Oscar Wilde Quotes

To make men Socialists is nothing, but to make Socialism human is a great thing.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. review of Chants of Labour: A Song-Book of the People, ed. Edward Carpenter, Pall Mall Gazette (London, Feb. 15, 1889).
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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.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Vivian, in The Decay of Lying, published in Intentions (1891).
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Modern pictures are, no doubt, delightful to look at. At least, some of them are. But they are quite impossible to live with; they are too clever, too assertive, too intellectual. Their meaning is too obvious, and their method too clearly defined. One exhausts what they have to say in a very short time, and then they become as tedious as one's relations.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Gilbert, in The Critic as Artist, pt. 2, published in Intentions (1891).
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Good artists exist simply in what they make, and consequently are perfectly uninteresting in what they are. A really great poet is the most unpoetical of all creatures. But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating. The worse their rhymes are, the more picturesque they look. The mere fact of having published a book of second-rate sonnets makes a man quite irresistible. He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realise.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 4 (1891).
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The only thing that ever consoles man for the stupid things he does is the praise he always gives himself for doing them.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. review of Chuang Tsu: Mystic, Moralist and Social Reformer, Speaker (London, Feb. 8, 1890), trans. by Herbert A. Giles.
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Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. repr. In Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, ed. J.B. Foreman (1966). Vivian, in The Decay of Lying, Intentions (1891).
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I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Gwendolen, in The Importance of Being Earnest, act 3.
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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 are simply cheques that men draw on a bank where they have no account.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 8 (1891).
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The exquisite art of idleness, one of the most important things that any University can teach.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Review of Laurence Binyon, Manmohan Ghose, Stephen Phillips and Arthur Cripps, Primavera: Poems, Pall Mall Gazette (London, May 24, 1890).
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Wordsworth went to the Lakes, but he was never a lake poet. He found in stones the sermons he had already hidden there.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. repr. In Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, ed. J.B. Foreman (1966). Vivian, in The Decay of Lying, Intentions (1891). The words recall Shakespeare, As You Like It, act 2, sc. 1, l. 15-17: "And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
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