Study Guide

Oscar Wilde Quotes

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"Everything I write is extraordinary. I do not pose as being ordinary, great heavens!"

Oscar Wilde, libel trial testimony, 3 April 1895

"One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything."

Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

"The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing."

Oscar Wilde, "The Soul of Man Under Socialism"

"All art is quite useless."

Oscar Wilde, Preface, The Picture of Dorian Gray

"I myself have always felt that there is much to be learned from the candid opinions of others, provided of course that they are complimentary."

Oscar Wilde

"The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things."

Oscar Wilde, Preface, The Picture of Dorian Gray

In Reading gaol by Reading townThere is a pit of shame, And in it lies a wretched manEaten by teeth of flame, In burning winding-sheet he lies, And his grave has got no name. And there, till Christ call forth the dead, In silence let him lie: No need to waste the foolish tear, Or heave the windy sigh: The man had killed the thing he loved, And so he had to die. And all men kill the thing they love, By all let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword!

Oscar Wilde, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol"

"The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!"

Algernon, The Importance of Being Earnest

"All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself."

Oscar Wilde, Preface, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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