Oscar Wilde Quotes
...Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all.
...my dear boy, no woman is a genius. They are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.
A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?
A grand passion is the privelege of people who have nothing to do.
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.
A man can't be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.
A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.
A woman begins by resisting a man's advances, and ends by blocking his retreat.
A woman who cannot make her mistakes charming, is only a female.
About foxhunting: The unspeakable chasing the uneatable.
Action: the last resource of those who know not how to dream.
Alas, I am dying beyond my means.
All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their own peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their own peril.
All art is quite useless.
All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.
America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,
Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.
Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend's success.
Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.
Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.
Art is the most intense form of individualism that the world has known.
As long as war is regarded as wicked it will always have its fascinations. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
At twilight, nature is not without loveliness, though perhaps its chief use is to illustrate quotations from the poets.
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.
Beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only the shallow people who do not judge by appearances.
Being natural is simply a pose.
Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same
Biography lends to death a new terror.
Bore: a man who is never unintentionally rude.
Brothers? Oh, I hate brothers. My older brother just doesn't know when to die, and my younger brothers seem to do nothing but.
But I can't help detesting my relations. I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.
But what is the difference between literature and journalism?
Chastity is the greatest form of perversion.
Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.
Conscience and cowardice are really the same thing. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm.
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Democracy is the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people.
Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience and rebellion that progress has been made.
Divorces are made in heaven.
Do not speak ill of society, Algie. Only people who can't get in do that.
Dreamers can find their way by moonlight and their only punishment is that they see the dawn before the rest of the world.
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.
Everyone who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.
Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing.
Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
Few of our modern novelists dare to invent a single thing. It is an open secret that they don't know how to do it.
For he who lives more lives than one
Genius is born--not paid.
Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.
He hadn't a single redeeming vice.
He has never written a single book, so you can imagine how much he knows.
Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty.
Humanity takes itself too seriously. It's the world's original sin. If the caveman had known how to laugh, history would have been different.
I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.
I always like to know everything about my new friends, and nothing about my old ones.
I am not young enough to know everything.
I am the only person in the world I should like to know thoroughly.
I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.
I can resist anything but temptation.
I can't help detesting my relations. I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.
I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
I don't like principles. I prefer prejudices.
I don't play accurately-any one can play accurately- but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.
I have nothing to declare but my genius.
I have the simplest of tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my greatest pleasures. I often have long conversations all by myself and I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a word of what I'm saying.
I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.
I love acting. It is so much more real than life.
I love hearing my relations abused. It is the only thing that makes me put up with them at all.
I must decline your invitation owing to a subsequent engagement.
I sometimes think that God, in creating man, overestimated His ability.
I suppose that I shall have to die beyond my means.
I think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.
I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
If England treats her criminals the way she has treated me, she doesn't deserve to have any.
If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.
Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.
Illusion is the first of all pleasures.
Imagination is a quality given to man to compensate for what he is not, and a sense of humaor is provided to console him from what he is.
In the world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.
It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is fatal.
It is an odd thing, but everyone 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 about things that do not interest one that one can give really unbiased opinions, which is no doubt the reason why an unbiased opinion is always valueless.
It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.
It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.
It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.
It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
Journalism justifies its own existence by the great Darwinian principle of the survival of the vulgarist.
Knowledge would be fatal, it is the uncertainty that charms one. A mist makes things beautiful.
Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship; and it is by far the best ending for one.
Life imitates art more than art imitates life.
Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.
Life is too important to be taken seriously.
Like dear St. Francis of Assisi I am wedded to Poverty: but in my case the marriage is not a success.
Live the wonderful life that is in you.
Man can believe the impossible, but man can never believe the improbable.
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.
Missionaries are going to reform the world whether it wants to or not.
Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.
Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people we personally dislike.
Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.
More deaths than one must die.
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.
Music makes one feel so romantic - at least it always gets on one's nerves - which is the same thing nowadays.
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.
My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people's.
My wallpaper and i are fighting a duel to death. One or the other has to go.
None knew so well as I:
Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
Nothing is so aggravating as calmness.
Nowadays 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.
Oh! don't use big words. They mean so little.
One can always be kind to people about whom one cares nothing.
One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.
One is tempted to define man as a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing.
One should absorb the colour of life, but one should never remember its details. Details are always vulgar.
One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.
One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.
One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.
One's real life is often the life that one does not lead.
Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.
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.
Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.
Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.
People are very fond of giving away what they need most themselves. It is what I call the depth of generosity.
People 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.
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.
Philanthropic people lose all sense of Humanity, it is their distinguishing characteristic.
Philanthropy is the refuge of rich people who wish to annoy their fellow creatures.
Philosophy teaches us to bear with equanimity the misfortunes of others.
Popularity is the one insult I have never suffered.
Punctuality is the thief of time.
Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn't there, and finding it.
Religion is the fashionable substitute for belief.
Rich bachelors should be heavily taxed. It is not fair that some men should be happier than others.
Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.
Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.
Science is the record of dead religions.
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.
She is a peacock in everything but beauty.
Simple pleasures are the last refuge of the complex.
Sin is the only real colour element left in modern life.
Society produces rogues, and education makes one rogue cleverer than another.
Sometimes it takes courage to give into temptation.
Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.
Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons.
The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray, and the advantage of science is that it is not emotional.
The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly - that is what each of us is here for.
The basis of optimism is sheer terror.
The brotherhood of man is not a mere poet's dream: it is a most depressing and humiliating reality.
The English country gentleman galloping after a fox - the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.
The fact is, that civilization requires slaves. The Greeks were quite right there. Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture, and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.
The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.
The only charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception necessary for both parties.
The only excuse for creating something useless is that one admires it intensely.
The only possible form of exercise is to talk, not to walk.
The only thing one never regrets are one's mistakes.
The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling I have always cultivated.
The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.
The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself.
The problem with the common person is that he is so unbearably common!
The proper basis for marriage is a mutual misunderstanding.
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 public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.
The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror.
The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived.
The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life.
The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analyzed, women. merely adored.
The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.
The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
The very essence of love is uncertainty.
There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.
There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating: people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.
There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.
There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.
There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.
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 only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
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.
Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.
To be good, according to the vulgar standard of goodness, is obviously quite easy. It merely requires a certain amount of sordid terror, a certain lack of imaginative thought, and a certain low passion for middle-class respectability.
To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.
To disagree with three-fourths of the British public is one of the first requisites of sanity.
To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.
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.
To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.
Truth, in the matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.
Vile deeds like poison weeds bloom well in prison air, it is only what is good in man, that wastes and withers there.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices.
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.
We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.
We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.
We teach people how to remember, we never teach them how to grow.
We're all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
Well, I can't eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them.
What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
What people call insincerity is simply a method by which we can multiply our personalities.
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 critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.
When I was young, I thought money was the most important thing in life. Now, when I'm old, I know it is.
When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one's self, and one always ends by deceiving others.
When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people. It is excessively boring.
When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.
When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy.
Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.
Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
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.
Why was I born with such contemporaries?
Wisdom comes with winters.
Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our intellects.
Work is the curse of the drinking classes.