But there was more to Wilde than witty quips; he was also one of the greatest writers of the 19th century. His work remains fresh today and his plays are still being produced all over the world.
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on 16th October 1854 in Dublin. He went on to become one of the most successful dramatists of his day with classic comedies of manners like The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere’s Fan.
He was married and had two children but he fell from grace in his 40s when he began a homosexual affair with a young man called Lord Alfred Douglas. Homosexuality was illegal in those days and Wilde was eventually prosecuted and jailed for two years.
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance
The scandal destroyed his career but not his creativity. He went on to write two of his greatest works – The Ballad of Reading Gaol and De Profundis. He died in poverty on 30th November 1900.
Most of the quotes shown here are taken from Wilde’s plays, novels, essays and letters.
Here’s a few tasters:
I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
The good end happily, the bad unhappily – that is what fiction means.
I can believe anything as long as it is incredible.
There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.
Nothing succeeds like excess.
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.