Last modified on 17 October 2014, at 04:39

Talk:Oscar Wilde

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Wildeism?Edit

One commonly attributed to Wilde is "The General was essentially a man of peace, except of course in his domestic affairs."

Did Wilde say or write this? Is it original?

It's WRITTEN it's a quote from "The Importance of Being Earnest". I was in it this year.

(Technically, as this is a reply, it should be indented.) The quote is "The General was essentially a man of peace, except in his domestic life," and is said by Lady Bracknell in the third act of The Importance of Being Earnest. I am not sure if Wilde invented this quote or is merely using it.

The Importance of Being EarnestEdit

Some of the quotes attributed to Wilde as part of "The Importance of Being Earnest" are not in any edition of the play that I have read. Which edition was used for this page?

Clarification: The quotes to which I refer are "Mothers, of course, are all right. They pay a chaps bills and don't bother him. But fathers bother a chap and never pay his bills." (Act 1) and "When a man does exactly what a woman expects him to do she doesn't think much of him. One should always do what a woman doesn't expect, just as one should say what she doesn't understand." (Act 3) Û

Note: Various quotes are sometimes attributed to Oscar Wilde that are actually taken from liberal directors edits made to his plays or from movies based on either Wilde's work, or his life.

I added these quotes back in and some others which needed verifying. They are indeed from Earnest but from the four act version which was cut to three acts for performance and the three act version is the one usually printed. MeltBanana 18:28, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Another Wildeism?Edit

Another commonly attributed to Wilde, semble referring to the "English face" is “Once seen, never remembered.”

Did Wilde say or write this?

"Lady Alice Chapman, his hostess's daughter, a dowdy dull girl, with one of those characteristic British faces that, once seen, are never remembered." - Dorian Gray, Ch. 15
Hubert ;-) 10:28, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Wilde quoteEdit

The other day I heard this quote: "The most interesting people are men with a future and women with a history". One of Wilde's?

"I like men who have a future and women who have a past." Dorian Gray, ch. 15
Hubert ;-) 10:55, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

.... Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you........... K_M

Those DrapesEdit

I've heard the quote supposedly attributed to Wilde on his deathbed, "Either those drapes go or I do." I'm pretty sure it's an Uncyclopedia internet joke, but I have a friend who is absolutely convinced that it's a real Wilde quote. Is there any evidence of this? It's not on the page, and I honestly have my doubts.

i'm quite sure it was wallpaper.

I've read that his last words were 'Either the drapes go or I do!' in a couple different places.

Wilde said something like "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has to go." More than enough websites, biographies, and collections say this is an actual quote. (As a sidenote; the wallpaper won, but only the first round.)

A wise professor once told me that Oscar Wilde's last words were "This wallpaper is atrocious either it or I have to go."

I found some information on this on: [1] Where it sais:

The following clarification was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Thursday October 18 2007. Oscar Wilde did not say, on his deathbed, "Either those curtains go or I do." He is reported to have said something along the lines of "this wallpaper will be the death of me - one of us will have to go", but not on his deathbed.

Zeptomoon 13:09, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

It was definitely wallpaper and not drapes. There is a photograph of him on his deathbed, taken by a close friend during the last seven years of his life, Maurice Gilbert, in which the despised wallpaper is visible. The picture can be found in Barbara Belford's biography, Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius.

I have heard that Mr Wilde turned to the atrocious wallpaper (of a particularly gaudy print) and said, " Oh well, one of us have to go..." positive Mr OW meant the wallpaper... and apparently the ugly wallpaper does still stand....

What he actually said was, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” Which is pretty damn funny, and also poignant, since Oscar Wilde — formerly world-renowned poet and playwright — was lying, broke and abandoned by nearly all of his friends, on his deathbed in a cheap hotel in France. But he still got in one last zinger! And “Either this wallpaper goes or I do” is a pretty damn funny thing to say, considering he was dying and in a lot of pain and all. Unfortunately, he said this weeks before he died. Oscar Wilde’s actual last words, as far as we can tell, were part of a mumbled Catholic prayer. (Source: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/famous-last-words-2/)

WorkEdit

Work is the curse of the drinking classes

Oscar Wilde

That´s on a birthday card I got yesterday. Worth to add in my opinion.

Kai

why do we need a quote repeated?Edit

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. Ch. 2

It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. Ch. 2


InvisibleSun: can you tell me why we need that repeated? 203.206.217.45 12:11, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

I've corrected my previous error and left a note for the same on your talk page. - InvisibleSun 12:19, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Can anyone verify this one for me?Edit

I just added a quote which I have in a file I keep of favorite quotes: "I'll be a poet, a writer, a dramatist. Somehow or other, I'll be famous, and if not famous, I'll be notorious." a quick web search shows several sites that attribute this to him, one makes mention of a book: Morley, Sheridan. Oscar Wilde. London: Pavillion Books, 1997. I dont have this book, if someone does and can check if the book has a verifiable source for the quote and can update this entry I would appreciate it.

I don't have it, but I'll check it out next time I'm at the library. I would say that the details you have at the moment are enough to put in as an attribution. Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 23:10, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
Aha, finally got time to get to the library, and found the reference (on page 31 in the 1976 first edition, probably the same in the 1997 reprint). The quote actually went on in an even more piquant way. Will now add it to the quotes page. Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 20:10, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Another Wilde Quote?Edit

An Oscar Wilde poster I've seen has the quote "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinion, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."

Yes, I found this one aswell on Quotationspage.com, the details along with it said it was quoted from De Profundis, 1905. --Parfaitement inutile 05:23, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

RudenessEdit

"A true gentleman is one who is never unintentionally rude." I've seen this attributed to Wilde in more than a couple of places. It's worth running down. --72.70.31.216 07:54, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

The trouble with SocialismEdit

Another quote frequently attributed to Oscar Wilde: "The trouble with Socialism is that it takes too many evenings."

It's not listed in the article, but it's frequently quoted in other parts of the Web. Did he really say or write this or is it just a myth? --Chrissi 12:54, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Unsourced America quoteEdit

I heard the quote about America going from barbarism to decadence without creating a civilisation in A Good Woman, the Mike Barker film of Lady Windermere's Fan. This does not appear to be in the original play, so maybe it should be ascribed to the screenwriter of A Good Woman, whoever that was... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 132.206.157.29 (talkcontribs) April 1, 2008 at 21:49 (UTC)

The quote may be found on the page of Georges Clemenceau:
"America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization."
— As quoted in the Saturday Review of Literature (1 December 1945) - InvisibleSun 22:00, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.Edit

Wilde? 68.254.158.22 18:35, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

lo!Edit

lol i saw lo! in the article and for couple of picoseconds i imagined Wilde saying lol/laughing xD --150.140.227.137 17:26, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi! I think Jack: "I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can’t go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left." from ...Earnest should be in this collection since it is not only a great quote, it is played twice at the end of the song Rubber Ring by The Smiths (from the album The World won't listen)

"Who, being loved, is poor?"Edit

The internets are lousy with attributions of this quote to Wilde. Is that correct? If not, anyone know who did Italic textsay it? MisterJayEm 18:56, 15 December 2009 (UTC)


- The plays of Oscar Wilde, Volume 1 page 86. Hester says it. You can see this source on google books.

Quote sourcing on the web tipEdit

Try to use a proprietary database like LitFinder, if you have access to one. If you're stuck searching the web though, here's a way to improve your chances. Google your phrase or keywords, and add "filetype:pdf". This will exclude all the html web sources like Brainyquote and ThinkExist, which are not rigorously sourced. The resulting pdf files will often be from actual print publications, wherein you will have a better chance of finding a solid source.

A few other quotes of Oscar WildeEdit

"I can resist everything except temptation."
"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."
"I have nothing to declare except my genius."
"There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."
"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train."
"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing."
"All women become like their mother. That's their tragedy. No man does. That's his."
"He felt as if a hand of ice had been laid upon hist heart." (The picture of Dorian Gray)

"Everything popular is wrong"Edit

I was reading Timothy Ferris's "The 4-hour Workweek", and one of the quotes he uses to start a chapter is "Everything popular is wrong.", which he attributes to The Importance of Being Earnest. However, I can't find it in the play. Did Wilde actually say this anywhere? Someone online rationalizes that it came from an early draft, but I can't find any reference to the phrase dating before the publication of Ferris's book, which leads me to think he made it up. —Jclee 18:17, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Meeting with Gide in AlgeriaEdit

A note on the meeting with André Gide in Algeria in January 1895 (notable especially for the quote “I put all my genius into my life”) – the conversation in question happen in Algiers (the capital), as stated in Gide’s journal (quoted in Evangelista, p. 98 – “…when, in Algiers, …”).

However, the travel is potentially a bit confusing (I don’t have Gide’s letters or journal to hand), but AFAICT (Evangelista, p. 97), they met in Blida (a smaller town outside Algiers, the capital) on the 27th, then Gide returned to Algiers the next day (28th, 8 am) – Wilde and Douglas also returned to Algiers, perhaps separately?, they had additional meetings together (most notably on the 30th), then Wilde left for England on the 31st, while Gide and Douglas went (separately) to Biskra (oasis, winter vacation resort) and spent a fortnight there together. Thus, other than the afternoon or evening (and night) of the 27th (meeting in Blida), the entire time that Wilde and Gide spent together (or at least meeting each other) was in Algiers (as was this conversation in question) – however, they initially met in Blida; I’d summarize as “meeting in Blida, conversation in Algiers”. Hope this clarifies matters!

—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 13:11, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

The Decay of LyingEdit

I think that the quote "Art persists, it timelessly continues." doesn't belong to "The Decay Of Lying". Can anyone confirm if I am right and remove the quote, please? (I'm sorry about my english...) Thank you!! --Gimlinu (talk) 22:00, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svgY Done. Thank you for pointing it out. ~ DanielTom (talk) 19:23, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

"Dreams"Edit

"they've promised that dreams come true but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams too"

I've seen that supposed quote all over the Internet, but I can't seem to find the source. Can someone put me out of my mysery?—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 181.50.110.207 (talk)

I added the quote to a just now created "disputed" section. Hopefully one of the website's quote tracking freaks will look into the matter. --Spannerjam (talk) 17:30, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
That quote has absolutely zero hits on GoogleBooks, and so it is highly unlikely that Oscar Wilde ever wrote any such thing. (GoodReads attributes it to him, but cites no sources, and lacks credibility.) ~ DanielTom (talk) 17:39, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
What makes an anonymous post at Goodreads a useful citation? I think the IP above had the right approach: post it on the talk page to be investigated, not in the article.

In my opinion, trash found "all over the Internet" should not be included in an article unless and until one finds it attributed or discussed by a notable source, or at least one that could plausibly appear credible. There is no end of nonsense on the internet, and it serves no useful purpose to repeat it here. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:12, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

I guess you are right, since you are more versed in this matter than me. But I believe Goodsreads is a notable source: It is the most famous quotation page after Wikiquote. --Spannerjam (talk) 06:53, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Saying Goodreads is notable is like saying Blogspot and Facebook are notable: the notability of user-generated content sites does not extend to whatever some anonymous user posts there. (Note also that a list of top ranking quotation sites may be found at Alexa, which does not include Goodreads in the category.) Since you seem to be conceding the point, albeit reluctantly, I will go ahead and remove it from the article. ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:19, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken"Edit

Did Oscar Wilde say that? Where?—This unsigned comment is by 201.190.78.4 (talkcontribs) .

I don't think he said it. (At least it isn't in any of his writings.) It's just another online unsourced attribution to him. ~ DanielTom (talk) 17:09, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

The only difference between a saint and a sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a futureEdit

It seems to me this is the best argument against capital punishment that I have ever heard. DStanB 19:10 27 August 2013

UnsourcedEdit

Note: A great many misquotations are attributed to Wilde. Please seek to verify the provenance of any quotations you believe should be ascribed to him. Once quote has been sourced, please remove it from this section and place it in the proper area of the "Sourced" section above.

  • Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
  • It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.
  • The only creative thought one can have in an institution is how to get out.
  • A true friend stabs you in the front
  • Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
  • Bigamy is having a wife too many, monogamy is the same.
  • A lie is the beginning of a new story. That's why we love Art.
  • Buck up and be jolly, my dear lady! Stillbirth is a sign that God has a sense of humour!
    • Notes: It is claimed that Wilde said this upon visiting a London birthing ward and visiting with a distraught mother who had just birthed stillborn twins.
  • My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.
    • Note: Wilde said this in the Left Bank hotel in Paris where he died on November 30, 1900. The wallpaper has also since gone and the room re-furnished in the style of one of Wilde's London flats. See also Famous last words.
    • Sometimes misquoted as "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do".
  • I am dying as I have lived: beyond my means.
  • I don't recognize you - I've changed a lot.
  • I have nothing to declare except my genius.
    • This is one of Wilde's most famous sayings, which he is supposed to have said while passing through a customs checkpoint in New York. However, there is no contemporary evidence for the remark, and the earliest known appearance is Arthur Ransome, Oscar Wilde: A Critical Study (1912), which does not present it as a direct quote. For a detailed analysis see: Nothing To Declare.
  • In every first novel the hero is the author as Christ or Faust.
  • Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.
  • One of the requisites of sanity is to disagree with the majority of the British public.
  • Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.
  • Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.
  • Work is the curse of the drinking classes.
    • Quoted by Frank Harris in Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions (1916).
  • I don't want to earn a living; I want to live

"Love is a matter of chemistry, sex is a matter of physics."Edit

I've seen this quote attributed to Oscar Wilde on a handful of generic quote database sites, as well as some list-of-the-day sites with famous sayings about love, but when I search for the quote on Google without including Oscar Wilde's name in the search terms, the only attribution that turns up is an Uncyclopedia page. If you dig around, you can find the quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte and some "Nateman" individual, but there's really nothing reliable to back it up. Eventually, I was able to find the first half of the quote "love is a matter of chemistry" in a short story, The Up-To-Date Sorcerer, by Isaac Asimov. Of course, Asimov's quote leaves out the second half about sex and physics, so I'm stumped. Did Isaac Asimov quote Oscar Wilde? Has Asimov's quote been re-used, modified, and misattributed? — 24.22.203.146 23:54, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

what about "Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power?"Edit

it should be written at least in the "misattributed" list--93.66.195.134 14:04, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Right, I was just about to say that, too. - Saibod (talk) 23:01, 26 June 2014 (UTC)


"Looking good and dressing well"Edit

Random people on the internet attribute this quote to Wilde. Is it real? "Looking good and dressing well is a necessity. Having a purpose in life is not."

"Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn't there, and finding it."Edit

The above quote appears to be making the rounds, misattributed to Wilde. A variation is already documented as a common misattribution, here: Charles_Darwin#blind_man. Just in case other people come here looking, I thought it worth mentioning, at least on the talk page. JesseW (talk) 04:39, 17 October 2014 (UTC)