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Oscar Wilde's Wit and Wisdom: A Book of…
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Oscar Wilde's Wit and Wisdom: A Book of Quotations (Dover Thrift Editions)

by Oscar Wilde

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Hardbound book cover designed by Hy Fujita.
  Merlyn_MacLeod | May 30, 2016 |
Wrapping up by my triple read of Oscar Wilde, a man whose pardon is yet to come (at least Alan Turing finally can rest in peace), I dove in for a last push in understanding Oscar Wilde via this quotations book. I concluded that his wit comes in many forms. It may sound like an excuse, a justification, some brutal honesty, sarcasm, a skewed observation, or simply a slam. But my favorite kinds of wit is thought provoking, a bit of hmmm moment, and definitely can induce a giggle or a smile.

Reading through the book, quite a few of the women related quotes still make me cringe (reference my Dorian Gray review), but this book certainly shed more light on the Wildean wit. Some of these wit read like Victorian stand-up comedy. Try these one-liners:
“A good reputation is one of the many annoyances to which I have never been subjected.” - ‘A Woman of No Importance’
“I can resist everything except temptation.” - ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’
“Don’t be led astray into the paths of virtue.” - In Conversation

The quotes are organized into subjects with the source identified. I thought some of the “Men” quotes are better suited for “People in General”; perhaps I am missing the context on how it was used in the original publication. For the sources I have read, it was ‘focused’ to read only the quote and yet remembering the context. Rather enjoyable!

A selection of Quotes:

On Life – ‘The Soul of Man under Socialism’
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

On Life – In Conversation – I wish I know when this was said, before or after this hard labor prison.
“I wrote when I did not know life; now that I do know the meaning of life, I have no more to write. Life cannot be written; life can only be lived.”

On Love – In Conversation
“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.”

On Conduct – ‘The Remarkable Rocket’ – I thought this seems mean, but I’m missing context.
“A sensitive person is one who, because he has corns himself, always treads on other people’s toes.”

On Conduct – In Conversation – this was thought provoking and made me think of his trial.
“I never came across anyone in whom the moral sense was dominant who was not heartless, cruel, vindictive, log-stupid, and entirely lacking in the smallest sense of humanity. Moral people, as they are termed, are simple beasts. I would sooner have fifty unnatural vices than one unnatural virtue.”

On Literature – ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray” – This reads even better standalone than in the book.
“The books that the world calls immoral books are books that show the world its own shame.”

On Poverty – ‘The Soul of Man under Socialism’ – So true; lived through this…
“Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.”

On Government – ‘The Soul of Man under Socialism’ – an hmm moment…
“High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.”

On Emotion – ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ – If this is true, I am a shallow person.
“It is only shallow people who requires years to get rid of an emotion. A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure.” ( )
1 vote varwenea | Aug 16, 2014 |
I liked this collection of Oscar Wilde quotes well enough, but a number of them may have been funnier or more meaningful in the context of his plays and stories. Some favorites from this collection were:

"Experience is the name every one gives their mistakes."


"The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future."

"Moods don't last. It is their chief charm." ( )
1 vote dukefan86 | May 29, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486401464, Paperback)

Epigrams, aphorisms, and other bon mots gathered from the celebrated wit's plays, essays, and conversation offer an entertaining selection of observations both comic and profound. Organized by category, the nearly 400 quotes range in subject from human nature, morals, and society to art, politics, history, and more.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:44 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Epigrams, aphorisms, and other bon mots gathered from the celebrated wit's plays, essays, and conversation offer an entertaining selection of observations both comic and profound. Organized by category, the nearly 400 quotes range in subject from human nature, morals, and society to art, politics, history, and more.… (more)

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