Quotes by Oscar Wilde

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Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 November 30, 1900) was an Anglo-Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and short story writer. One of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London, and one of the ... more

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Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are.

Man can believe the impossible, but man can never believe the improbable.
Genius lasts longer than Beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves.
I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.
What a fuss people make about fidelity! Why, even in love it is purely a question for physiology. It has nothing to do with our own will. Young men want to be faithful, and are not; old men want to be faithless, and cannot: that is all one can say.
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 critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.
There is luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.
It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.
Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.
Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.
Murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.
We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.
One can only give an unbiased opinion about things that do not interest one, which is no doubt the reason an unbiased opinion is always valueless. The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees absolutely nothing.
I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.
Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.
Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humor in the woman.
There is no sin except stupidity.
What is said of a man is nothing. The point is, who says it.
The only thing that ever consoles man for the stupid things he does is the praise he always gives himself for doing them.
Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
The intellect is not a serious thing, and never has been. It is an instrument on which one plays, that is all.
I'm sure I don't know half the people who come to my house. Indeed, from all I hear, I shouldn't like to.
Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.
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.
Fathers should be neither seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life.
The great events of life often leave one unmoved; they pass out of consciousness, and, when one thinks of them, become unreal. Even the scarlet flowers of passion seem to grow in the same meadow as the poppies of oblivion.
Better the rule of One, whom all obey, than to let clamorous demagogues betray our freedom with the kiss of anarchy.
Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.
Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.
No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.
Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attraction of others.
A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.
In this world there are two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. The last is much the worst.
Do you really think, Arthur, that it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations that it requires strength, strength and courage, to yield to.
There's nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It's a thing no married man knows anything about.
What is mind but motion in the intellectual sphere?
When I was young I used to think that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old, I know it is.
Morality is the attitude we adopt toward people whom we personally dislike.
Scandal: gossip made tedious by morality.
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
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.
Nothing looks so like innocence as an indiscretion.
Ignorance is like a delicate fruit; touch it, and the bloom is gone.
The brotherhood of man is not a mere poet's dream: it is a most depressing and humiliating reality.
Like two doomed ships that pass in storm we had crossed each other's way: but we made no sign, we said no word, we had no word to say.
Examinations, sir, are pure humbug from beginning to end. If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he knows is bad for him.
As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
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.
It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.
It's absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.
There is no such thing as a moral book or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all.
The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything, and the young know everything.
The youth of America is their oldest tradition. It has been going on now for three hundred years.
Action is the last resource of those who know not how to dream.
The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat.
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.