Victorian Prose Paper II: To Go Beneath the Surface At One’s Own PerilBrittain GillilandThe two works I have chosen, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, differ in their treatment of aesthetic beauty. The Picture of Dorian Gray emphasizes the importance of aesthetic beauty, to the exclusion of other aspects of beauty. Kim, while bringing attention to beautiful things, contains a philosophy that denies the ultimate value of visually pleasing things. The epigrams at the beginning of The Picture of Dorian Grey state explicitly a frame or theory for the appreciation of beautiful things. One epigram states that those who see beauty, and only beauty, in beautiful things “are cultivated”, and “the elect.” (Wilde 3) The importance of only seeing the surface, or purely aesthetic aspect, of beautiful things is emphasized by the warning that those who attempt further analysis or deconstruction of the thing in question “do so at their own peril.” (Wilde 4) Applying these ideas to the novel, we are encouraged to look at its value as a work of art without analyzing further. To appreciate the beauty of the novel according to the epigrams of the preface would refer to noting things such as the rhythms of the prose, the images evoked by descriptive passages, the tone of a paragraph.