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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Punctuality is the thief of time. I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.

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.
I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.
There is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob; all authority is equally bad.
It is well for his peace that the saint goes to his martyrdom. He is spared the sight of the horror of his harvest.
The great things in life are what they seem to be. And for that reason, strange as it may sound to you, often are very difficult to interpret (understand). Great passion are for the great of souls. Great events can only be seen by people who are on a level with them. We think we can have our visions for nothing. We cannot. Even the finest and most self-sacrificing visions have to paid for. Strangely enough, that is what makes them fine.
Skepticism is the beginning of Faith.
The fact is, that civilization requires slaves. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.
Talk to a woman as if you loved her, and to a man as if he bored you.
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 something terribly morbid in the modern sympathy with pain. One should sympathize with the color, the beauty, the joy of life. The less said about life's sores the better.
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.
As one knows the poet by his fine music, so one can recognize the liar by his rich rhythmic utterance, and in neither case will the casual inspiration of the moment suffice. Here, as elsewhere, practice must precede perfection.
When liberty comes with hands dabbled in blood it is hard to shake hands with her.
We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.
Bad manners make a journalist.
It was a fatal day when the public discovered that the pen is mightier than the paving-stone, and can be made as offensive as the brickbat. They at once sought for the journalist, found him, developed him, and made him their industrious and well-paid servant. It is greatly to be regretted, for both their sakes.
The modern sympathy with invalids is morbid. Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others.
One knows so well the popular idea of health. The English country gentleman galloping after a fox -- the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.
One should not be too severe on English novels; they are the only relaxation of the intellectually unemployed.
Crying is the refuge of plain women but the ruin of pretty ones.
To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomatist -- the problem is entirely the same in both cases. To know exactly how much oil one must put with one's vinegar.
Conversation should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing.
Who is that man over there? I don't know him. What is he doing? Is he a conspirator? Have you searched him? Give him till tomorrow to confess, then hang him! -- hang him!
Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.
Few parents nowadays pay any regard to what their children say to them. The old-fashioned respect for the young is fast dying out.
It is only the superficial qualities that last. Man's deeper nature is soon found out.
Each of the professions means a prejudice. The necessity for a career forces every one to take sides. We live in the age of the overworked, and the under-educated; the age in which people are so industrious that they become absolutely stupid.
It is very vulgar to talk about one's business. Only people like stockbrokers do that, and then merely at dinner parties.
Bad artists always admire each other's work. They call it being large-minded and free from prejudice. But a truly great artist cannot conceive of life being shown, or beauty fashioned, under any conditions other than those he has selected.
I dislike arguments of any kind. They are always vulgar, and often convincing.
There can be nothing more frequent than an occasional drink.
I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.
Whatever harsh criticisms may be passed on the construction of her sentences, she at least possesses that one touch of vulgarity that makes the whole world kin.
As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have it's fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
London is full of women who trust their husbands. One can always recognize them. They look so thoroughly unhappy.
His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning. As a writer he has mastered everything except language.
In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.
One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.
Only the shallow know themselves.
Talent borrows, genius steals
The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.
I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.
I was disappointed in Niagara -- most people must be disappointed in Niagara. Every American bride is taken there, and the sight of the stupendous waterfall must be one of the earliest, if not the keenest, disappointments in American married 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.
Time is waste of money.
Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when called upon to act according with the dictates of reason.
Technique is really personality. That is the reason why the artist cannot teach it, why the pupil cannot learn it, and why the aesthetic critic can understand it. To the great poet, there is only one method of music -- his own. To the great painter, there is only one manner of painting -- that which he himself employs. The aesthetic critic, and the aesthetic critic alone, can appreciate all forms and all modes. It is to him that Art makes her appeal.
We quaff the cup of life with eager haste without draining it, instead of which it only overflows the brim -- objects press around us, filling the mind with the throng of desires that wait upon them, so that we have no room for the thoughts of death.
Life! Life! Don't let us go to life for our fulfillment or our experience. It is a thing narrowed by circumstances, incoherent in its utterance, and without that fine correspondence of form and spirit which is the only thing that can satisfy the artistic
Life, Lady Stutfield, is simply a mauvais quart d'heure made up of exquisite moments.
Anybody can write a three-volume novel. It merely requires a complete ignorance of both life and literature.
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.
On the whole, the great success of marriage in the States is due partly to the fact that no American man is ever idle, and partly to the fact that no American wife is considered responsible for the quality of her husband's dinners.
To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other's character before marriage, which I think is never advisable.
In old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press.
I know, of course, how important it is not to keep a business engagement, if one wants to retain any sense of the beauty of life.
Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.