Oscar Wilde was more than a writer; he was a poet, playwright and overall observer of life. The Irish writer was born Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde on October 16, 1854 and became one of London’s most popular creative minds in the 1880s and 1890s. He is best remembered for his great novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his numerous plays and epigrams, in addition to the circumstances of his imprisonment and ultimately early death.
As the son of successful intellectuals, Oscar Wilde went on to be a great student and at university, he became known for his participation in the rising philosophy of aestheticism. But it was after university that he became well known when he started associating himself with many many fashionable and cultural residents of London, becoming a part of their intimate social circles. Before he became the writer many of us know him for being, he was a prolific journalist known for his cunning wit, flamboyant dress and over-the-top conversational skills, making him one of the notable personalities of his day.
He wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1890 after he had refined his thoughts on supremacy of art, which he first documented in dialogues and essays. It became a controversial piece of literature and his greatest work. He went on to create his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895, which was a huge London play, but during that time, he had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for libel, but that backfired on him since her father was his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. Because of his relationship with other men, Oscar Wilde was arrested and put on trail and in 1897, he was convicted and served two years of “hard labour.” After his ordeal in prison, he wrote his final work, The Ballard of Reading Gaol in 1898, before dying poor in Paris on November 30, 1900 at the age of 46.
Here are some of his most infamous quotes on life, literature, fashion and other random things:
1. To live
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
“Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much.
“I represent all the sins you have never had that courage to commit.”
“It takes a great deal of courage to see the world in all its glory, and still to love it.”
“You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.”
“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”
“What you read when you don’t have to determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
9. Be yourself
“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”
“Society often forges the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.”
“In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken form you.”
“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
“Experience is the name we give to our mistakes.”
“Life is too important to be taken seriously!”
“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.”
“Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.”
“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”