It seems somewhat fortuitous that I’d be sitting down to celebrate the life of Oscar Wilde on what is now referred to as National Coming Out Day.
Wilde, an accomplished novelist, poet, playwright, and lecturer was essentially hastened to an early grave because of Victorian society’s disdain for his homosexual lifestyle.
This was, of course, after two years of hard labor imprisonment. For being gay.
Serving that time essentially broke him. Which is not saying little. Prior to this, he was a man of almost indomitable spirit. It is said that upon his first landing in America in 1882, he told the customs people, “I have nothing to declare but my genius.”
Biographically, there is no shortage of anecdotes and stories that paint the picture of who Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was. It is said he was an artist who comes along perhaps once in a lifetime, but it is in his great works that one will find what made him immortal.
The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Ernest, and Lady Windermere’s Fan can all be easily categorized as essential reading for anyone interested in what makes a great writer…great—but his gift for snappy repartee will live forever.
There are at least one hundred quotes by Wilde worth knowing. I’d recommend looking further into his biography.
Here are 10 to get you started:
“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.”
“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I’m saying.”
“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
“Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.”
“Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.”
“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
“The only good thing to do with good advice is to pass it on; it is never of any use to oneself.”