Oscar Wilde Quotes

The mere existence of conscience, that faculty of which people prate so much nowadays, and are so ignorantly proud, is a sign of our imperfect development. It must be merged in instinct before we become fine.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Gilbert, in "The Critic As Artist," pt. 1, published in Intentions (1891).
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The basis of optimism is sheer terror.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 6 (1891).
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Work is the curse of the drinking classes.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Quoted in Life of Oscar Wilde, ch. 12, Hesketh Pearson (1946).
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As one knows the poet by his fine music, so one can recognise 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.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Vivian, in "The Decay of Lying," published in Intentions (1891).
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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.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. repr. In Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, ed. J.B. Foreman (1966). Gilbert, in The Critic as Artist, pt. 2, Intentions (1891).
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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.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 1 (1891).
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Personality must be accepted for what it is. You mustn't mind that a poet is a drunk, rather that drunks are not always poets.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Quoted in Richard Ellman, Oscar Wilde, ch. 21 (1987). Of poet Ernest Dowson.
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Nobody of any real culture, for instance, ever talks nowadays about the beauty of sunset. Sunsets are quite old fashioned.... To admire them is a distinct sign of provincialism of temperament. Upon the other hand they go on.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Vivian, in The Decay of Lying, Intentions (1891).
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It is well for his peace that the saint goes to his martyrdom. He is spared the sight of the horror of his harvest.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Gilbert, in The Critic as Artist, pt. 1 (1890).
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Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 2 (1891).
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