Oscar Wilde Rodomontade
poet and dramatist whose reputation rests on his comic masterpieces Lady
Wintermere's Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest. Among Wilde's other
best-known works are his only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, which deals very
similar theme as Robert Luis Stevenson's Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde. Wilde's
fairy tales are very popular - the motifs have been compared to those of Hans
Wilde was born in Dublin to unconventional
parents - his mother Lady Jane Francesca Wilde (1820-96), was an poet and
journalist. Her pen name was Sperenzaand she warded off creditors by reciting
Aeschylus. His father was Sir William Wilde, an Irish antiquarian, gifted
writer, and specialist in diseases of the eye and ear. Wilde studied at Portora Royal School,
Enniskillen, County Fermanagh (1864-71),
Trinity College, Dublin (1871-74) and Magdalen College, Oxford (1874-78), where he was taught by Walter
Patewr and John Ruskin. In Oxford Wilde shocked the pious dons with his
irreverent attitude towards religion and was jeered at his eccentric clothes. He collected blue china
and peacock's feathers, and later his velvet knee-breeches drew much attention.
In 1878 Wilde received his B.A. and on the
same year he moved to London. His lifestyle and humourous wit made him soon
spokesman for Aestheticism, the late 19th century movement in England that
advocated art for art's sake. He worked as art reviewer (1881), lectured in the
United States and Canada (1882), and lived in Paris (1883). Between the years
1883 and 1884 he lectured in Britain. From the mid-1880s he was regular
contributor for Pall Mall Gazette and Dramatic View. In 1884 Wilde married
Constance Lloyd (died 1898) and to support his family Wilde edited
in 1887-89 Woman's World magazine. In 1888 he
published The Happy Prince and Other Tales, fairy-stories written for his two
sons. The Picture of Dorian Gray followed in 1890 and next year he brought out more fairy tales.
The marriage ended in 1893. Wilde had met anfew years earlier Lord Alfred
Douglas ('Bosie'), an athlete and a poet, who became both the love of the
author's life and his downfall.
made his reputation in theatre world between the years 1892 and 1895 with a
series of highly popular plays. Lady Wintermere's Fan (1892) dealt with a
blackmailing divorcée driven to self-sacrifice by maternal love. In A Woman of
No Importance (1893) an illegitimeson is torn between his father and mother. An
Ideal Husband (1895) dealt with blackmail, political corruption and public and
private honour. The Importance of Being
Earnest (1895) was about two fashionable young gentlemen and their eventually
Before the theatrical success Wilde produced
several essays, many of these anonymously. His two major literary-theoretical
works were the dialogues 'The Decay of Lying' (1889) and 'The Critic as Artist'
(1890). In the latter Wilde lets his character state, that criticism is
the superior part of creation, and that the critic must not be fair, rational, and sincere, but possessed of 'a temperament
exquisitely susceptible to beauty'. In a more traditional essay The Soul of a Man
UnderSocialism (1891) Wilde takes an optimistic view of the road to socialist
future. He rejects the Christian ideal of self-sacrifice in favor of joy.
married and the father of two children, Wilde's personal life was opent to
rumours. His years of triumph ended
dramatically, when his intimate association with
Alfred Douglas led to his trial on charges of homosexuality (then illegal in
Britain). He was sentenced two years
hard labour for
the crime of sodomy. During his first trial Wilde defended himself, that
"the 'Love that dare not
speak its name' in this century is such a great affection of an eleder for a
younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very
basis of his philosphy, and such as you find in the
sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare... There is nothing unnatural about
it." Mr. Justice Wills, stated when pronouncing the sentence, that
"people who can do these things must be dead to all senses of shame, and
one cannot hope to produce any effect upon
was first in Wandsworthprison, London, and then Reading Gaol. When he was at
last allowed pen and paper after more than 19 months of deprivation, Wilde had
became inclined to take opposite views on the potential of humankind toward
perfection. During this time he wrote DE PROFUNDIS (1905), a dramatic monologue
and autobiography, which was addessed to Alfred Douglas.
his release in 1897 Wilde lived under the name Sebastian Melmoth in Berneval,
near Dieppe, then in Paris. He wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol, revealing his
concern for inhumane prison conditions. It is said, that on his death bed Wilde
became a Roman Catholic. He died of cerebral meningitis on November 30, 1900,
penniless, in a cheap Paris hotel at the age of 46.
cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it
leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?
(The Picture of Dorian Gray)
A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings
kiss may ruin a human life. (A Woman
of No Importance)
little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely
fatal. (The Critic as Artist)
man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her. (The
Picture of Dorian Gray)
man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (The Picture of Dorian
man who moralizes is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralizes is
invariably plain. (Lady Windermere's
A poet can survive everything but a misprint.
A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.
A true friend stabs you in the front.
A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.
Don't say you agree with me. When people agree with me. I always feel that I
must be wrong. (The Critic as Artist)
Ah, well, then, I suppose that I shall have to die beyond my means. (at mention of huge fee for surgical operation)
All art is quite useless. (The Portrait of Dorian Gray)
All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
All that I desire to point out is the general principle that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life. (Intentions)
All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.
Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.
Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.
America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.
Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everyone in good society holds exactly the same opinion.
Arguments are to be avoided: they are always vulgar and often convincing.
Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.
for the virtuous poor, one can pity them, of course, but one cannot possibly
admire them. (The Soul of Man under Socialism)
As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.
As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular. (The Critic as Artist)
As yet, Bernard Shaw hasn't become prominent enough to have any enemies, but none of his friends like him.
At 46 one must be a miser; only have time for essentials.
Beauty is a form of genius - is higher, indeed, than
genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts in the world like
sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we
call the moon.
Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.
Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole!
Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.
Biography lends to death a new terror.
By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.
Charity creates a multitude of sins.
Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them. (A Woman of No Importance)
Children have a natural antipathy to books - handicraft should be the basis of education. Boys and girls should be taught to use their hands to make something, and they would be less apt to destroy and be mischievous.
Conscience and cowardice are really the same things. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm. That is all.
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
is the refuge of plain women but the ruin of pretty ones. (Lady
leisure is the aim of man. (Fortnightly Review)
sir, it is your duty to get married. You can't be always living for pleasure.
Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.
Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to.
is what one expects from others, it is not what one does oneself. (A Woman of No
Each class preaches the importance of those virtues it need not exercise. The rich harp on the value of thrift, the idle grow eloquent over the dignity of labor.
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. (Intentions)
Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.
Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.
Everything popular is wrong.
Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing.
Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes. (Lady Windermere's Fan)
is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect -
simply a confession of failures. (The
Picture of Dorian Gray)
Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
Fathers should be neither seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life.
is all very well a good game for rough girls, but not for delicate boys.
Hatred is blind, as well as love.
He hadn't a single redeeming vice.
He [Bernard Shaw] hasn't an enemy in the world, and none of his friends like him. (Quoted in Shaw, Sixteen Self Sketches)
He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realise.
He must have a truly romantic nature, for he weeps when there is nothing at all to weep about.
He was always late on principle, his principle being that punctuality is the thief of time.
How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.
many men there are in modern life who would like to see their past burning to
white ashes before them! (An Ideal
How marriage ruins a man! It is as demoralizing as cigarettes, and far more expensive.
How strange a thing this is! The Priest telleth me that the Soul is worth all the gold in the world, and the merchants say that it is not worth a clipped piece of silver.
I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself. (An Ideal Husband)
I am sick of women who love one. Women who hate one are much more interesting. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
I am not young enough to know everything.
am the only person in the world I should like to know thoroughly. (Lady
can believe anything as long as it is incredible.
I can resist everything except temptation. (Lady Windermere's Fan)
can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something
unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect. (The Picture of Dorian
can sympathize with everything, except suffering. (The Portrait of Dorian Gray)
I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
delight in men over seventy, they always offer one the devotion of a lifetime. (A
Woman of No Importance)
I dislike arguments of any kind. They are always vulgar, and often convincing.
don't know that women are always rewarded for being charming. I think they are
usually punished for it! (An Ideal
don't like compliments, and I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a
woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't
mean. (Lady Windermere's Fan)
don't think there is a woman in the world who would not be a little flattered if
one made love to her. It is that which makes women so irresistibly adorable.
(A Woman of No Importance)
don't wish to sign my name, though I am afraid everybody will know who the
writer is: one's style is one's signature always. (Letter to the Daily
have made an important discovery…that alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities,
produces all the effects of intoxication. (In
I have nothing to declare except my genius. (at New York customs)
I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.
live in terror of not being misunderstood.
I never play cricket. It requires one to assume such indecent postures.
never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to
read in the train. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
often take exercise. Why only yesterday I had breakfast in bed.
I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.
prefer women with a past. They're always so damned amusing to talk to. (Lady
I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.
I see when men love women. They give them but a little of their lives. But women when they love give everything.
I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.
suppose publishers are untrustworthy. They certainly always look It. (Letter)
I suppose society is wonderfully delightful! To be in it is merely a bore. But to be out of it simply a tragedy. (A Woman of No Importance)
think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.
I want my food dead. Not sick, not dying, dead.
If one could only teach the English how to talk, and the Irish how to listen, society here would be quite civilized. (An Ideal Husband)
If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again,
there is no use in reading it at all.
If one could only teach the English how to talk, and the
Irish how to listen, society here would be quite civilized.
If one plays good music, people don't listen and if one plays bad music people don't talk.
property had simply pleasures, we could stand it; but its duties make it
unbearable. In the interest of the rich we must get rid of it. (Fortnightly
If there was less sympathy in the
world, there would be less trouble in the world.
If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.
If you meet at dinner a man who
has spent his life in educating himself you rise from the table richer, and
conscious that a high ideal has for a moment touched and sanctified your days.
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.
is like a delicate flower: touch it and the bloom is gone. (The Importance of
Illusion is the first of all pleasures.
glad to hear you smoke. A man should always have an occupation of some kind.
There are far too many idle men in London as it is.
sure I don't know half the people who come to my house. Indeed, for all I hear,
I shouldn't like to. (An Ideal Husband)
In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.
In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever.
In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.
In England people actually try to be brilliant at breakfast. That is so dreadful of them! Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.
In every first novel the hero is the author as Christ or Faust.
In married life three is company and two none. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing. (The
Importance of Being Earnest)
the old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press. (Fortnightly Review)
this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and
the other is getting it. (Lady Windermere's Fan)
It is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.
It is an odd thing, but every one who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world.
It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But... it is better to be good than to be ugly.
It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.
It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.
is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the
is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. (The Picture of Dorian
is only the unimaginative who ever invents. The true artist is known by the use
he makes of what he annexes. (Review May 1885)
It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
It is through art, and through art only, that we can realise our perfection.
is very easy to endure the difficulties of one's enemies. It is the successes of
one's friends that are hard to bear.
is very vulgar to talk about one's business. Only people like stockbrokers do
that, and then merely at dinner parties. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
takes a thoroughly good woman to do a thoroughly stupid thing. (Lady
It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.
Its failings notwithstanding, there is much to be said in favor of journalism in that by giving us the opinion of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.
Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a
sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.
Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.
Life is a pilgrimage. The wise man does not rest by the roadside inns. He marches direct to the illimitable domain of eternal bliss, his ultimate destination.
Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.Vera, (Of The Nihilists)
is never fair...And perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.
(An Ideal Husband)
dear St Francis of Assisi I am wedded to Poverty: but in my case the marriage is
not a success. (Letter)
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us.
always want to be a woman's first love - women like to be a man's last romance.
become old, but they never become good. (Lady Windermere's Fan)
know life too early. Women know life too late. That is the difference between
men and women. (A Woman of No
Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.
Moderation is a fatal thing, Lady Hunstanton. Nothing succeeds like excess. (A Woman of No Importance)
Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.
men and women are forced to perform parts for which they have no qualification.
(Lord Arthur Savile's Crime)
Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
Most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Mrs. Allonby: No man does. That is his.
Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.
Music makes one feel so romantic - at least it always gets on one's nerves - which is the same thing nowadays.
dear young lady, there was a great deal of truth, I dare say, in what you said,
and you looked very pretty while you said it, which is much more important.
(A Woman of No Importance)
My great mistake, the fault for which I can't forgive myself, is that one day I ceased my obstinate pursuit of my own individuality.
speak disrespectfully of Society. Only people who can't get into it do that.
(The Importance of Being Earnest)
Falls is the bride's second great disappointment.
No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.
No man is rich enough to buy back his past.
No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.
No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
Nothing is so aggravating than calmness.
Nothing makes one so vain as being told one is a sinner. Conscience makes egotists of us all.
spoils a romance so much as a sense of humor in the woman - or the want of it in
the man. (A Woman of No Importance)
Now that the House of Commons is trying to become useful, it does a great deal of harm.
all the married men live like bachelors and all the bachelors live like married
men. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Nowadays to be intelligible is to be found out.
course America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been
Of course I have played outdoor games. I once played dominoes in an open air cafe in Paris.
an occasion of this kind it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one's mind.
It becomes a pleasure. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.
must have some sort of occupation nowadays. If I hadn't my debts I shouldn't
have anything to think about. (A Woman of No Importance)
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
of us must go. (Attributed)
should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry. (A
Woman of No Importance)
One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.
should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell
one that would tell one anything. (A Woman of No Importance)
One's past is what one is. It is the only way by which people should be judged.
Only the shallow know themselves.
Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself. (An Ideal
Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.
Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered. I myself would say that it had merely been detected.
Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.
Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best. (Impressions of America)
who count their chickens before they are hatched, act very wisely, because
chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately.
(Letter from Paris, dated May 1900)
Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.
if the lower orders don't set a good example, what on earth is the use of them?
(The Importance of Being Earnest)
Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven't got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
Self-denial is the shining sore on the leprous body of Christianity.
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
is the only refuge of the shallow.
She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.
Some of these people need ten years of therapy -ten sentences of mine do not equal ten years of therapy.
Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result. (Letter)
the cook of this restaurant with my compliments that these are the very worst
sandwiches in the whole world, and that, when I ask for a watercress sandwich, I
do not mean a loaf with a field in the middle of it. (Max Beerbohm, letter to
world is a stage, but the play is badly cast. (Lord
Arthur Savile's Crime)
is no sin except stupidity. (The Critic as Artist)
is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly
written. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
is nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It's a thing no
married man knows anything about.
is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not
being talked about. (The Portrait of Dorian Gray)
flaunt their conjugal felicity in one's face, as if it were the most fascinating
of sins. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
suspense is terrible. I hope it will last. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
whom the gods love grow young. (A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the
is a waste of money. (Chameleon)
lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both
looks like carelessness. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance. (An Ideal Husband)
amount of women in London who flirt with their own husbands is perfectly
scandalous. It looks so bad. It is simply washing one's clean linen in public.
(The Importance of Being Earnest)
The basis of optimism is sheer terror.
Book of Life begins with a man and woman in a garden. It ends with Revelations.
(A Woman of No Importance)
The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.
central problem in Hamlet is whether the critics are mad or only pretending to
condition of perfection is idleness: the aim of perfection is youth. (Chameleon)
The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
The English country gentleman galloping after a fox - the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable. (A Woman of No Importance)
English have a miraculous power of turning wine into water. (In Conversation)
extraordinary thing about the lower classes in England is that they are always
losing their relations. They are extremely fortunate in that respect.
The General was essentially a man of peace, except in his domestic life. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
gods bestowed on Max the gift of perpetual old age. (Max Beerbohm)
The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.
The liar at any rate recognizes that recreation, not instruction, is the aim of conversation, and is a far more civilised being than the blockhead who loudly expresses his disbelief in a story which is told simply for the amusement of the company.
The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world. (Quoted by R. Aldington in his edition of Wilde)
The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it's dead for you.
more one analyses people, the more all reasons for analysis disappear. Sooner of
later one comes to that dreadful universal thing called human nature. (The
Decay of Lying )
The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.
old-fashioned respect for the young is fast dying out. (The Importance of Being
The one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.
The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.
The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it... I can resist everything but temptation.
The past is of no importance. The present is of no importance. It is with the future that we have to deal. For the past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.
play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster.
The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands. (The Soul of Man Under Socialism)
The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.
The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
The salesman knows nothing of what he is selling save that he is charging a great deal too much for it.
The security of Society lies in custom and unconscious instinct, and the basis of the stability of Society, as a healthy organism, is the complete absence of any intelligence amongst its members.
The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
The truth is rarely pure, and never simple. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
The typewriting machine, when played with expression, is no more annoying than the piano when played by a sister or near relation.
The world has grown suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life.
The world is divided into two classes, those who believe the incredible, and those who do the improbable.
There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating - people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.
There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.
There is no sin except stupidity.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.
There is no such thing as an omen. Destiny does not send us heralds. She is too wise or too cruel for that.
There is nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It is a thing no married man knows anything about.
There is nothing so difficult to marry as a large nose.
There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
These days man knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing.
They afterwards took me to a dancing saloon where I saw the only rational method of art criticism I have ever come across. Over the piano was printed a notice- 'Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best.'
This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.
Those whom the gods love grow young.
To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.
To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
make men Socialists is nothing, but to make Socialism human is a great thing.
(Pall Mall Gazette)
many, no doubt, he will seem blatant and bumptious, but we prefer to regard him
as being simply British. (Pall Mall Gazette)
To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.
True friends stab you in the front.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. (Lady Windermere's Fan)
are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell. (The
Duchess of Padua)
have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course,
language. (The Canterville Ghost)
is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
(Lady Windermere's Fan)
is mind but motion in the intellectual sphere? (Intentions)
we have to do, what at any rate it is our duty to do, is to revive the old art
When a man has once loved a woman he will do anything for her except continue to love her.
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.
When good Americans die they go to Paris. (The Portrait of Dorian Gray)
When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.
When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.
we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy.
(The Picture of Dorian Gray)
cannibals are on the brink of starvation, Heaven, in its infinite mercy, sends
them a fat missionary.
Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
Who, being loved, is poor?
Why was I born with such contemporaries?
Woman begins by resisting a man's advances and ends by blocking his retreat.
Women are made to be loved, not understood.
are meant to be loved, not to be understood. (The Sphinx Without a Secret)
Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are. That is the difference between the sexes.
give to men the very gold of their lives. But they invariably want it back in
such very small change. (The Picture
of Dorian Gray)
have a much better time than men in this world. There are far more things
forbidden to them.
love men for their defects; if men have enough of them women will forgive them
everything, even their gigantic intellects.
represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of
mind over morals. (The Portrait of Dorian Gray)
Work is the curse of the drinking classes. (Pearson's Life of )
each man kills the thing he loves, by each let this be heard, some do it with a
bitter look, some with a flattering word. The coward does it with a kiss, the
brave man with a sword!
must not find symbols in everything you see. It makes life impossible.
should study the Peerage…It is the best thing in fiction the English have ever
done. (A Woman of No Importance)
Young men want to be faithful and are not; old men want to be faithless and cannot. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Youth! Youth! There is nothing in the world but youth! (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
back to quotes