- Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
- America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.
- America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
- Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.
- Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.
- At twilight, nature is not without loveliness, though perhaps its chief use is to illustrate quotations from the poets.
- Biography lends to death a new terror.
- Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
- Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.
- Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
- Genius is born–not paid.
- I always like to know everything about my new friends, and nothing about my old ones.
- I am not young enough to know everything.
- I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.
- I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
- If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.
- Illusion is the first of all pleasures.
- It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.
- It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is fatal.
- Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
- Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.
- Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone elses opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
- Music makes one feel so romantic – at least it always gets on one’s nerves – which is the same thing nowadays.
- One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.
- One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.
- Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.
- Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
- Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.
- The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly – that is what each of us is here for.
- The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, and the young know everything.
- The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.
- The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
- The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
- There are many things that we would throw away, if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.
- There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating: people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.
- To disagree with three-fourths of the British public is one of the first requisites of sanity.
- We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.
We teach people how to remember, we never teach them how to grow.
Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
Why was I born with such contemporaries?
Wisdom comes with winters.
One should absorb the colour of life, but one should never remember its details. Details are always vulgar.
The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling that I have always cultivated.
The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived.
When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead.
Crying is the refuge of plain women, but the ruin of pretty ones.
My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s.
I can resist anything but temptation.
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.
Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.
Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Only the shallow know themselves.
We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.
To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture.
But what is the difference between literature and journalism?
…Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all.
It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.
The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
One is tempted to define man as a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.
Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.
I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.
I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.
I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.
I love acting. It is so much more real than life.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.
One can always be kind to people about whom one cares nothing.
Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered. I myself would say that it had merely been detected.
The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray, and the advantage of science is that it is not emotional.
The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself.
The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror.
There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.
There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.
When a woman marries again, it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.
Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.
Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our intellects.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written.
In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever.
Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience and rebellion that progress has been made.
Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend’s success.
I suppose that I shall have to die beyond my means. (Oscar Wilde, upon being told the cost of an operation)