Oscar Wilde quotes

Oscar Wilde photo
811   10

Oscar Wilde

Birthdate: 16. October 1854
Date of death: 30. November 1900

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, the early 1890s saw him become one of the most popular playwrights in London. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for "gross indecency", imprisonment, and early death at age 46.

Wilde's parents were successful Anglo-Irish intellectuals in Dublin. A young Wilde learned to speak fluent French and German. At university, Wilde read Greats; he demonstrated himself to be an exceptional classicist, first at Trinity College Dublin, then at Oxford. He became associated with the emerging philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles.

As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new "English Renaissance in Art" and interior decoration, and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversational skill, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day. At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into what would be his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray . The opportunity to construct aesthetic details precisely, and combine them with larger social themes, drew Wilde to write drama. He wrote Salome in French while in Paris but it was refused a licence for England due to an absolute prohibition on the portrayal of Biblical subjects on the English stage. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late-Victorian London.

At the height of his fame and success, while The Importance of Being Earnest was still being performed in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for criminal libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The libel trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with men. After two more trials he was convicted and sentenced to two years' hard labour, the maximum penalty, and was jailed from 1895 to 1897. During his last year in prison, he wrote De Profundis , a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. On his release, he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol , a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. Wikipedia

Works

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

—  Oscar Wilde, book The Soul of Man under Socialism

The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1891)
Context: With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true, beautiful, healthy Individualism. Nobody will waste his life in accumulating things, and the symbols for things. One will live. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

Help us translate English quotes

Discover interesting quotes and translate them.

Start translating

„Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Already Taken.“

—  Oscar Wilde

Anonymous advertising copywriter for Menards chain of hardware stores (2000), according to Quote Investigator http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/01/20/be-yourself
Misattributed

„Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.“

—  Oscar Wilde

Variant: Always forgive your enemies — nothing annoys them so much.

„The truth is rarely pure and never simple.“

—  Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Source: The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
Context: Jack: That, my dear Algy, is the whole truth pure and simple.
Algernon: The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!

Act I
Often quoted as "The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple."

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

Similar authors

Mikhail Lermontov photo
Mikhail Lermontov33
Russian writer, poet and painter
Robert Southey photo
Robert Southey51
British poet
Léon Bloy photo
Léon Bloy22
French writer, poet and essayist
Elizabeth Barrett Browning photo
Elizabeth Barrett Browning88
English poet, author
Robert Louis Stevenson photo
Robert Louis Stevenson109
Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer
Percy Bysshe Shelley photo
Percy Bysshe Shelley245
English Romantic poet
Charles Baudelaire photo
Charles Baudelaire133
French poet
Ivan Turgenev photo
Ivan Turgenev7
Russian writer
Aleksandr Pushkin photo
Aleksandr Pushkin33
Russian poet
Today anniversaries
Derek Landy photo
Derek Landy167
Irish children's writer 1974
Pelé photo
Pelé48
Brazilian association football player 1940
Randy Pausch photo
Randy Pausch82
American professor of computer science, human-computer inte… 1960 - 2008
Laurie Halse Anderson photo
Laurie Halse Anderson147
American children's writer 1961
Another 54 today anniversaries
Similar authors
Mikhail Lermontov photo
Mikhail Lermontov33
Russian writer, poet and painter
Robert Southey photo
Robert Southey51
British poet
Léon Bloy photo
Léon Bloy22
French writer, poet and essayist
Elizabeth Barrett Browning photo
Elizabeth Barrett Browning88
English poet, author
Robert Louis Stevenson photo
Robert Louis Stevenson109
Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer