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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A man who moralizes is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralizes is invariably plain.

There is no such thing as morality or immorality in thought. There is immoral emotion.
Lord Illingworth: All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. Mrs. Allonby: No man does. That is his.
Musical people are so absurdly unreasonable. They always want one to be perfectly dumb at the very moment when one is longing to be absolutely deaf.
If one hears bad music, it is one's duty to drown it by one's conversation.
It is a sad truth, but we have lost the faculty of giving lovely names to things. Names are everything. I never quarrel with actions. My one quarrel is with words. The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for.
It is always the unreadable that occurs.
Newspapers have degenerated. They may now be absolutely relied upon.
Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.
The sign of a Philistine age is the cry of immorality against art.
No work of art ever puts forward views. Views belong to people who are not artists.
For his mourners will be outcast men, and outcasts always mourn.
One's past is what one is. It is the only way by which people should be judged.
In modern life nothing produces such an effect as a good platitude. It makes the whole world kin.
The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.
The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster.
Pleasure is Nature's test, her sign of approval. When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment.
A poet can survive anything but a misprint.
Only people who look dull ever get into the House of Commons, and only people who are dull ever succeed there.
He thinks like a Tory, and talks like a Radical, and that's so important nowadays.
Popularity is the only insult that has not yet been offered to Mr. Whistler.
Most of our modern portrait painters are doomed to absolute oblivion. They never paint what they see. They paint what the public sees, and the public never sees anything.
Who, being loved, is poor?
As for the virtuous poor, one can pity them, of course, but one cannot possibly admire them. They have made private terms with the enemy, and sold their birthright for very bad pottage. They must also be extraordinarily stupid.
In going to America one learns that poverty is not a necessary accompaniment to civilization.
He to whom the present is the only thing that is present, knows nothing of the age in which he lives.
I know not whether Laws be right or whether Laws be wrong; all that we know who live in gaol is that the wall is strong; and that each day is like a year, a year whose days are long.
There is something tragic about the enormous number of young men there are in England at the present moment who start life with perfect profiles, and end by adopting some useful profession.
Only mediocrities progress. An artist revolves in a cycle of masterpieces, the first of which is no less perfect than the last.
If 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.
What between the duties expected of one during one's lifetime, and the duties exacted from one after one's death, land has ceased to be either a profit or a pleasure. It gives one position, and prevents one from keeping it up. That's all that can be said about land.
The more one analyses people, the more all reasons for analysis disappear. Sooner or later one comes to that dreadful universal thing called human nature.
The English public, as a mass, takes no interest in a work of art until it is told that the work in question is immoral.
Yes; the public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.
Public Opinion... an attempt to organize the ignorance of the community, and to elevate it to the dignity of physical force.
No publisher should ever express an opinion on the value of what he publishes. That is a matter entirely for the literary critic to decide. I can quite understand how any ordinary critic would be strongly prejudiced against a work that was accompanied by a premature and unnecessary panegyric from the publisher. A publisher is simply a useful middle-man. It is not for him to anticipate the verdict of criticism.
He was always late on principle, his principle being that punctuality is the thief of time.
One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted; and a community is infinitely more brutalized by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime.
I hate vulgar realism in literature. The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for.
Religions die when they are proved to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.
Yes, I am a thorough republican. No other form of government is so favorable to the growth of art.
One can survive everything nowadays, except death, and live down anything except a good reputation.
Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws. Their origin is pure vanity. Their result is absolutely nil. They give us, now and then, some of those luxurious sterile emotions that have a certain charm for the weak. They a
The old-fashioned respect for the young is fast dying out.
He rides in the row at ten o clock in the morning, goes to the Opera three times a week, changes his clothes at least five times a day, and dines out every night of the season. You don't call that leading an idle life, do you?
He must have a truly romantic nature, for he weeps when there is nothing at all to weep about.
There is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob; all authority is equally bad.
The salesman knows nothing of what he is selling save that he is charging a great deal too much for it.
One should never make one's debut with a scandal. One should reserve that to give an interest to one's old age.
Gossip is charming! History is merely gossip. But scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.
It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.
Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.
A person who, because he has corns himself, always treads on other people's toes.
A sentimentalist is simply one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.
He knew the precise psychological moment when to say nothing.
What is termed Sin is an essential element of progress. Without it the world would stagnate, or grow old, or become colorless. By its curiosity Sin increases the experience of the race. Through its intensified assertion of individualism it saves us from monotony of type. In its rejection of the current notions about morality, it is one with the higher ethics.
The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret.
To make men Socialists is nothing, but to make Socialism human is a great thing.
Never speak disrespectfully of Society. Only people who can't get into it do that.
Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.