Quotations by Wilde, Oscar


And, after all, what is a fashion? From the artistic point of view, it is usually a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“Literary and Other Notes — I,” Woman’s World (Nov 1887)

Full text.
Added on 11-Oct-07 | Last updated 11-Oct-07
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The value of an idea has nothing whatever to do with the sincerity of the man who expresses it.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“Oscariana” (1909)
Added on 19-Jun-12 | Last updated 19-Jun-12
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ERNEST: What is the differnece between literature and journalism?
GILBERT: Oh! journalism is unreadable, and literature is not read.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“Sebastian Melmoth”
Added on 14-Jul-11 | Last updated 14-Jul-11
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Yet 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.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“The Ballad of Reading Gaol” (1898)
Added on 11-Jul-13 | Last updated 11-Jul-13
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An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“The Critic as Artist,” Intentions (1891)
Added on 13-Mar-12 | Last updated 14-Mar-12
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It is so easy to convert others. It is so difficult to convert oneself.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“The Critic as Artist” (2), Intentions (1891)
Added on 24-Apr-09 | Last updated 24-Apr-09
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Paradox though it may seem — and paradoxes are always dangerous things — it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue,” Littell’s Living Age (16 Feb 1889)
Added on 24-Jun-14 | Last updated 24-Jun-14
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A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“The Portrait of Mr. W.H.,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (Jul 1889)
Added on 22-Aug-11 | Last updated 22-Aug-11
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Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” Fortnightly Review (Feb 1881)
Added on 23-Sep-09 | Last updated 23-Sep-09
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There are three kinds of despots. There is the despot who tyrannizes over the body. There is the despot who tyrannizes over the soul. There is the despot who tyrannizes over the soul and body alike. The first is called the Prince. The second is called the Pope. The third is called the People.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“The Soul of Man under Socialism,” Fortnightly Review (Feb 1891)
Added on 15-Sep-09 | Last updated 15-Sep-09
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There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” Fortnightly Review (Feb 1891)
Added on 23-Mar-12 | Last updated 23-Mar-12
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The basis of optimism is sheer terror.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Simple pleasures are the last refuge of the complex.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)

After Johnson.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Jun-16
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Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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[Wilde:] I wish I had said that.
[James Whistler:] You will, Oscar, you will.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)

in Oscar Wilde ( L. C. Ingleby)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Nothing is so aggravating as calmness.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Put your talent into your work, but your genius into your life.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The truth is rarely plain and never simple.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Who, being loved, is poor?

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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A true friend stabs you in the front.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live. It is asking other people to live as one wishes to live.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
Added on 9-Nov-06 | Last updated 9-Nov-06
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Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)

After Johnson.
Added on 8-Jun-09 | Last updated 21-Jun-16
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The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
A Woman of No Importance, Act 3 [Lord Illingworth] (1894)
    (Source)

See also this.
Added on 7-Jun-12 | Last updated 13-Sep-13
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They are so pleased to find out other people’s secrets. It distracts public attention from their own.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
An Ideal Husband, Act 2 (1895)
Added on 4-Oct-13 | Last updated 4-Oct-13
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When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
An Ideal Husband, Act 2 (1895)
Added on 14-Apr-15 | Last updated 14-Apr-15
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Morality is the attitude we adopt toward people whom we personally dislike.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
An Ideal Husband, Act 2 [Mrs. Cheveley] (1895)
Added on 14-Jul-10 | Last updated 4-Oct-13
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There is one thing worse than an absolutely loveless marriage: a marriage in which there is love, but on one side only.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
An Ideal Husband, Act 4 (1895)
Added on 14-Oct-11 | Last updated 14-Oct-11
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Ultimately, the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or friendship, is conversation.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
De Profundis, “Epistola: In Carcere et Vinculis” (1897)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Jan-19 | Last updated 1-Jan-19
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If Nature had been comfortable, mankind would never have invented architecture.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Intentions, “The Decay of Lying” (1891)
Added on 4-Mar-09 | Last updated 4-Mar-09
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It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Lady Windemere’s Fan, 1 (1892)
Added on 10-Apr-09 | Last updated 10-Apr-09
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We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Lady Windermere’s Fan
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Misfortunes one can endure — they come from outside, they are accidents. But to suffer for one’s own faults — ah! — there is the sting of life.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Lady Windermere’s Fan, Act 1 (1892)
Added on 6-Feb-12 | Last updated 6-Feb-12
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CECIL GRAHAM: What is a cynic?
LORD DARLINGTON: A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Lady Windermere’s Fan, Act 3 (1892)
Added on 16-Jun-09 | Last updated 6-Jun-12
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A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Sebastian Melmoth
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Indeed, in many respects, she was quite English, and was an excellent example of the fact that we have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Canterville Ghost (1887)

See Shaw.
Added on 6-Apr-16 | Last updated 12-Apr-16
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On an occasion of this kind it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one’s mind. It becomes a pleasure.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Importance of Being Earnest
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only people who can’t get into it do that.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
Added on 17-Apr-09 | Last updated 17-Apr-09
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The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Importance of Being Earnest, act 2 (Miss Prism) [1895]
    (Source)
Added on 28-Feb-19 | Last updated 28-Feb-19
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Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 3 (1895)
Added on 20-Jul-15 | Last updated 20-Jul-15
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There is luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.

Wilde - luxury in self-reproach - wist_info quote

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
Added on 28-Mar-16 | Last updated 28-Mar-16
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There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 1 (1891)
Added on 22-Oct-12 | Last updated 22-Oct-12
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Skepticism is the beginning of faith.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 17 (1891)

See also Emerson, Hesse, Tennyson.
Added on 8-Aug-14 | Last updated 29-Aug-14
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Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 6 (1891)
Added on 12-Mar-15 | Last updated 12-Mar-15
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It is confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 8 (1891)
Added on 10-Mar-09 | Last updated 10-Mar-09
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Nothing makes one so vain as being told that one is a sinner. Conscience makes egotists of us all.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 8 [Lord Henry] (1891)
    (Source)
Added on 29-Aug-14 | Last updated 29-Aug-14
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There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Preface (1891)
Added on 3-Jan-19 | Last updated 3-Jan-19
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What is said by great employers of labor against agitators is unquestionably true. Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who come down to some perfectly contented class of the community and sow the seeds of discontent amongst them. That is the reason why agitators are so absolutely necessary. Without them, in our incomplete state, there would be no advance towards civilization.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1891)
    (Source)
Added on 14-May-18 | Last updated 14-May-18
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Life is too important to be taken seriously.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Vera; or, The Nihilists (1883)

Paraphrase of the actual line, "Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it." In Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), he recycled the line as "Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it." More information about this here.
Added on 30-Jul-15 | Last updated 30-Jul-15
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