Lord Henry and Dorian Gray on Romance

Lord Henry and Dorian Gray on Romance (216):

“My dear Gladys!” cried Lord Henry. “How can you say that? Romance lives by repetition, and repetition converts an appetite into an art. Besides, each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved. Difference of object does not alter the singleness of passion. It merely intensifies it. We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.”

“Even when one has been wounded by it, Harry?” asked the Duchess, after a pause.

“Especially when one has been wounded by it,” answered Lord Henry.

The Duchess turned and looked at Dorian Gray with a curious expression in her eyes. “What do you say to that, Mr. Gray?” she inquired.

Dorian hesitated for a moment. Then he threw his head back and laughed. “I always agree with Harry, Duchess.”

“Even when he is wrong?”

“Harry is never wrong, Duchess.”

“And does his philosophy make you happy?”

“I have never searched for happiness. Who wants happiness? I have searched for pleasure.”

Dorian sums up his philosophy earlier (204):

“To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul.” Yes, that was the secret. He had often tried it, and would try it again now.

Even Lord Henry knows the hideous secret that this is madness (224):

“All ways end at the same point, my dear Gladys.”
“What is that?”
“Disillusion.”

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