Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Oscar Wilde / Quotes

by Oscar Wilde


Self-denial is the shining sore on the leprous body of Christianity.

Acting and Actors

I love acting. It is so much more real than life.


The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.

Age and Aging

No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.

Arts and Artists

All art is quite useless.


The basis of optimism is sheer terror.


Nowadays, all the married men live like bachelors, and all the bachelors like married men.


There is luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.


It is very vulgar to talk about one's business. Only people like stockbrokers do that, and then merely at dinner parties.


It is only the superficial qualities that last. Man's deeper nature is soon found out.


Few parents nowadays pay any regard to what their children say to them. The old-fashioned respect for the young is fast dying out.


A man's very highest moment is, I have no doubt at all, when he kneels in the dust, and beats his breast, and tells all the sins of his life.


The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.

Cries and Crying

Crying is the refuge of plain women but the ruin of pretty ones.

Critics and Criticism

On an occasion of this kind it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one's mind. It becomes a pleasure.

Death and Dying

Alas, I am dying beyond my means.


Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.


She is absolutely inadmissible into society. Many a woman has a past, but I am told that she has at least a dozen, and that they all fit.


One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.


Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.


Pardon me, you are not engaged to any one. When you do become engaged to some one, I, or your father, should his health permit him, will inform you of the fact. An engagement should come on a young girl as a surprise, pleasant or unpleasant, as the case may be. It is hardly a matter that she could be allowed to arrange for herself.


An ordinary man away from home giving advice.


I can believe anything provided it is incredible.


One's real life is so often the life that one does not lead.

Friends and Friendship

An acquaintance that begins with a compliment is sure to develop into a real friendship.


The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.


If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.


Frank Harris has been received in all the great houses -- once!

History and Historians

To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture.


I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.


The husbands of very beautiful women belong to the criminal classes.

Ideals and Idealism

A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.


Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.


Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.

Intelligence and Intellectuals

The intellect is not a serious thing, and never has been. It is an instrument on which one plays, that is all.


Plain women are always jealous of their husbands. Beautiful women never are. They are always so occupied with being jealous of other women's husbands.

Kisses and Kissing

A kiss may ruin a human life.


The mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-à-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value.

Lies and Lying

The liar at any rate recognizes that recreation, not instruction, is the aim of conversation, and is a far more civilized being than the blockhead who loudly expresses his disbelief in a story which is told simply for the amusement of the company.

Life and Living

The man who says he has exhausted life generally means that life has exhausted him.


Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose. The nineteenth century, as we know it, is largely an invention of Balzac.


Yet each man kills the thing he loves from all let this be heard some does it with a bitter look some with a flattering word the coward does it with a kiss the brave man with the sword.


If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.


When a woman marries again it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.


My experience is that as soon as people are old enough to know better, they don't know anything at all.


The Ideal Man should talk to us as if we were goddesses, and treat us as if we were children. He should refuse all our serious requests, and gratify every one of our whims. He should encourage us to have caprices, and forbid us to have missions. He should always say much more than he means, and always mean much more than he says.

Men and Women

Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our gigantic intellects.


Life would be dull without them.

Modern and Modernism

It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.


I never approve, or disapprove, of anything now. It is an absurd attitude to take towards life. We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices. I never take any notice of what common people say, and I never interfere with what charming people do.


Lord Illingworth: All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. Mrs. Allonby: No man does. That is his.


Of course the music is a great difficulty. You see, if one plays good music, people don't listen, and if one plays bad music people don't talk.


No work of art ever puts forward views. Views belong to people who are not artists.

Parents and Parenting

To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune... to lose both seems like carelessness.


The condition of perfection is idleness: the aim of perfection is youth.


Popularity is the crown of laurel which the world puts on bad art. Whatever is popular is wrong.

Poverty and The Poor

As for the virtuous poor, one can pity them, of course, but one cannot possibly admire them. They have made private terms with the enemy, and sold their birthright for very bad pottage. They must also be extraordinarily stupid.

Professions and Professionals

There is something tragic about the enormous number of young men there are in England at the present moment who start life with perfect profiles, and end by adopting some useful profession.


The sick do not ask if the hand that smoothes their pillow is pure, nor the dying care if the lips that touch their brow have known the kiss of sin.


Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws. Their origin is pure vanity. Their result is absolutely nil. They give us, now and then, some of those luxurious sterile emotions that have a certain charm for the weak. They a

Romance and Romanticism

Men always want to be a woman's first love. Women have a more subtle instinct: What they like is to be a man's last romance.


It is well for his peace that the saint goes to his martyrdom. He is spared the sight of the horror of his harvest.


Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.


He knew the precise psychological moment when to say nothing.


The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.


Skepticism is the beginning of Faith.


Never speak disrespectfully of Society. Only people who can't get into it do that.

Speakers and Speaking

Lots of people act well, but few people talk well. This shows that talking is the more difficult of the two.


While one should always study the method of a great artist, one should never imitate his manner. The manner of an artist is essentially individual, the method of an artist is absolutely universal. The first is personality, which no one should copy; the second is perfection, which all should aim at.

Tact and Tactfulness

To have the reputation of possessing the most perfect social tact, talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you.

Taxes and Taxation

Rich bachelors should be heavily taxed. It is not fair that some men should be happier than others.


Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when called upon to act according with the dictates of reason.


The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life.


It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style.


One should never trust a woman who tells her real age. If she tells that, she'll tell anything.


The worst form of tyranny the world has ever known the tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts.


Vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people.


Every man of ambition has to fight his century with its own weapons. What this century worships is wealth. The God of this century is wealth. To succeed one must have wealth. At all costs one must have wealth.


Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attraction of others.


The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analyzed, women merely adored.

Writers and Writing

From the point of view of literature Mr. Kipling is a genius who drops his aspirates. From the point of view of life, he is a reporter who knows vulgarity better than any one has ever known it.


Those whom the gods love grow young.

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