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Oscar Wilde

Inspirational Quotes by Oscar Wilde about Art

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.”

– Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying

Oscar Wilde About Art

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” – Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying


“Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.” – Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist


“Of course the music is a great difficulty. You see, if one plays good music, people don’t listen, and if one plays bad music people don’t talk.” – Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest


“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” – Oscar Wilde, The Relation of Dress to Art


“And, after all, what is a fashion? From the artistic point of view, it is usually a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” – Oscar Wilde, The Philosophy of Dress


“The more we study Art, the less we care for Nature. What Art really reveals to us is Nature’s lack of design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary monotony, her absolutely unfinished condition.” – Oscar Wilde, Intentions


“Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious.” – Oscar Wilde, A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the Over-Educated

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Oscar Wilde Quotes About Death


“Nowadays 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.” – Oscar Wilde


“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” – Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost

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Oscar Wilde about Dreams


“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.” -Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

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Oscar Wilde Quotes about Education

Inspirational Quotes by Oscar Wilde about Education

Oscar Wilde with his male lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, before the trial.

“Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” – Oscar Wilde, A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the Over-Educated


“The English are always degrading truths into facts. When a truth becomes a fact it loses all its intellectual value.” – OW, A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the Over-Educated


“In old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public. Nowadays books are written by the public and read by nobody.” – OW, A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the Over-Educated


“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.” – OW

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Oscar Wilde Quotes about Greatness

“Be warned in time, James, and remain, as I do, incomprehensible: to be great is to be misunderstood.” – Oscar Wilde, Letter to James McNeill Whistler

Oscar Wilde Quotes about Humor & Wit

Inspirational Quotes by Oscar Wilde about Humor & Wit

Oscar Wilde, New York, 1882. Picture taken by Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896).

“After the first glass you see things as you wish they were. After the second glass you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.” – Oscar Wilde,  Absinthe


“Mrs. Allonby: They say, Lady Hunstanton, that when good Americans die they go to Paris. Lady Hunstanton: Indeed? And when bad Americans die, where do they go to? Lord Illingworth: Oh, they go to America.” – Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance


“Lord Illingworth: Women have become too brilliant. Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humour in the woman. Mrs. Allonby: Or the want of it in the man.” – Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance


“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” – OW


“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” – OW, The Nightingale and the Rose


“A poet can survive everything but a misprint.” – Oscar Wilde, The Children of the Poets


“My dear fellow, the truth isn’t quite the sort of thing one tells to a nice, sweet, refined girl.” – Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest


“Every great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is always Judas who writes the biography.” -Oscar Wilde, The critic as Artist


“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” – Oscar Wilde


“It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is absolutely fatal.” – OW, The Portrait of Mr. W. H.


“Why, what a wonderful piece of luck! Here is a red rose! I have never seen any rose like it in all my life. It is so beautiful that I am sure it has a long Latin name.” – Oscar Wilde, The Nightingale and the Rose


“Hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do.” – OW, The Remarkable Rocket


“He is really not so ugly after all, provided, of course, that one shuts one’s eyes, and does not look at him.” – OW, The Birthday of the Infanta

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Oscar Wilde Quotes about Independence


“My great mistake, the fault for which I can’t forgive myself, is that one day I ceased my obstinate pursuit of my own individuality.” – Oscar Wilde

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Oscar Wilde Quotes about Journalism & The Public


“It is chiefly, I regret to say, through journalism that such people find expression. I regret it because there is much to be said in favor of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. By carefully chronicling the current events of contemporary life, it shows us of what very little importance such events really are. By invariably discussing the unnecessary, it makes us understand what things are requisite for culture, and what are not.” – Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist


“England has done one thing; it has invented and established Public Opinion, which is an attempt to organize the ignorance of the community, and to elevate it to the dignity of physical force.” – Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist


“But what is the difference between literature and journalism? Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all.” – Oscar Wilde

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Oscar Wilde Quotes about Life

Inspirational Quotes about Oscar Wilde about Life

A colored Statue of Oscar Wilde in Dublin (Ireland). Photo by Danny Osborne.

“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.” – Oscar Wilde



“God knows; I won’t be an Oxford don anyhow. I’ll be a poet, a writer, a dramatist. Somehow or other I’ll be famous, and if not famous, I’ll be notorious. Or perhaps I’ll lead the life of pleasure for a time and then—who knows?—rest and do nothing. What does Plato say is the highest end that man can attain here below? To sit down and contemplate the good. Perhaps that will be the end of me too. – Oscar Wilde, In Victorian days and other papers


“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – OW, Lady Windermere’s Fan


“Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event.” – Oscar Wilde, “A New Calendar,” The Pall Mall Gazette  


“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” OW, The Picture of Dorian Gray


“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” -Oscar Wilde


“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – OW

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Oscar Wilde Quotes about Love

Inspirational Quotes by Oscar Wilde about Life, Art, Humor, Death and Mankind

Oscar Wilde in his favourite coat. New York, 1882. Picture taken by Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896).

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” -OW, An Ideal Husband


“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.” OW


“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring. Oscar Wilde, The Epigrams of Oscar Wilde


“Tread Lightly, she is near Under the snow, Speak gently, she can hear The daisies grow.” Requiescat, st. 1 (1881). – Oscar Wilde


“Lo! with a little rod I did but touch the honey of romance — And must I lose a soul’s inheritance?” Helas!, l. 12-14 (1881). – OW


“The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.” – Oscar Wilde, Salomé

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Oscar Wilde Quotes about Mankind


Inspirational Quotes by Oscar Wilde about Mankind

Keller cartoon from the Wasp of San Francisco depicting Oscar Wilde on the occasion of his visit there in 1882.

“I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” – Oscar Wilde


 

“I am but too conscious of the fact that we are born in an age when only the dull are treated seriously, and I live in terror of not being misunderstood.” – Oscar Wilde


“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” – OW, The Critic as Artist


“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.” – OW, The Critic as Artist


“Just as the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realized by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it, so, in the present state of things in England, the people who do most harm are the people who try to do most good.” – OW, The Sould of Man Under Socalism


“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.” – OW, The Sould of Man Under Socalism


“One is tempted to define man as a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.” – OW, The Critic as Artist


“Patriotism is the vice of nations.” – OW, Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young


“My experience is that as soon as people are old enough to know better, they don’t know anything at all.” – OW, Lady Windermere’s Fan           


“Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship,” – OW, Lady Windermere’s Fan


“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” – OW

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Oscar Wilde Quotes about Religion


“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.” – OW, The Critic as Artist


“There is no sin except stupidity.” – OW, The Critic as Artist


“Religions die when they are proved to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.” – Oscar Wilde, Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young


“You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.” – OW, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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