Meaning Of Oscar Wilde Quotes

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Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.
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Oscar Wilde
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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.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.
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Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
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I don't like compliments, and I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't mean.
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Oscar Wilde
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Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.
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Oscar Wilde
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Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.
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Oscar Wilde
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Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style. They affect us just as vulgarity affects us. They give us an impression of sheer brute force, and we revolt against that. Sometimes, however, a tragedy that possesses artistic elements of beauty crosses our lives. If these elements of beauty are real, the whole thing simply appeals to our sense of dramatic effect. Suddenly we find that we are no longer the actors, but the spectators of the play. Or rather we are both. We watch ourselves, and the mere wonder of the spectacle enthralls us.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Pray don't talk to me about the weather, Mr. Worthing. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. And that makes me quite nervous.
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Oscar Wilde
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High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
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Oscar Wilde
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How clever are you, my dear! You never mean a single word you say!
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Oscar Wilde
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I don't like compliments and I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't mean.
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Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan)
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Friendship...is not something you learn in school,but if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship you really haven't learned anything.
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Oscar Wilde
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Damn it all, MacMurrough, are you telling me you are an unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort?’ β€˜If you mean am I Irish, the answer is yes.
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Jamie O'Neill (At Swim, Two Boys)
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Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Civilization is not by means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt.
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Oscar Wilde
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After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world. I mean disassociated. Take a top hat. You think you see it as it really is. But you don’t because you associate it with other things and ideas.If you had never heard of one before, and suddenly saw it alone, you’d be frightened, or you’d laugh. That is the effect absinthe has, and that is why it drives men mad. Three nights I sat up all night drinking absinthe, and thinking that I was singularly clear-headed and sane. The waiter came in and began watering the sawdust.The most wonderful flowers, tulips, lilies and roses, sprang up, and made a garden in the cafe. β€œDon’t you see them?” I said to him. β€œMais non, monsieur, il n’y a rien.
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Oscar Wilde
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SalomΓ©, SalomΓ©, dance for me. I pray thee dance for me. I am sad to-night. Yes, I am passing sad to-night. When I came hither I slipped in blood, which is an evil omen; and I heard, I am sure I heard in the air a beating of wings, a beating of giant wings. I cannot tell what they mean .... I am sad to-night. Therefore dance for me. Dance for me, SalomΓ©, I beseech you. If you dance for me you may ask of me what you will, and I will give it you, even unto the half of my kingdom.
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Oscar Wilde (SalomΓ©)
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Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
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Oscar Wilde
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The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
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Oscar Wilde
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Miss Prism: Do not speak slightingly of the three-volume novel, Cecily. I wrote one myself in earlier days. Cecily: Did you really, Miss Prism? How wonderfully clever you are! I hope it did not end happily? I don't like novels that end happily. They depress me so much. Miss Prism: The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.
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Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays)
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She has form," he said to himself, as he walked away through the grove - "that cannot be denied to her; but has she got feeling? I am afraid not. In fact, she is like most artists; she is all style, without any sincerity. She would not sacrifice herself for others. She thinks merely of music, and everybody knows that arts are selfish. Still, it must be admitted that she has some beautiful notes in her voice. What a pity it is that they do not mean anything, or do any practical good.
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Oscar Wilde (The Nightingale and the Rose)
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But what is the good of friendship if one cannot say exactly what one means? Anybody can say charming things and try to please and to flatter, but a true friend always says unpleasant things, and does not mind giving pain. Indeed, if he is a really true friend he prefers it, for he knows that then he is doing good.
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Oscar Wilde (Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast)
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I would sooner lose my best friend than my worst enemy. To have friends, you know, one need only be good-natured; but when a man has no enemy left there must be something mean about him.
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Oscar Wilde (Vera Or The Nihilists)
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The fact is, the public make use of the classics of a country as a means of checking the progress of Art. They degrade the classics into authorities. They use them as bludgeons for preventing the free expression of Beauty in new forms.
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Oscar Wilde
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That is one of the secrets of life - to cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul. You are a wonderful creation. You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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LADY BRACKNELL. May I ask if it is in this house that your invalid friend Mr. Bunbury resides? ALGERNON. [Stammering.] Oh! No! Bunbury doesn't live here. Bunbury is somewhere else at present. In fact, Bunbury is dead, LADY BRACKNELL. Dead! When did Mr. Bunbury die? His death must have been extremely sudden. ALGERNON. [Airily.] Oh! I killed Bunbury this afternoon. I mean poor Bunbury died this afternoon. LADY BRACKNELL. What did he die of? ALGERNON. Bunbury? Oh, he was quite exploded. LADY BRACKNELL. Exploded! Was he the victim of a revolutionary outrage? I was not aware that Mr. Bunbury was interested in social legislation. If so, he is well punished for his morbidity. ALGERNON. My dear Aunt Augusta, I mean he was found out! The doctors found out that Bunbury could not live, that is what I mean - so Bunbury died. LADY BRACKNELL. He seems to have had great confidence in the opinion of his physicians. I am glad, however, that he made up his mind at the last to some definite course of action, and acted under proper medical advice. And now that we have finally got rid of this Mr. Bunbury, may I ask, Mr. Worthing, who is that young person whose hand my nephew Algernon is now holding in what seems to me a peculiarly unnecessary manner?
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Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
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The doctors found out that Bunbury could not live, that is what I mean - so Bunbury died. He seems to have had great confidence in the opinion of his physicians. I am glad, however, that he made up his mind at the last to some definite course of action, and acted under proper medical advice.
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Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
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To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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You came to me to learn the Pleasure of Life and the Pleasure of Art. Perhaps I am chosen to teach you something much more wonderful, the meaning of Sorrow and its beauty.
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Oscar Wilde
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But we who live in prison, and in whose lives there is no event but sorrow, have to measure time by throbs of pain, and the record of bitter moments. We have nothing else to think of. Suffering ― curious as it may sound to you ― is the means by which we exist, because it is the only means by which we become conscious of existing; and the remembrance of suffering in the past is necessary to us as the warrant, the evidence, of our continued identity.
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Oscar Wilde (Complete Works of Oscar Wilde)
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When first I was put into prison some people advised me to try and forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realising what I am that I have found comfort of any kind. Now I am advised by others to try on my release to forget that I have ever been in a prison at all. I know that would be equally fatal. It would mean that I would always be haunted by an intolerable sense of disgrace, and that those things that are meant for me as much as for anybody else - the beauty of the sun and moon, the pageant of the seasons, the music of daybreak and the silence of great nights, the rain falling through the leaves, or the dew creeping over the grass and making it silver - would all be tainted for me, and lose their healing power, and their power of communicating joy. To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
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The real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style.
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Oscar Wilde
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But you don’t really mean to say that you couldn’t love me if my name wasn’t Ernest? GWENDOLEN: But your name is Ernest. JACK: Yes, I know it is. But supposing it was something else? Do you mean to say you couldn’t love me then? GWENDOLEN (glibly): Ah! that is clearly a metaphysical speculation, and like most metaphysical speculations has very little reference at all to the actual facts of real life, as we know them.
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Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
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In war," answered the weaver, "the strong make slaves of the weak, and in peace the rich make slaves of the poor. We must work to live, and they give us such mean wages that we die. We toil for them all day long, and they heap up gold in their coffers, and our children fade away before their time, and the faces of those we love become hard and evil. We tread out the grapes, another drinks the wine. We sow the corn, and our own board is empty. We have chains, though no eye beholds them; and are slaves, though men call us free.
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Oscar Wilde (Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: The Young King/The Remarkable Rocket (Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, #2))
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Intellectual generalities are always interesting, but generalities in morals mean absolutely nothing.
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Oscar Wilde (A Woman of No Importance)
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Namaste means that whatever is precious and beautiful in me honors whatever is precious and beautiful in you.
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Debasish Mridha
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The arts that have escaped [uniformity] best are the arts in which the public take no interest. Poetry is an instance of what I mean. We have been able to have fine poetry in England because the public do not read it, and consequently do not influence it.
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Oscar Wilde (The Soul of Man Under Socialism)
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There was evidently no time to be lost, so, hastily adopting the Fourth dimension of Space as a means of escape, he vanished through the wainscoting, and the house became quite quiet.
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Oscar Wilde (The Canterville Ghost)
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For these treasures, and everything that he collected in his lovely house, were to be to him means of forgetfulness, modes by which he could escape, for a season, from the fear that seemed to him at times to be almost too great to be borne.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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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 are hope.
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Oscar Wilde (Dorian Gray: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (Illustrated, Unabridged And 1890 Uncensored Version))
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The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror. We think that we are generous because we credit our neighbour with the possession of those virtues that are likely to be a benefit to us. We praise the banker that we may overdraw our account, and find good qualities in the highwayman in the hope that he may spare our pockets. I mean everything that I have said. I have the greatest contempt for optimism.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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The gods have been good to you. But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully. When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats. Every month as it wanes bring you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses.
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Oscar Wilde
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I am not a Pessimist. Indeed I am not sure that I quite know what Pessimism really means. All I do know is that life cannot be understood without much charity, it cannot be lived without much charity. It is love, and not German philosophy, that is the true explanation of this world, whatever may be the explanation of the next.
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Oscar Wilde (An Ideal Husband)
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My dear boy," said Lord Henry, smiling, "anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there. That is the reason why people who live out of town are so absolutely uncivilized. Civilization is not, by any means, an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which men can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt. Country people have no opportunity of being either, so they stagnate.
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Oscar Wilde
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I am dying beyond my means
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Oscar Wilde
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Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. β€”OSCAR WILDE,
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Timothy Ferriss (The 4 Hour Workweek, Expanded And Updated: Expanded And Updated, With Over 100 New Pages Of Cutting Edge Content)
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Alas, I’m dying beyond my means
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Oscar Wilde
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The public make use of the classics of a country as a means of checking the progress of Art. They degrade the classics into authorities.... A fresh mode of Beauty is absolutely distasteful to them, and whenever it appears they get so angry and bewildered that they always use two stupid expressions--one is that the work of art is grossly unintelligible; the other, that the work of art is grossly immoral. What they mean by these words seems to me to be this. When they say a work is grossly unintelligible, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is new; when they describe a work as grossly immoral, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is true.
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Oscar Wilde
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Besides, if Hans came here, he might ask me to let him have some flour on credit, and that I could not do. Flour is one thing, and friendship is another, and they should not be confused. Why, the words are spelled differently, and mean quite different things. Everyone can see that.
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Oscar Wilde (The Complete Fairy Tales)
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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.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Perhaps, but Anna was right,” said Cordelia. β€œWe must speak to more Downworlders regardless. There was much talk of Magnus Bane—” β€œAh, Magnus Bane,” said Matthew. β€œMy personal hero.” β€œIndeed, you once described him as β€˜Oscar Wilde if he had magic powers,β€™β€Šβ€ said James. β€œMagnus Bane threw a party in Spain I attended,” said Thomas. β€œIt was a little difficult, since I did not know a soul. I got rather drunk.” Matthew lowered the flask with a grin. β€œIs that when you got your tattoo?” β€œSo does that mean you’re close friends with Magnus Bane, Thomas?” said Lucie. β€œCan you reach out to him for help?” β€œHe never even made an appearance at the party,” said Thomas.
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Cassandra Clare (Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1))
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No, you don't feel it now. Some day, when you are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead with its lines, and passion branded your lips with itshideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly.Now, wherever you go, you charm the world. Will it always be so? . . . You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Gray. Don't frown. You have. And beauty is a form of genius-- is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.You smile? Ah! when you have lost it you won't smile. . . . People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial.That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders.It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. . . . Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you.But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully.When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats.Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly.... Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days,listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure,or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals,of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing. . . . A new Hedonism-- that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol.With your personality there is nothing you could not do.The world belongs to you for a season. . . . The moment I met you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are, of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself.I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last--such a little time.The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again.The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now.In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth!
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Love Oscar Wilde, the man had a way witrh words.
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Margot Justes
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Oh! I killed Bunbury this afternoon... I mean poor Bunbury died this afternoon. What did he die of? Bunbury? Oh, he was exploded!
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Oscar Wilde
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The more abstract, the more ideal an art is, the more it reveals to us the temper of its age. If we wish to understand a nation by means of its art, let us look at its architecture or its music.
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Oscar Wilde (Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast)
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My sermon on the meaning of the manna in the wilderness can be adapted to almost any occasion, joyful, or, as in the present case, distressing. [All sigh.] I have preached it at harvest celebrations, christenings, confirmations, on days of humiliation and festal days.
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Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
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I understand what you mean, and I believe in this girl. Anyone you love must be marvellous, and any girl that has the effect you describe must be fine and noble. To spiritualise one's age--that is something worth doing. If this girl can give a soul to those who have lived without one, if she can create the sense of beauty in people whose lives have been sordid and ugly, if she can strip them of their selfishness and lend them tears for sorrows that are not their own, she is worthy of all your adoration, worthy of the adoration of the world.
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Oscar Wilde
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The artist is the creator of beautiful things. Β Β  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. Β Β Β Β  The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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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. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. 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. The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass. The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art. Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type. 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. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Some drink to forget, I drink to remember. I drink in order to understand what I mean and to discover what I know. Under its benign influence all the stories and dramas which properly belong to the sphere of art are announced by me in conversation.
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Peter Ackroyd (The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde)
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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.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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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.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming.
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Oscar Wilde
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Never trust a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may be, or a woman over thirty-five who is fond of pink ribbons. It always means that they have a history.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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A mother's love is very touching, of course, but it is often curiously selfish. I mean, there is a good deal of selfishness in it.
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Oscar Wilde (A Woman of No Importance)
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There is always something infinitely mean about other people's tragedies.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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For as Oscar Wilde once said, β€œThe good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.
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Cat Grant (Unconditional Surrender)
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It is said that all martyrdoms seemed mean to the looker-on.
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
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Where there is sorrow there is holy ground. Some day people will realise what that means. They will know nothing of life till they do,β€”and natures like his can realise it.
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
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Laura felt we needed to redefine what it means to be selfish, and quoted Oscar Wilde: 'Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
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Laura S. Scott (Two Is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless by Choice)
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I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my greatest pleasures. I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.
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Oscar Wilde (Stories For Children)
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And yet it was not the mystery, but the comedy of suffering that struck him; its absolute uselessness, its grotesque want of meaning. How incoherent everything seemed! How lacking in all harmony! He was amazed at the discord between the shallow optimism of the day, and the real facts of existence. He was still very young.
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Oscar Wilde (Lord Arthur Savile's Crime)
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When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde THE PREFACE 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. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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The unfortunate accidentβ€”for I like to think it was no moreβ€”that you had not yet been able to acquire the β€œOxford temper” in intellectual matters, never, I mean, been one who could play gracefully with ideas but had arrived at violence of opinion merely.
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
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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.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Yes," continued Lord Henry, "that is one of the great secrets of life-- to cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul. You are a wonderful creation. You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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De Profundis by Oscar Wilde (this excerpt inspired my book, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap. Wilde wrote it to his lover while in prison.) When first I was put into prison some people advised me to try and forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realizing what I am that I have found comfort of any kind. Now I am advised by others to try on my release to forget that I have ever been in a prison at all. I know that would be equally fatal. It would mean that I would always be haunted by an intolerable sense of disgrace, and that those things that are meant for me as much as for anybody else – the beauty of the sun and moon, the pageant of the seasons, the music of daybreak and the silence of great nights, the rain falling through the leaves, or the dew creeping over the grass and making it silver – would all be tainted for me, and lose their healing power, and their power of communicating joy. To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.
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Paulette Mahurin
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He is all my art to me now," said the painter gravely. "I sometimes think, Harry, that there are only two eras of any importance in the world's history. The first is the appearance of a new medium for art, and the second is the appearance of a new personality for art also. What the invention of oil-painting was to the Venetians, the face of Antinous was to late Greek sculpture, and the face of Dorian Gray will some day be to me. It is not merely that I paint from him, draw from him, sketch from him. Of course, I have done all that. But he is much more to me than a model or a sitter. I won't tell you that I am dissatisfied with what I have done of him, or that his beauty is such that art cannot express it. There is nothing that art cannot express, and I know that the work I have done, since I met Dorian Gray, is good work, is the best work of my life. But in some curious wayβ€”I wonder will you understand me?β€”his personality has suggested to me an entirely new manner in art, an entirely new mode of style. I see things differently, I think of them differently. I can now recreate life in a way that was hidden from me before. 'A dream of form in days of thought'β€”who is it who says that? I forget; but it is what Dorian Gray has been to me. The merely visible presence of this ladβ€”for he seems to me little more than a lad, though he is really over twentyβ€” his merely visible presenceβ€”ah! I wonder can you realize all that that means? Unconsciously he defines for me the lines of a fresh school, a school that is to have in it all the passion of the romantic spirit, all the perfection of the spirit that is Greek. The harmony of soul and bodyβ€” how much that is! We in our madness have separated the two, and have invented a realism that is vulgar, an ideality that is void. Harry! if you only knew what Dorian Gray is to me! You remember that landscape of mine, for which Agnew offered me such a huge price but which I would not part with? It is one of the best things I have ever done. And why is it so? Because, while I was painting it, Dorian Gray sat beside me. Some subtle influence passed from him to me, and for the first time in my life I saw in the plain woodland the wonder I had always looked for and always missed.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Do you mean to say you have had my cigarette case all this time?Β  I wish to goodness you had let me know.Β  I have been writing frantic letters to Scotland Yard about it.Β  I was very nearly offering a large reward. Algernon.Β  Well, I wish you would offer one.Β  I happen to be more than usually hard up.
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Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
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I know of nothing in all drama more incomparable from the point of view of art, nothing more suggestive in its subtlety of observation, than Shakespeare's drawing of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. They are Hamlet's college friends. They have been his companions. They bring with them memories of pleasant days together. At the moment when they come across him in the play he is staggering under the weight of a burden intolerable to one of his temperament. The dead have come armed out of the grave to impose on him a mission at once too great and too mean for him. He is a dreamer, and he is called upon to act. He has the nature of the poet, and he is asked to grapple with the common complexity of cause and effect, with life in its practical realisation, of which he knows nothing, not with life in its ideal essence, of which he knows so much. He has no conception of what to do, and his folly is to feign folly. Brutus used madness as a cloak to conceal the sword of his purpose, the dagger of his will, but the Hamlet madness is a mere mask for the hiding of weakness. In the making of fancies and jests he sees a chance of delay. He keeps playing with action as an artist plays with a theory. He makes himself the spy of his proper actions, and listening to his own words knows them to be but 'words, words, words.' Instead of trying to be the hero of his own history, he seeks to be the spectator of his own tragedy. He disbelieves in everything, including himself, and yet his doubt helps him not, as it comes not from scepticism but from a divided will. Of all this Guildenstern and Rosencrantz realise nothing. They bow and smirk and smile, and what the one says the other echoes with sickliest intonation. When, at last, by means of the play within the play, and the puppets in their dalliance, Hamlet 'catches the conscience' of the King, and drives the wretched man in terror from his throne, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz see no more in his conduct than a rather painful breach of Court etiquette. That is as far as they can attain to in 'the contemplation of the spectacle of life with appropriate emotions.' They are close to his very secret and know nothing of it. Nor would there be any use in telling them. They are the little cups that can hold so much and no more.
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis and Other Writings)
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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. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. 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.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Modern pictures are, no doubt, delightful to look at. At least, some of them are. But they are quite impossible to live with; they are too clever, too assertive, too intellectual. Their meaning is too obvious and their method too clearly defined. One exhausts what they have to say in a very short time, and then they become as tedious as one's relations.
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Oscar Wilde (Miscellaneous Aphorisms; The Soul of Man)
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Where there is Sorrow there is holy ground. Some day you will realise what that means. You will know nothing of life till you do. Robbie, and natures like his, can realise it. When I was brought down from my prison to the Court of Bankruptcy between two policemen, Robbie waited in the long dreary corridor, that before the whole crowd, whom an action so sweet and simple hushed into silence, he might gravely raise his hat to me, as handcuffed and with bowed head I passed him by. Men have gone to heaven for smaller things than that.
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis and Other Writings)
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the good end happily, the bad end unhappily -- that is what 'fiction' means.
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Oscar Wilde
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There is always something infinitely mean about other people’s tragedies.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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People who mean well always do badly. They are like the ladies who wear clothes that don't fit them in order to show their piety. Good intentions are invariably ungrammatical. Man
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Oscar Wilde (Miscellaneous Aphorisms; The Soul of Man)
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We praise the banker that we may overdraw our account, and find good qualities in the highwayman in the hope that he may spare our pockets. I mean everything that I have said.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Never trust a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may be, or a woman over thirty-five who is fond of pink ribbons. It always means that they have a history. There
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Oscar Wilde (Miscellaneous Aphorisms; The Soul of Man)
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I am dying beyond my means.
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Oscar Wilde
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Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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The fact is, the public make use of the classics of a country as a means of checking the progress of Art.Β  They degrade the classics into authorities.Β 
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Oscar Wilde (The Soul of Man under Socialism)
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cure the body with means of the senses and the senses with means of the body
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Writings)
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Shakespeare appreciated the value of lovely costumes in adding picturesqueness to poetry, but he saw how important costume is as a means of producing certain dramatic effects.
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Oscar Wilde (Intentions)
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Where there is sorrow there is holy ground. Someday people will realise what that means.
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
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Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.Β  And that makes me so nervous.
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Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
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Our textbooks were ridiculous propaganda. The first English sentence we learned was "Long live Chairman Mao!" But no one dared to explain the sentence grammatically. In Chinese the term for the optative mood, expressing a wish or desire, means 'something unreal." In 1966 a lecturer at Sichuan University had been beaten up for 'having the audacity to suggest that "Long live Chairman Mao!" was unreal!" One chapter was about a model youth hero who had drowned after jumping into a flood to save an electricity pole because the pole would be used to carry the word of Mao. With great difficulty, I managed to borrow some English language textbooks published before the Cultural Revolution from lecturers in my department and from Jin-ming, who sent me books from his university by post. These contained extracts from writers like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Oscar Wilde, and stories from European and American history. They were a joy to read, but much of my energy went toward finding them and then trying to keep them. Whenever someone approached, I would quickly cover the books with a newspaper. This was only partly because of their 'bourgeois' content. It was also important not to appear to be studying too conscientiously, and not to arouse my fellow students' jealousy by reading something far beyond them. Although we were studying English, and were paid par fly for our propaganda value by the government to do this, we must not be seen to be too devoted to our subject: that was considered being 'white and expert." In the mad logic of the day, being good at one's profession ('expert') was automatically equated with being politically unreliable ('white').
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Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
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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. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. 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. The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass. The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art. Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type. 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. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless. OSCAR WILDE
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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If musicians and artists have no absolutes, they end up caring more about the way the thing is told than about the thing itself, and they slide deeper and deeper till it’s their means rather than the ends that matter.
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Ravi Zacharias (Sense and Sensuality: Jesus Talks to Oscar Wilde on the Pursuit of Pleasure (Great Conversations))
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that is one of the great secrets of life-- to cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul. You are a wonderful creation. You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know
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Oscar Wilde
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And in this it is right, for the meaning of any beautiful created thing is, at least, as much in the soul of him who looks at it as it was in his soul who wrought it. Nay, it is rather the beholder who lends to the beautiful thing its myriad meanings, and makes it marvellous for us, and sets it in some new relation to the age, so that it becomes a vital portion of our lives and a symbol of what we pray for, or perhaps of what, having prayed for, we fear that we may receive.
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Oscar Wilde
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The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror. We think that we are generous because we credit our neighbour with the possession of those virtues that are likely to be a benefit to us. We praise the banker that we may overdraw our account, and find good qualities in the highwayman in the hope that he may spare our pockets. I mean everything that I have said. I have the greatest contempt for optimism. As for a spoiled life, no life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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I fancy that the true explanation is this: It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style. They affect us just as vulgarity affects us. They give us an impression of sheer brute force, and we revolt against that. Sometimes, however, a tragedy that possesses artistic elements of beauty crosses our lives. If these elements of beauty are real, the whole thing simply appeals to our sense of dramatic effect. Suddenly we find that we are no longer the actors, but the spectators of the play. Or rather we are both. We watch ourselves, and the mere wonder of the spectacle enthralls us. In the present case, what is it that has really happened? Some one has killed herself for love of you. I wish that I had ever had such an experience. It would have made me in love with love for the rest of my life. The people who have adored meβ€”there have not been very many, but there have been someβ€”have always insisted on living on, long after I had ceased to care for them, or they to care for me. They have become stout and tedious, and when I meet them, they go in at once for reminiscences. That awful memory of woman! What a fearful thing it is! And what an utter intellectual stagnation it reveals! One should absorb the colour of life, but one should never remember its details. Details are always vulgar.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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This is why clinging to our ideas of perfection isolates us from life and is a barrier to real love for ourselves. Perfection is a brittle state that generates a lot of anxiety, because achieving and maintaining unwavering standardsβ€”whether they’re internal or externalβ€”means we’re always under threat. We become focused on avoiding failure, and love for the self cannot be a refuge because it has become too conditional, too dependent on performance. As Oscar Wilde said in his play An Ideal Husband, β€œIt is not the perfect, but the imperfect, who have need of love.” And that means every last one of us.
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Sharon Salzberg (Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection)
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But while there were times when I rejoiced in the idea that my sufferings were to be endless, I could not bear them to be without meaning. Now I find hidden somewhere away in my nature something that tells me that nothing in the whole world is meaningless, suffering least of all. That something hidden away in my nature, like a treasure in a field, Is Humility.
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
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But while there were times when I rejoiced in the idea that my sufferings were to be endless, I could not bear them to be without meaning. Now I find hidden somewhere away in my nature something that tells me that nothing in the whole world is meaningless, and suffering least of all. That something hidden away in my nature, like a treasure in a field, is Humility.
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
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People point to Reading Gaol, and say β€˜There is where the artistic life leads a man.’ Well, it might lead one to worse places. The more mechanical people, to whom life is a shrewd speculation dependent on a careful calculation of ways and means, always know where they are going, and go there. They start with the desire of being the Parish Beadle, and, in whatever sphere they are placed, they succeed in being the Parish Beadle and no more. A man whose desire is to be something separate from himself, to be a Member of Parliament, or a successful grocer, or a prominent solicitor, or a judge, or something equally tedious, invariably succeeds in being what he wants to be. That is his punishment. Those who want a mask have to wear it.
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
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Dear Boy, Why don’t you write to me? I don’t know what has become of you. As for me I am ruined. The law suit is going against me and I am afraid I will have to pay costs, which means leaving Oxford and doing some horrid work to earn bread. The world is too much for me. However, I have seen Greece and had some golden days of youth. I go back to Oxford immediately for viva voce and then think of rowing up the river to town with Frank Miles. Will you come? Yours Oscar
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Oscar Wilde
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The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror. We think that we are generous because we credit our neighbour with the possession of those virtues that are likely to be a benefit to us. We praise the banker that we may overdraw our account, and find good qualities in the highwayman in the hope that he may spare our pockets. I mean everything that I have said. I have the greatest contempt for optimism. As for a spoiled life, no life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested. If you want to mar a nature, you have merely to reform it.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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You must see now that your incapacity of being alone: your nature so exigent in its persistent claim on the attention and time of others: your lack of any power of sustained intellectual concentration: the unfortunate accidentβ€”for I like to think it was no moreβ€”that you had not yet been able to acquire the β€œOxford temper” in intellectual matters, never, I mean, been one who could play gracefully with ideas but had arrived at violence of opinion merelyβ€”that all these things, combined with the fact that your desires and interests were in Life not in Art, were as destructive to your own progress in culture as they were to my work as an artist?
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
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I do not mean merely in its adding to enthusiasm that intellectual basis which in its strength, or that more obvious influence about which Wordsworth was thinking when he said very nobly that poetry was merely the impassioned expression in the face of science, and that when science would put on a form of flesh and blood the poet would lend his divine spirit to aid the transfiguration. Nor do I dwell much on the great cosmical emotion and deep pantheism of science to which Shelley has given its first and Swinburne its latest glory of song, but rather on its influence on the artistic spirit in preserving that close observation and the sense of limitation as well as of clearness of vision which are the characteristics of the real artist.
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Oscar Wilde (The English Renaissance of Art)
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I remember once, in talking to Mr. Burne-Jones about modern science, his saying to me, β€˜the more materialistic science becomes, the more angels shall I paint: their wings are my protest in favour of the immortality of the soul.’ But these are the intellectual speculations that underlie art. Where in the arts themselves are we to find that breadth of human sympathy which is the condition of all noble work; where in the arts are we to look for what Mazzini would call the social ideas as opposed to the merely personal ideas? By virtue of what claim do I demand for the artist the love and loyalty of the men and women of the world? I think I can answer that. Whatever spiritual message an artist brings to his aid is a matter for his own soul. He may bring judgment like Michael Angelo or peace like Angelico; he may come with mourning like the great Athenian or with mirth like the singer of Sicily; nor is it for us to do aught but accept his teaching, knowing that we cannot smite the bitter lips of Leopardi into laughter or burden with our discontent Goethe’s serene calm. But for warrant of its truth such message must have the flame of eloquence in the lips that speak it, splendour and glory in the vision that is its witness, being justified by one thing only - the flawless beauty and perfect form of its expression: this indeed being the social idea, being the meaning of joy in art. Not laughter where none should laugh, nor the calling of peace where there is no peace; not in painting the subject ever, but the pictorial charm only, the wonder of its colour, the satisfying beauty of its design.
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Oscar Wilde (The English Renaissance of Art)
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Dorian Gray frowned and turned his head away. He could not help liking the tall, graceful young man who was standing by him. His romantic, olive-coloured face and worn expression interested him. There was something in his low languid voice that was absolutely fascinating. His cool, white, flower-like hands, even, had a curious charm. They moved, as he spoke, like music, and seemed to have a language of their own. But he felt afraid of him, and ashamed of being afraid. Why had it been left for a stranger to reveal him to himself ? He had known Basil Hallward for months, but the friendship between them had never altered him. Suddenly there had come some one across his life who seemed to have disclosed to him life's mystery. And, yet, what was there to be afraid of ? He was not a schoolboy or a girl. It was absurd to be frightened.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Far away beyond the pine-woods," he answered, in a low, dreamy voice, "there is a little garden. There the grass grows long and deep, there are the great white stars of the hemlock flower, there the nightingale sings all night long. All night long he sings, and the cold crystal moon looks down, and the yew-tree spreads out its giant arms over the sleepers." Virginia's eyes grew dim with tears, and she hid her face in her hands. "You mean the Garden of Death," she whispered. "Yes, death. 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 to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace. You can help me. You can open for me the portals of death's house, for love is always with you, and love is stronger than death is.
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Oscar Wilde (The Canterville Ghost)
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You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully. When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats. Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly.... Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing....
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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And beauty is a form of genius--is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it. You smile? Ah! when you have lost it you won't smile.... People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial. That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.... Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you. But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully. When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats. Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly.... Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.... A new Hedonism--that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol. With your personality there is nothing you could not do. The world belongs to you for a season.... The moment I met you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are, of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself. I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last--such a little time. The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again. The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now. In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth!
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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And health in art - what is that? It has nothing to do with a sane criticism of life. There is more health in Baudelaire than there is in [Kingsley]. Health is the artist's recognition of the limitations of the form in which he works. It is the honour and the homage which he gives to the material he uses - whether it be language with its glories, or marble or pigment with their glories - knowing that the true brotherhood of the arts consists not in their borrowing one another's method, but in their producing, each of them by its own individual means, each of them by keeping its objective limits, the same unique artistic delight. The delight is like that given to us by music - for music is the art in which form and matter are always one, the art whose subject cannot be separated from the method of its expression, the art which most completely realises the artistic ideal, and is the condition to which all the other arts are constantly aspiring.
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Oscar Wilde (The English Renaissance of Art)
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But when he deals with the Winner that [Jesus] is the most romantic, in the sense most real. The world had always loved the Saint as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of God. Christ, through some divine instinct in him, seems to have always loved the Winner as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of man. His primary desire was not to reform people, any more than his primary desire was to relieve suffering. To turn an interesting thief into a tedious honest man was not his aim. He would have thought little of the Prisoner's Aid Society and other modern movements of the kind. The conversion of a Pharisee would not have seemed to him a great achievement by any means. But in a manner not yet understood of the world he regarded sin and suffering as being in themselves beautiful, holy things, and modes of perfection. It sounds a very dangerous idea. It is so. All great ideas are dangerous. That it was Christ's creed admits of no doubt. That is the true creed I don't doubt myself.
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Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
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The Ideal Man! Oh, the Ideal Man should talk to us as if we were goddesses, and treat us as if we were children. He should refuse all our serious requests, and gratify every one of our whims. He should encourage us to have caprices, and forbid us to have missions. He should always say much more than he means, and always mean much more than he says. He should never run down other pretty women. That would show he had no taste, or make one suspect that he had too much. No; he should be nice about them all, but say that somehow they don't attract him. If we ask him a question about anything, he should give us an answer all about ourselves. He should invariably praise us for whatever qualities he knows we haven't got. But he should be pitiless, quite pitiless, in reproaching us for the virtues that we have never dreamed of possessing. He should never believe that we know the use of useful things. That would be unforgiveable. But he should shower on us everything we don't want. He should persistently compromise us in public, and treat us with absolute respect when we are alone. And yet he should be always ready to have a perfectly terrible scene, whenever we want one, and to become miserable, absolutely miserable, at a moment's notice, and to overwhelm us with just reproaches in less than twenty minutes, and to be positively violent at the end of half an hour, and to leave us for ever at a quarter to eight, when we have to go and dress for dinner. And when, after that, one has seen him for really the last time, and he has refused to take back the little things he has given one, and promised never to communicate with one again, or to write one any foolish letters, he should be perfectly broken-hearted, and telegraph to one all day long, and send one little notes every half-hour by a private hansom, and dine quite alone at the club, so that every one should know how unhappy he was. And after a whole dreadful week, during which one has gone about everywhere with one's husband, just to show how absolutely lonely one was, he may be given a third last parting, in the evening, and then, if his conduct has been quite irreproachable, and one has behaved really badly to him, he should be allowed to admit that he has been entirely in the wrong, and when he has admitted that, it becomes a woman's duty to forgive, and one can do it all over again from the beginning, with variations. His reward? Oh, infinite expectation. That is quite enough for him.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (A Woman of No Importance)
β€œ
I think fairies are all awfully sad,” she said. β€œPoor fairies.” β€œThis was sort of funny though,” David said. β€œBecause this worthless man that taught Tommy backgammon was explaining to Tommy what it meant to be a fairy and all about the Greeks and Damon and Pythias and David and Jonathan. You know, sort of like when they tell you about the fish and the roe and the milt and the bees fertilizing the pollen and all that at school and Tommy asked him if he’d ever read a book by Gide. What was it called, Mr. Davis? Not Corydon. That other one? With Oscar Wilde in it.” β€œSi le grain ne meurt,” Roger said. β€œIt’s a pretty dreadful book that Tommy took to read the boys in school. They couldn’t understand it in French, of course, but Tommy used to translate it. Lots of it is awfully dull but it gets pretty dreadful when Mr. Gide gets to Africa.” β€œI’ve read it,” the girl said. β€œOh fine,” David said. β€œThen you know the sort of thing I mean. Well this man who’d taught Tommy backgammon and turned out to be a fairy was awfully surprised when Tommy spoke about this book but he was sort of pleased because now he didn’t have to go through all the part about the bees and flowers of that business and he said, β€˜I’m so glad you know,’ or something like that and then Tommy said this to him exactly; I memorized it: β€˜Mr. Edwards, I take only an academic interest in homosexuality. I thank you very much for teaching me backgammon and I must bid you good day.
”
”
Ernest Hemingway (Islands in the Stream)
β€œ
It is in Keats that the artistic spirit of this century first found its absolute incarnation. And these pre-Raphaelites, what were they? If you ask nine-tenths of the British public what is the meaning of the word aesthetics, they will tell you it is the French for affectation or the German for a dado; and if you inquire about the pre-Raphaelites you will hear something about an eccentric lot of young men to whom a sort of divine crookedness and holy awkwardness in drawing were the chief objects of art. To know nothing about their great men is one of the necessary elements of English education. As regards the pre-Raphaelites the story is simple enough. In the year 1847 a number of young men in London, poets and painters, passionate admirers of Keats all of them, formed the habit of meeting together for discussions on art, the result of such discussions being that the English Philistine public was roused suddenly from its ordinary apathy by hearing that there was in its midst a body of young men who had determined to revolutionise English painting and poetry. They called themselves the pre- Raphaelite Brotherhood. In England, then as now, it was enough for a man to try and produce any serious beautiful work to lose all his rights as a citizen; and besides this, the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood - among whom the names of Dante Rossetti, Holman Hunt and Millais will be familiar to you - had on their side three things that the English public never forgives: youth, power and enthusiasm.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The English Renaissance of Art)
β€œ
I sometimes think, Harry, that there are only two eras of any importance in the world's history. The first is the appearance of a new medium for art, and the second is the appearance of a new personality for art also. What the invention of oil-painting was to the Venetians, the face of Antinous was to late Greek sculpture, and the face of Dorian Gray will some day be to me. It is not merely that I paint from him, draw from him, sketch from him. Of course, I have done all that. But he is much more to me than a model or a sitter. I won't tell you that I am dissatisfied with what I have done of him, or that his beauty is such that art cannot express it. There is nothing that art cannot express, and I know that the work I have done, since I met Dorian Gray, is good work, is the best work of my life. But in some curious way--I wonder will you understand me?--his personality has suggested to me an entirely new manner in art, an entirely new mode of style. I see things differently, I think of them differently. I can now recreate life in a way that was hidden from me before. 'A dream of form in days of thought'--who is it who says that? I forget; but it is what Dorian Gray has been to me. The merely visible presence of this lad--for he seems to me little more than a lad, though he is really over twenty--his merely visible presence--ah! I wonder can you realize all that that means? Unconsciously he defines for me the lines of a fresh school, a school that is to have in it all the passion of the romantic spirit, all the perfection of the spirit that is Greek. The harmony of soul and body--how much that is! We in our madness have separated the two, and have invented a realism that is vulgar, an ideality that is void. Harry! if you only knew what Dorian Gray is to me!
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
Let us go and sit in the shade," said Lord Henry. "Parker has brought out the drinks, and if you stay any longer in this glare, you will be quite spoiled, and Basil will never paint you again. You really must not allow yourself to become sunburnt. It would be unbecoming." "What can it matter?" cried Dorian Gray, laughing, as he sat down on the seat at the end of the garden. "It should matter everything to you, Mr. Gray." "Why?" "Because you have the most marvellous youth, and youth is the one thing worth having." "I don't feel that, Lord Henry." "No, you don't feel it now. Some day, when you are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead with its lines, and passion branded your lips with its hideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly. Now, wherever you go, you charm the world. Will it always be so? ... You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Gray. Don't frown. You have. And beauty is a form of genius--is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it. You smile? Ah! when you have lost it you won't smile.... People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial. That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.... Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you. But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully. When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats. Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly.... Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.... A new Hedonism--that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol. With your personality there is nothing you could not do. The world belongs to you for a season.... The moment I met you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are, of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself. I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last--such a little time. The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again. The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now. In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth!
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
I freely admit that the best of my fun, I owe it to Horse and Hound - Whyte Melville (1821-1878) "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage; Then lend the eye a terrible aspect; Let pry through the portage of the head Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it As fearfully as doth a galled rock O'erhang and jutty his confounded base, Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean. Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit To his full height. On, on, you noblest English. Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof! Fathers that, like so many Alexanders, Have in these parts from morn till even fought And sheathed their swords for lack of argument: Dishonour not your mothers; now attest That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you. Be copy now to men of grosser blood, And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman, Whose limbs were made in England, show us here The mettle of your pasture; let us swear That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not; For there is none of you so mean and base, That hath not noble lustre in your eyes. I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start. The game's afoot: Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!" ... King Henry V 1598 (William Shakespeare) I can resist anything except temptation - Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892) In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different - Coco Chanel When it comes to pain and suffering, she's right up there with Elizabeth Taylor - Truvy (Steel Magnolias) She looks too pure to be pink (Rizzo, Grease) I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow - Scarlett O'Hara (Gone With The Wind.)
”
”
George John Whyte-Melville
β€œ
Darwin and Nietzsche were the common spiritual and intellectual source for the mean-spirited and bellicose ideological assault on progress, liberalism, and democracy that fired the late-nineteenth-century campaign to preserve or rejuvenate the traditional order. Presensitized for this retreat from modernity, prominent fin-de-siècle aesthetes, engages literati, polemical publicists, academic sociologists, and last but not least, conservative and reactionary politicians became both consumers and disseminators of the untried action-ideas. Oscar Wilde and Stefan George were perhaps most representative of the aristocratizing aesthetes whose rush into dandyism or retreat into cultural monasticism was part of the outburst against bourgeois philistinism and social levelling. Their yearning for a return to an aristocratic past and their aversion to the invasive democracy of their day were shared by Thomas Mann and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, whose nostalgia for the presumably superior sensibilities of a bygone cultivated society was part of their claim to privileged social space and position in the present. Although they were all of burgher or bourgeois descent, they extolled ultra-patrician values and poses, thereby reflecting and advancing the rediscovery and reaffirmation of the merits and necessities of elitism. Theirs was not simply an aesthetic and unpolitical posture precisely because they knowingly contributed to the exaltation of societal hierarchy at a time when this exaltation was being used to do battle against both liberty and equality. At any rate, they may be said to have condoned this partisan attack by not explicitly distancing themselves from it. Maurice Barrès, Paul Bourget, and Gabriele D'Annunzio were not nearly so self-effacing. They were not only conspicuous and active militants of antidemocratic elitism, but they meant their literary works to convert the reader to their strident persuasion. Their polemical statements and their novels promoted the cult of the superior self and nation, in which the Church performed the holy sacraments. Barrès, Bourget, and D'Annunzio were purposeful practitioners of the irruptive politics of nostalgia that called for the restoration of enlightened absolutism, hierarchical society. and elite culture in the energizing fires of war.
”
”
Arno J. Mayer (The Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War)
β€œ
Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways why which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
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.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
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. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. 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. The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass. The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an im- perfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an un- pardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art. Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor’s craft is the Type. 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. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (Complete Works of Oscar Wilde)
β€œ
The world had always loved the saint as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of God. Christ, through some divine instinct in him, seems to have always loved the sinner as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of man. His primary desire was not to reform people, any more than his primary desire was to a relieve suffering. To turn an interesting thief into a tedious honest man was not his aim. He would have thought little of the Prisoners’ Aid Society and other modern movements of the kind. The conversion of a publican into a Pharisee would not have seemed to him a great achievement. But in a manner not yet understood of the world he regarded sin and suffering as being in themselves beautiful holy things and modes of perfection. It seems a very dangerous idea. It is β€” all great ideas are dangerous. That it was Christ’s creed admits of no doubt. That it is the true creed I don’t doubt myself. Of course the sinner must repent. But why? Simply because otherwise he would be unable to realise what he had done. The moment of repentance is the moment of initiation. More than that: it is the means by which one alters one’s past. The Greeks thought that impossible. They often say in their Gnomic aphorisms, β€˜Even the Gods cannot alter the past.’ Christ showed that the commonest sinner could do it, that it was the one thing he could do. Christ, had he been asked, would have said β€” I feel quite certain about it β€” that the moment the prodigal son fell on his knees and wept, he made his having wasted his substance with harlots, his swine-herding and hungering for the husks they ate, beautiful and holy moments in his life. It is difficult for most people to grasp the idea. I dare say one has to go to prison to understand it. If so, it may be worth while going to prison.
”
”
Oscar Wilde
β€œ
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.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. β€”MARK TWAIN Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. β€”OSCAR WILDE, Irish dramatist and novelist
”
”
Timothy Ferriss (The 4 Hour Workweek, Expanded And Updated: Expanded And Updated, With Over 100 New Pages Of Cutting Edge Content)
β€œ
I couldn't be happy if I didn't see him every day. Of course sometimes it is only for a few minutes. But a few minutes with somebody one worships mean a great deal.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur iin such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
I fancy that the true explanation is this: It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an artistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
My dear boy," said Lord Henry, smiling, "anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there. That is the reason why people who live out of town are so absolutely uncivilized. Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt. Country people have no opportunity of being either, so they stagnate.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
We try to improve the conditions of the race by means of good air, free sunlight, wholesome water, and hideous bare buildings for the better housing of the lower orders. But these things merely produce health, they do not produce beauty. For this Art is required, and the true disciples of the great artist are not his studio-imitators, but those who become like his works of art, be they plastic as in Greek days, or pictorial as in modern times; in a word, Life is Art's best, Art's only pupil.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (Intentions)
β€œ
It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style. They affect us just as vulgarity affects us. They give us an impression of sheer brute force, and we revolt against that.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul!
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. β€”OSCAR WILDE, Irish dramatist and novelist
”
”
Timothy Ferriss (The 4 Hour Workweek, Expanded And Updated: Expanded And Updated, With Over 100 New Pages Of Cutting Edge Content)
β€œ
I mean it,' said Bosie seriously. 'I'd like to murder him, in cold blood.' 'Well, you can't, Bosie,' said Oscar, 'leastways, not tonight.' 'Why not?' demanded Bosie petulantly. 'It's Sunday, Bosie,' said Oscar, 'and a gentleman never murders his father on a Sunday. You should know that. Did they teach you nothing at Winchester?
”
”
Gyles Brandreth (Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death)
β€œ
As Oscar Wilde once wrote, β€œMorality, like art, means drawing a line somewhere.” The question is: where is the line?
”
”
Dan Ariely (The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyoneβ€”Especially Ourselves)
β€œ
Love is the sacrament of life; it sets Virtue where virtue was not; cleanses men Of all the vile pollutions of this world; It is the fire which purges gold from dross, It is the fan which winnows wheat from chaff, It is the spring which in some wintry soil Makes innocence to blossom like a rose. The days are over when God walked with men, But Love, which is his image, holds his place. When a man loves a woman, then he knows God’s secret, and the secret of the world. There is no house so lowly or so mean, Which, if their hearts be pure who live in it, Love will not enter; but if bloody murder Knock at the Palace gate and is let in, Love like a wounded thing creeps out and dies. This is the punishment God sets on sin. The wicked cannot love.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (Oscar Wilde: The Truly Complete Collection)
β€œ
To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul." Yes, that was the secret.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
Death is not our destiny. Longing for true love is our true destiny. That is where we will find the ultimate meaning of life.
”
”
Debasish Mridha
β€œ
Loving is more important than living; without love, life has no meaning.
”
”
Debasish Mridha
β€œ
Oh! don't use big words. They mean so little.
”
”
Oscar Wilde
β€œ
The artist must live the complete life, must accept it as it comes and stands like an angel before him, with its drawn and two-edged sword.… I have had great success, I have had great failure. I have learned the value of each; and I now know that failure means moreβ€”always must mean more than success. Why, then, should I complain? … I have at last come to the complete life which every artist must experience in order to join beauty to truth. β€”OSCAR WILDE, in conversation with Laurence Housman, September 1899
”
”
Nicholas Frankel (Oscar Wilde: The Unrepentant Years)
β€œ
mean?” β€œMy dear boy, the people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
It is extraordinary that among these learned and professional men, only a deluded lunatic appears to have known the meaning of the word, and that from reading – or being told about – the work of a German sexologist. It is, perhaps, indicative of the general ignorance of sex (and, indeed, of the lower status of women),
”
”
Philip Hoare (Oscar Wilde's Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy, and the Most Outrageous Trial of the Century)
β€œ
Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you. But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which really to live. When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray (The Original 1890 Uncensored Edition + The Expanded and Revised 1891 Edition))
β€œ
Lord Henry laughed. β€œThe reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror. We think that we are generous because we credit our neighbour with the possession of those virtues that are likely to be a benefit to us. We praise the banker that we may overdraw our account, and find good qualities in the highwayman in the hope that he may spare our pockets. I mean everything that I have said. I have the greatest contempt for optimism.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul' How the words rang in his ears! His soul, certainly, was sick to death. Was it true that the senses could cure it?
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
When Jesus talks about the poor he simply means personalities, just as when he talks about the rich he simply means people who have not developed their personalities
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Soul of Man under Socialism)
β€œ
what do you mean by good, Harry?" "To be good is to be in harmony with one's self,
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture Of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. 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.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror. We think that we are generous because we credit our neighbor with those virtues that are likely to benefit ourselves. We praise the banker that we may overdraw our account, and find good qualities in the highwayman in the hope that he may spare our pockets. I mean everything that I have said. I have the greatest contempt for optimism. And as for a spoiled life, no life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested. If you want to mar a nature, you have merely to reform it.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
No, you don't feel it now. Some day, when you are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead with its lines, and passion branded your lips with its hideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly. Now, wherever you go, you charm the world. Will it always be so? ... You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Gray. Don't frown. You have. And beauty is a form of genius--is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it. You smile? Ah! when you have lost it you won't smile.... People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial. That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.... Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you. But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully. When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats. Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly.... Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.... A new Hedonism--that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol. With your personality there is nothing you could not do. The world belongs to you for a season.... The moment I met you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are, of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself. I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last--such a little time. The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again. The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now. In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth!
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Well, Tommy has proposed to me again. Tommy really does nothing but propose to me. He proposed to me last night in the music-room, when I was quite unprotected, as there was an elaborate trio going on. I didn’t dare to make the smallest repartee, I need hardly tell you. If I had, it would have stopped the music at once. Musical people are so absurdly unreasonable. They always want one to be perfectly dumb at the very moment when one is longing to be absolutely deaf. Then he proposed to me in broad daylight this morning, in front of that dreadful statue of Achilles. Really, the things that go on in front of that work of art are quite appalling. The police should interfere. At luncheon I saw by the glare in his eye that he was going to propose again, and I just managed to check him in time by assuring him that I was a bimetallist. Fortunately I don’t know what bimetallism means. And I don’t believe anybody else does either. But the observation crushed Tommy for ten minutes. He looked quite shocked. And then Tommy is so annoying in the way he proposes. If he proposed at the top of his voice, I should not mind so much. That might produce some effect on the public. But he does it in a horrid confidential way. When Tommy wants to be romantic he talks to one just like a doctor. I am very fond of Tommy, but his methods of proposing are quite out of date. I wish, Gertrude, you would speak to him, and tell him that once a week is quite often enough to propose to any one, and that it should always be done in a manner that attracts some attention.
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Oscar Wilde (Selected works of Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray, the Canterville Ghost, the Happy Prince)
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Suffering - curious as it may sound to you - is the means by which we exist, because it is the only means by which we become conscious of existing; and the remembrance of suffering in the past is necessary to us as the warrant, the evidence, of our continued identity. Between myself and the memory of joy lies a gulf no less deep than that between myself and joy in its actuality.
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Oscar Wilde
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To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul!" How the words rang in his ears! His soul, certainly, was sick to death. Was it true that the senses could cure
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Never trust a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may be, or a woman over thirty-five who is fond of pink ribbons. It always means that they have a history. Others
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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It was Oscar Wilde who wrote, β€œIn this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” Wilde was attempting to warn us that no matter how successful we are and how many possessions we accumulate, we will not be satisfied. Our souls hunger instead for meaningβ€”a hunger that money and material possessions cannot satisfy.
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James A. Roberts (Shiny Objects)
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Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” –Oscar Wilde
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Timothy Ferriss (Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World)
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Shakespeare is not by any means a flawless artist.
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Oscar Wilde (Beautiful and Impossible Things - Selected Essays of Oscar Wilde)
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DUCHESS OF BERWICK: [A]s a concession to my poor wits, Lord Darlington, just explain to me what you really mean. LORD DARLINGTON: I think I had better not, Duchess. Nowadays to be intelligible is to be found out.
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Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan)
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Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” –Oscar Wilde Irish writer, author of The Picture of Dorian Gray
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Timothy Ferriss (Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World)
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The absence of war did not mean that the vacuum would necessarily be replaced by peace. In the no man’s land between Armistice and the Treaty of Versailles, Europe revolted and Britain faced chaos as the civil unrest of wartime spread.
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Philip Hoare (Oscar Wilde's Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy, and the Most Outrageous Trial of the Century)
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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. The highest, as the lowest, form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. 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. The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass. The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art. Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type. 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. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt. Country people have no opportunity of being either, so they stagnate.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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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.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupts without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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it often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style. They affect us just as vulgarity affects us. They give us an impression of sheer brute force, and we revolt against that. Sometimes, however, a tragedy that possesses artistic elements of beauty crosses our lives. If these elements of beauty are real, the whole thing simply appeals to our sense of dramatic effect. Suddenly we find that we are no longer the actors, but the spectators of the play. Or rather we are both. We watch ourselves, and the mere wonder of the spectacle enthrals us.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)