Wildean Wit and Wisdom

A slender selection of Oscar Wilde’s imperishable brilliance:

“In all unimportant matters, style ,not sincerity, is the essential.  In  all important matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential ”

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

“Who, being loved, is poor? ”

“Pleasure is Nature’s test, her sign of approval. When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself  and his environment”

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

“Greek dress was in its essence inartistic. Nothing should reveal the body but the body.”

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

“I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.”

“I can resist everything except temptation.”

“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.”

“I do not play cricket because it requires me to assume such indecent postures”

“I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and really being good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.”

“I love acting. It is so much more real than life.”

“I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.”

“I sometimes think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated His ability.”

“Ideals are dangerous things. Realities are better.”

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

“If one tells the truth, one is sure sooner or later to be found out.”

 “In examinations the foolish ask questions that the wise cannot answer.”

 “In this world, there are two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”

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

“It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection; through Art and Art only that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence.”

“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 a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.”

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

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

“Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”

“Murder is always a mistake – one should never do anything one cannot talk about after dinner.”

“No man should have a secret from his wife; she invariably finds out.”

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

“Nothing should be out of the reach of hope. Life is a hope.”

“One regrets the loss of one’s worst habits. Perhaps one regrets them the most. They are such an essential part of one’s personality.”

“Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.”

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

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

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

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

“The old believe everything: the middle-aged suspect everything: the young know everything.”

“The poet is the supreme artist, for he is the master of colour and of form, and the real musician besides, and is lord over all life and all arts.”

“The reason why we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror.”

“The soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life. And the body is born young and grows old. That is life’s tragedy.”

“The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analysed, women merely adored.”

“The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.”

“The youth of the present day are quite monstrous. They have absolutely no respect for dyed hair.”

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

“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

“To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.”

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

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

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

“What a pity that in life we only get our lessons when they are of no use to us.”

“When a man says that he has exhausted Life, one knows that life has exhausted him.”

“Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.”

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

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

“When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy.”

“You must not find symbols in everything you see. It makes life impossible.”

“Remain, as I do, incomprehensible: to be great is to be misunderstood”

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to exist.”

“Appearance blinds, whereas words reveal.”

“Those whom the Gods love grow young.”


4 responses to “Wildean Wit and Wisdom

  1. Abhishek

    Uncommonly brilliant.

  2. Agree, a man for all seasons.

  3. Alexi

    This is mind blowing, truly the human mind in its best application.

  4. Alexis

    Indeed. The genius of Oscar Wilde will live on, for eternity.

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