Wit Wisdom and Quotes of Oscar Wilde

A collection of wit, wisdom, and quotes from Oscar Wilde on a wide variety of subjects.


Speaking to Andre Gide in Algiers, 1895: "I have put my genius into my life. I have put only my talent into my work."

"Nothing succeeds like excess."

Going through customs on entering New York City: "I have nothing to declare except my genius."

"Experience is the name everyone gives to his mistakes."

"A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it."

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his."

"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."

"One can always be kind to people about whom one cares nothing."

"No man is rich enough to buy back his past."

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror."

"When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers."

"It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances."

"Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing."

"Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality."

"Men always want to be a woman's first love; women like to be a man's last romance."

"Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them."

"The difference between journalism and literature is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read."

"The worst form of tyranny the world has ever known: the tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts."

"Everyone is born a king, and most people die in exile."

"Simple pleasures-are the last refuge of the complex."

"In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it."

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing."

"The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it."

"Being natural is simply a pose."

"Ambition is the last refuge of the failure."

"Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about."

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

"Duty is what one expects from others."

"Frank Harris has been invited to all the great houses in England-once."

"Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty."

"He doesn't act on the stage-he behaves."

"I like men who have a future and women who have a past."

"By persistently remaining single, a man converts himself into a permanent public temptation."

"He hasn't a single redeeming vice."

"I must decline your invitation owing to a subsequent engagement."

"She who hesitates is won."

"In America, the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience."

"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

Taking champagne on his deathbed: "I am dying beyond my means."

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