Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays, as well as the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death.

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To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.

Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary.

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.

You don't love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written.

Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend's success.

I don't want to earn my living, I want to live.

Who, being loved, is poor?

Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.

Everything in the world is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

The best way to make children good is to make them happy.

The world is divided into two classes, those who believe the incredible and those who do the improbable.

Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.

Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.

The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.

Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.

I can resist everything except temptation.

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.

One should never trust a woman who tells her real age. If she tells that, she'll tell anything.

True friends stab you in the front.

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again there is no use in reading it at all.

Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us, and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.

I am not young enough to know everything.

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

Hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing better to do.

Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.

Men always want to be a woman's first love. Women have a more subtle instinct: What they like is to be a man's last romance.

With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.

Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.

Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.

Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.

Long engagements give people the opportunity of finding out each other's character before marriage, which is never advisable.

Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.

Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.

Education is an admirable thing but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

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.

One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.

A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction.

I am the only person in the world I should like to know thoroughly.

Charity creates a multitude of sins.

One's past is what one is. It is the only way by which people should be judged.

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.

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.

How marriage ruins a man! It is as demoralizing as cigarettes and far more expensive.

Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.

To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.

Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.

Woman begins by resisting a man's advances and ends by blocking his retreat.

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.

It is through art, and through art only, that we can realise our perfection.

The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.

It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.

It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.

Fathers should be neither seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life.

Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.

Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Work is the curse of the drinking classes.

I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.

When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life, now that I am old I know that it is.

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.

When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.

One can survive everything nowadays, except death, and live down everything, except a good reputation.

If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.

Men marry because they are tired, women because they are curious, both are disappointed.

The typewriting machine, when played with expression, is no more annoying than the piano when played by a sister or near relation.

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.

While we look to the dramatist to give romance to realism, we ask of the actor to give realism to romance.

There is no sin except stupidity.

I sometimes think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.

The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it's dead for you.

There is nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It is a thing no married man knows anything about.

A man can't be too careful in the choice of his enemies.

Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.

If one could only teach the English how to talk and the Irish how to listen society here would be quite civilized.

Only the shallow know themselves.

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.

Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.

The world has grown suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life.

An excellent man, he has no enemies, and none of his friends like him.

No man is rich enough to buy back his past.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.

Children begin by loving their parents, after a time they judge them, rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.

One's real life is so often the life that one does not lead.

It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.

Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.

One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.

If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.

Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

I put all my genius into my life, I put only my talent into my works.

In all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

If one plays good music people don't listen, and if one plays bad music people don't talk.

If there was less sympathy in the world there would be less trouble in the world.

Success is a science, if you have the conditions you get the result.

When a man has once loved a woman he will do anything for her, except continue to love her.

Man can believe the impossible but man can never believe the improbable.

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants and the other is getting it.

The one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.

Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing.

There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating - people who know absolutely everything and people who know absolutely nothing.

Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our gigantic intellects.

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.

When good Americans die they go to Paris.

Hatred is blind as well as love.

Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us.

One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.

Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.

It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.

I never approve, or disapprove, of anything now. It is an absurd attitude to take towards life. We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices. I never take any notice of what common people say, and I never interfere with what charming people do.

It is very vulgar to talk about one's business. Only people like stockbrokers do that, and then merely at dinner parties.

I have found that all ugly things are made by those who strive to make something beautiful, and that all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful.

She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.

There is nothing so difficult to marry as a large nose.

I want my food dead. Not sick, not dying, dead.

In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.

By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.

Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.

Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are. That is the difference between the sexes.

Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.

I see when men love women. They give them but a little of their lives. But women when they love give everything.

Life is never fair and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.

There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.

Why was I born with such contemporaries?

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter she is perfectly satisfied.

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.

I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.

The good ended happily and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.

How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.

An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.

There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

There is something terribly morbid in the modern sympathy with pain. One should sympathise with the colour the beauty, the joy of life. The less said about life's sores, the better.

The critic has to educate the public, the artist has to educate the critic.

Men always want to be a woman's first love - women like to be a man's last romance.

It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But it is better to be good than to be ugly.

As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar it will cease to be popular.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures.

I have nothing to declare except my genuis.

Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.

Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing it is always from the noblest motives.

Perhaps after all America never has been discovered. I myself would say that it had merely been detected.

A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.

The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.

There are many things that we would throw away, if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.

The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.

He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.

Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everyone in good society holds exactly the same opinion.

Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Now that the House of Commons is trying to become useful it does a great deal of harm.

Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.

There is always something infinitely mean about other people's tragedies.

Everything popular is wrong.

There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.

A poet can survive everything but a misprint.

A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.

The basis of optimism is sheer terror.

It is always the unreadable that occurs.

Those whom the gods love grow young.

Biography lends to death a new terror.

A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.

What we have to do, what at any rate it is our duty to do, is to revive the old art of lying.

The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray.

To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose both looks like carelessness.

No object is so beautiful that under certain conditions it will not look ugly.

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.

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.

Arguments are to be avoided: they are always vulgar and often convincing.

The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world.

All art is quite useless.

It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.

Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Alas I am dying beyond my means.

Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty.

All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.

I think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.

Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage, to yield to.

I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.

This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.

Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it... I can resist everything but temptation.

I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.

It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.

Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.

In modern life nothing produces such an effect as a good platitude. It makes the whole world kin.

Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.

Death and vulgarity are the only two facts in the nineteenth century that one cannot explain away.

The salesman knows nothing of what he is selling, save that he is charging a great deal too much for it.

In America the President reigns for four years and Journalism governs forever and ever.

The well bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.

In married life three is company and two none.

Nothing is so aggravating than calmness.

Society exists only as a mental concept, in the real world there are only individuals.

There is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob, all authority is equally bad.

Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.

One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is that things are what they are and will be what they will be.

I suppose society is wonderfully delightful. To be in it is merely a bore. But to be out of it is simply a tragedy.

Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.

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