When making this comparison, one of the differences that caught my eye was that many times Basil’s name or “the young man” is changed in the censored version to simply “the painter.” There is nothing explicit in referring to Basil by his name, but calling him “the painter” seems to unpersonalize him. This way he is not someone close to Dorian, he is simply a painter. Another subtle difference is that in the edited version, Basil refers to the picture as “the thing” as if he is disgusted by it, whereas in the uncensored version he refers to it simply as “the portrait.”
Throughout the text, the edited version seems to pass off Basil’s love for Dorian as something purely artistic. For example, on the fourth slide in the edited version, Basil explains in detail all of the ways he has painted Dorian, but in the uncensored version he does not go into this at all. He simply says that when he painted the portrait, “there was love in every line, and in every touch there was passion.” When in the uncensored version Basil tells Dorian that he has “been the one person in [his] life of whom [he has] been really fond,” this is changed to “the one person in [his] life who has really influenced [his] art.” Once again Basil’s love is reduced to nothing more than an artist’s aesthetic fascination with his subject.
The most heartbreaking part of the censorship for me is the added line in the edited version: “It was not intended as a compliment. It was a confession. Now that I have made it, something seems to have gone out of me. Perhaps one should never put one’s worship into words.” In the edited version, regardless of whether Basil’s feelings for Dorian are aesthetic or romantic, he no longer seems to have them. In reading the edited version, I was always confused as to why Basil would have so quickly lost his infatuation. But in the uncensored version, this line is not included. Basil simply states that it was not a compliment, but a confession, implying that he still has feelings for Dorian.
The way Dorian’s response to Basil’s confession was edited also infuriates me. In the edited version, Dorian curtly tells Basil: “you mustn’t talk about worship. It is foolish. You and I are friends, Basil, and we must always remain so.” However, in the uncensored version, Dorian says: “you mustn’t talk about not meeting me again, or anything of that kind. You and I are friends, Basil, and we must always remain so.” Originally Dorian never tells Basil that he or his feelings are foolish and that they must not be talked about. Quite the contrary, he says that he wants to carry on meeting with and being friends with Basil. Even if he does not return Basil’s feelings, he is exceptionally polite and accepting of them.
To anyone who has read and enjoyed The Picture of Dorian Gray, I recommend reading the uncensored version to experience this classic work of literature as it was originally intended.