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