On October 16, 1854, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland. He would go on to become one of the world's most prolific writers, dabbling in everything from plays and poetry to essays and fiction. Whatever the medium, his wit shone through.
1. On God
"I think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability."
2. On the world as a stage
"The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast."
3. On forgiveness
"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."
4. On good vs. bad
"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious."
5. On getting advice
"The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself."
6. On happiness
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go."
7. On cynicism
"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."
8. On sincerity
"A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal."
9. On money
"When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is."
10. On life's greatest tragedies
"There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it."
11. On hard work
"Work is the curse of the drinking classes."
12. On living within one's means
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."
13. On true friends
"True friends stab you in the front."
14. On mothers
"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his."
15. On fashion
"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months."
16. On being talked about
"There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."
17. On genius
"Genius is born—not paid."
18. On morality
"Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike."
19. On relationships
"How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being?"
20. On the definition of a "gentleman"
"A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally."
21. On boredom
"My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s."
22. On aging
"The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything."
23. On men and women
"I like men who have a future and women who have a past."
24. On poetry
"There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope."
25. On wit
"Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit."
And one bonus quote about Oscar Wilde! Dorothy Parker said it best in a 1927 issue of Life:
If, with the literate, I am Impelled to try an epigram, I never seek to take the credit; We all assume that Oscar said it.