40 Quotes of Oscar Wilde – Top 10 Lists | Listverse

June 6, 2010 at 11:31 pm (Uncategorized)

40 Quotes of Oscar Wilde

Share This– Published October 8, 2007

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There is no doubt that Oscar Wilde was one of the most witty men to come from the British Isles and probably the world. It is virtually impossible to find anything he wrote which did not show at least a glimmer of his genius. This is a selection of 40 of his greatest quotations.

Quotations 1 – 10

Wilde

1. A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

2. A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.

3. Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

4. America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.

5. Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

6. Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.

7. Biography lends to death a new terror.

8. Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

9. I am not young enough to know everything.

10. I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.

Quotations 11 – 20

Wilde Recline Sm

11. I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again. [Note: remember Top 10 tips for great writing?

12. Illusion is the first of all pleasures.

13. It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.

14. 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.

15. One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.

16. Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

17. Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

18. The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.

19. The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

20. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.

Quotations 21 – 30

Oscarwildeusa1

21. To disagree with three-fourths of the British public is one of the first requisites of sanity.

22. Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.

23. The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling that I have always cultivated.

24. I don’t play accurately-any one can play accurately- but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.

25. When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.

26. Work is the curse of the drinking classes.

27. My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s.

28. I can resist anything but temptation.

29. Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.

30. Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.

Quotations 31 – 40

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31. Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.

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

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

34. Vile deeds like poison weeds bloom well in prison air, it is only what is good in man, that wastes and withers there.

35. We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.

36. The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.

37. The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

38. Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.

39. I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.

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

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Comments (45)

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Sean the pyro's avatar

Sean the pyro · 138 weeks ago

Great quotes. 32 is definitely me.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

wonderful list! love Wilde.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Nice to see support for a fellow Irishman! I’ve always enjoyed Wildes works and I think you’ve picked some great quotes that really show off his genius.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Sean the pryo: heh – that is one of my favorite quotes of Wilde. I tend to alternate between the stars and the road!

Cyn: Thanks – he is one of my favorite writers – his short stories are breathtaking.

Anthony: I have Irish in me too – I couldn’t leave Oscar off the site!

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

It’s posts like this that just make me come back for more.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

JT: Rendered speechless in the light of Wilde’s brilliance?

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Che: that is great! I am going to try to dig up some more on the ’90’s – it was a great time and will be an excellent source of more lists I think. I am just trying to think of some way to get Aubrey Beardsley in to one of these lists.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

I think a book of Oscar Wilde quotes would be 1000+ pages, haha. I actually have a giant paperback book of all his works. I love picking it up and reading a poem or two from time to time.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Hmmmm my comment didnt post. Shame, it was actually a really good one too.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Beautiful =)

I think my favorite is 36.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Oh, I was so excited to see this list! Sad thing is I think I have read them all before. I LOVE Wilde, I think we could have been great friends if we had existed at the same time. =P

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Sweet. Whenever I want a snarky quote, I go to Wilde and also Ambrose Bierce, author of the Devil’s Dictionary. 🙂 Quite fun.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Great list, I mean, the guy was a genius, extremely talented and funny, but comments like “I LOVE Wilde, I think we could have been great friends if we had existed at the same time. =P” What!?

Has everybody just forgotten about his rampant paedophilia? I understand this list’s a celebration of his comic sharpness, but how did nobody mention he was arrested, spent time in prison and eventually went into hiding over screwing young boys? (JF – He’s dead, he can’t sue you for this..Not to mention it’s true)

Why not read The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde by Neil McKenna..

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

In todays society he would be branded a paedophile, forced to sign the sex offenders register and no doubt live out his life, albeit a clever one, in an embarrassed recluse, probably on a farm with a couple of scared-looking barnyard animals.

Very funny bloke though..

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

He also said that, “The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.”

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Oscar Wilde was Irish. He didnt “come out of the British Isles”

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Bojan: last time I looked the Republic of Ireland was still a part of the islands comprising the British Isles 🙂

The British Isles is a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe comprising Great Britain, Ireland and a number of smaller islands

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_isles

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

romerozombie's avatar

romerozombie · 127 weeks ago

“Nice to see support for a fellow Irishman! I’ve always enjoyed Wildes works and I think you’ve picked some great quotes that really show off his genius.”

I hate it when people bring attention to the fact that they have Irish ancestry, and that way they say (or type it) in a way that makes them feel self-satisfied and better than other people.

0 replies · active 3 weeks ago

this is a great list. i love using oscar wilde’s quotes in my essays – there’s always something for every theme. shame my favourite one’s not on here, though. “a man’s face is his autobiography. a woman’s face is her work of fiction.”

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

You know, I was reading a book of his plays today, and I adore his dry wit… And you know, I was horrified (well, maybe not, but rather surprised) to find out that a majority of my friends were not only unfamiliar with his work, but that they’d never even heard of him! Terrible, absolutely terrible.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Polly Odyssey's avatar

Polly Odyssey · 106 weeks ago

Oscar Wilde ranked 3rd on my list of the coolest people ever.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

jussanuddername's avatar

jussanuddername · 106 weeks ago

RE: #36

I did not know Neil Peart plagerized Oscar Wilde?

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

jussanuddername's avatar

jussanuddername · 106 weeks ago

er…#32

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

I would like to know which of these he said “as” himself, and which he put into the mouths of his characters. A quotation put into the mouth of a character doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of the author. In one play, one character says something like “Australia must be such a pretty country with all those kangaroos flying around”. Wilde himself didn’t believe that.
Even saying ‘ “as” himself’ is problematic. How much of Oscar Wilde’s life and writing was actually “himself”, and how much was a carefully calculated pose? The same might be said about Eminem and Marilyn Manson, for eg.
I have set 5 of his poems to music. Most of his poems are pretentious, drawing on his background as a prize-winning classics scholar.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

I love how half the humour in these Oscar Wilde quotes is implied by what he isn’t saying. Like,

“One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.”

It’s as if he’s (or his character) is saying one should be magnanimous when in power but not necessarily when in a losing position. Like it’s ok to be underhanded 🙂

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Strongcatch's avatar

Strongcatch · 90 weeks ago

Brilliant! Going through a breakup currently and your site has helped me take a break and forget my loss enough to keep my sanity;)

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

this year in my school we’re doing “The Importance of Being Earnest.” It’s so much fun.
“all women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man ever does. That is his.”

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Given the scandal(s) of Oscar’s life, I was surprised to learn that he had a less respectable brother:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Wilde

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

I love number 22

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Wilde was his own genius. May I pick up on jfrater? Use Wikipedia lightlty my friend for it is generic, the republic of Ireland is exactly that a ‘republic’ where the great and late Wilde was born. Peace X

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

He was IRISH, and very proud of it. he didnt reguard him self as british in any way!

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

Sorry to be pedantic Lolly – but I believe the Irish Republic followed the Irish Free State created in the 1920’s. Long after Wilde was born in Dublin – at the time, part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. But ‘for all that’ (to misquote Robbie Burns) what really matters, is that for all his faults and foibles he left us a body of work that still enriches our lives to this day. Perhaps his detractors should consider judging his work and not the man.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

gigantomachy's avatar

gigantomachy · 59 weeks ago

I feel perfectly dreadful saying this, but Fun Fact, everyone: Oscar Wilde was human (I know it’s hard to believe; I originally thought he might have been some previously undiscovered species of owl). We can laud his genius all we please, but it’s well to remember that most of his wit was calculated. He would sit and prepare monologues and repartees hours or days before an event, or would rework lines in plays to death to give them just the right “zing.” Proof of such preparation is in the words of Willie Wilde: elder brother of Oscar, alcoholic, and alleged home to a tapeworm (no lie).

Another Fun Fact: Oscar Wilde was notoriously awful at math. According to him, 2 plus 2 COULD equal five (if he wanted it to), and there are “a lot” of minutes in an hour. How cute.

I really do love His Majesty, don’t mistake my meaning… but I feel a cur because I love him for being the awkward, tubby, unbathed, crooked-tooth’d, wonderfully dysfunctional, beautifully broken amalgam of identity crises that he was.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

gigantomachy's avatar

gigantomachy · 59 weeks ago

PS: @ all users who have dubbed His Majesty the Queen a paedophile: As a member of Oscar-Dear’s “preferred gender and age-range,” I can say with certainty that, circumstances allowing and time travel possible, I would have absolutely zero qualms with receiving the romantic attentions of the chap in question. I would not feel “victimized” by a “paedophile.”

Thank you for reading. Now I shall once again slip back into the woodwork, not to return until I need to defend him/verbally adore him again.

0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

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