative opinions of the politics of the United States at the time (even going so far as to run for office himself) and Oscar Wilde struggled as a gay man in a largely anti-homosexual society.
Each of their most famous novels tell tales of pleasure seeking and disregard for morality. The difference between the two being that in Dorian Gray’s case, his misery is clear and the moral of the story is evident at the end. Whereas in Thompson’s novel, the main character is not always what you would call happy, but seems maintain the belief, even at the end of the book, in the idea that drugs are an adequate escape from the torments of life and the intangible American Dream.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a book you could read in your sleep, entertaining and engaging throughout with nothing that requires you to think too deeply, but The Picture of Dorian Gray was actually a bit of a battle for me. Not to say I didn’t enjoy it immensely, just that I had to reread passages over and over to understand what was meant by Wilde’s rich prose (Lord Henry is one of the most entertaining characters ever, but he is a headful…).
That being said, I recommend everyone to read both books, as they are the greatest works from two of the most influential authors of the English language.
“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
Have you read the books? Did you notice any similarities? I think maybe it is just because I read them one right after the other…
- Review: ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde (therabbitbooks.wordpress.com)
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (therabbitbooks.wordpress.com)
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (cer90cer.wordpress.com)
- Fear and Loathing on My Way to Las Vegas (progressdaily.wordpress.com)