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Quotes by Oscar Wilde

  • Irish dramatist
  • Born October 16, 1854
  • Died November 30, 1900

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. Wilde's parents were successful Anglo-Irish intellectuals in Dublin. Their son became fluent in French and German early in life.


In designing the scenery and costumes for any of Shakespeare's plays, the first thing the artist has to settle is the best date for the drama. This should be determined by the general spirit of the play more than by any actual historical references which may occur in it.




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




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




Illusion is the first of all pleasures.




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




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




The spirit of an age may be best expressed in the abstract ideal arts, for the spirit itself is abstract and ideal.




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




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.




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




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




Charity creates a multitude of sins.




Alas, I am dying beyond my means.




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




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




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




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


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




Beauty has as many meanings as man has moods. Beauty is the symbol of symbols. Beauty reveals everything, because it expresses nothing. When it shows us itself, it shows us the whole fiery-coloured world.




Perhaps one of the most difficult things for us to do is to choose a notable and joyous dress for men. There would be more joy in life if we were to accustom ourselves to use all the beautiful colours we can in fashioning our own clothes.




Art should never try to be popular. The public should try to make itself artistic.


America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.




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




Those whom the gods love grow young.




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




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




Only the shallow know themselves.




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




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




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.



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