Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

On This Day • Quotes • OSCAR WILDE [1854-1900]

Oscar Wilde by Napoleon Sarony 1882

Oscar Wilde by Napoleon Sarony 1882

On this day—16th October—in 1854 was born the incomparable writer, poet and dramatist Oscar Wilde. To celebrate his birthday, I give you various quotes by and about him collected at random from the original R&V website.

“Ah, every day dear Herbert becomes de plus en plus Oscarié. It is a wonderful case of nature imitating art.” Commenting on actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree’s unwitting acquisition of certain on-stage character traits in a Wilde play in his off-stage life.

“The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster.”

“It is only the shallow people who DO NOT judge by appearance.”

“The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on; it is never of any use to oneself.”

“I am not English. I am Irish — which is quite another thing.”

“The haunt of the very aesthetic,
Here comes the supremely intense,
The long-haired and hyper-poetic,
Whose sound is mistaken for sense.
And many a maiden will mutter,
When Oscar looms large on her sight,
‘He’s quite too consummately utter,
As well as too utterly quite.”
Anon. Punch, 1881

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”

“Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are.”

“Bad artists always admire each others work.”

“Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”

“Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken up teaching.”

“Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.”

“A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.”

“A true friend stabs you in the front.”

“One of the peculiarities of his speech is that he accents almost at regular intervals without regard to the sense, perhaps as a result of an effort to be rhythmic in conversation as well as in verse.”
New York Tribune, 1883.

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”

“Genius is born, not paid.”

“And I? May I say nothing, my Lord?”
Wilde’s words on being led out of court at the end of his second trial on 25th September 1895.

“The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.”

“Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.”

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

“Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.”

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

“The English public take no interest in a work of art until it is told that the work in question is obscene.”

“Alas, I am dying beyond my means. Ah, well, then I suppose I shall have to die beyond my means.”
Uttered while sipping champagne on his deathbed.

“All these pieces [his work] had the same qualities – a paradoxical humour and a perverted outlook on life being the most prominent. They were packed with witty sayings, and the author’s cleverness gave him at once a position in the dramatic world. The revelations of the criminal trial in 1895 naturally made them impossible for some years. Recently, however, one of them was revived, though not at a West End theatre.”
From his obituary in The Times, 1st December 1900.

© Sarah Vernon

5 comments on “On This Day • Quotes • OSCAR WILDE [1854-1900]

  1. mandy

    I love this, Sarah. I’ve heard so many of those quotes and never knew where they came from. I used to have a pair of shoes like his 🙂

  2. First Night Design

    There will be more…!

  3. George Kaplan

    A lesser-known and rather vulgar quotation from when Oscar emerged from gaol a broken but unbowed man: “I may have suffered the depredations of an iniquitous society, I may have lost my wife, my children, my reputation – such as it was, and even my beloved Bosie; but at least I have the consolation that a hundred years from now I shall not be portrayed by Stephen Fry.”
    Then, when informed otherwise: “Oh F***!”

  4. First Night Design

    Thank you, Mr K. That’s given me a much-needed laugh!

  5. George Kaplan

    True, true, oh so very true. The release of laughter is something I NEED, for without it… Suffice to say, I am in agreement entire with you.

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This entry was posted on 10/16/2014 by in On This Day, Quotes, Theatre and tagged , , , , , , , .

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