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A Woman of no Importance - The Insults of Oscar Wilde

A man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world.
A man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world. The future belongs to the dandy. It is the exquisites who are going to rule.
After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's relations.
Ah! that quite does for me. I haven't a word to say... Too much care was taken with our education, I am afraid. To have been well brought up is a great drawback nowadays. It shuts one out from so much.
Ah, all that I have noticed is that they are horribly tedious when they are good husbands, and abominably conceited when they are not.
All Americans lecture, I believe. I suppose it is something in their climate.
All men are married women's property. That is the only true definition of what married women's property really is.
All thought is immoral. Its very essence is destruction. If you think of anything, you kill it. Nothing survives being thought of.
And there was also, I remember, a clergyman who wanted to be a lunatic, or a lunatic who wanted to be a clergyman, I forget which. . .
But good women have such limited views of life, their horizon is so small, their interests so petty.
But somehow, I feel sure that if I lived in the country for six months, I should become so unsophisticated that no one would take the slightest notice of me.
Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.
Curious thing, plain women are always jealous of their husbands, beautiful women never are!
Examinations are of no value whatsoever. If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he knows is bad for him.
Hester (smiling): We have the largest country in the world, Lady Caroline. They used to tell us at school that some of our states are as big as France and England put together.
Lady Caroline: Ah! you must find it very draughty, I should fancy.
Hester: I dislike London dinner-parties.
Mrs. Allonby: I adore them. The clever people never listen, and the stupid people never talk.
I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.
I am disgraced; he is not. That is all. It is the usual history of a man and a woman as it usually happens, as it always happens. And the ending is the ordinary ending. The woman suffers. The man goes free.
I am not at all in favour of amusements for the poor, Jane. Blankets and coal are sufficient.
I am not sure. . . that foreigners... should cultivate likes or dislikes about the people they are invited to meet.
I delight in men over seventy. They always offer one the devotion of a lifetime.
I saw the governess, Jane. . . She was far too good-looking to be in any respectable household.
I was in hopes he would have married Lady Kelso. But I believe he said her family was too large. Or was it her feet? I forget which.
If you have not got women on your side you are quite over. You might just as well be a barrister or a stockbroker, or a journalist at once.
It's perfectly scandalous the amount of bachelors who are going about society. There should be a law passed to compel them all to marry within twelve months.
Lady Caroline: In my young days, Miss Worsley, one never met any one in society who worked for their living. It was not considered the thing.
Hester. In America those are the people we respect most. Lady Caroline: I have no doubt of it.
Lady Caroline: There are a great many things you haven't got in America, I am told, Miss Worsley. They say you have no ruins, and no curiosities.
Mrs Allonby: What nonsense! They have their mothers and their manners.
Lady Hunstanton: But do you believe all that is written in the newspapers?
Lord Illingworth: I do. Nowadays it is only the unreadable that occurs.
Lady Hunstanton: I don't know how he made his money, originally. Kelvil: I fancy in American dry goods. Lady Hunstanton: What are American dry goods? Lord Illingworth: American novels.
Lady Hunstanton: I hear you have such pleasant society in America. Quite like our own in places, my son wrote to me.
Hester. There are cliques in America as elsewhere, Lady Hunstanton. But true American society consists simply of all the good women and good men we have in our country.
Lady Hunstanton: What a sensible system, and I dare say quite pleasant, too. I am afraid in England we have too many artificial social barriers. We don't see as much as we should of the middle and lower classes.
Lady Hunstanton: Music makes one feel so romantic - at least it always gets on one's nerves.
Mrs Allonby: It's the same thing, nowadays.
Lady Stutfield: There is nothing, nothing like the beauty of home-life, is there?
Kelvil: It is the mainstay of our moral system in England, Lady Stutfield. Without it we would become like our neighbours.
Life is simply a mauvais quart d'heure made up of exquisite moments.
Lord Illingwonh: Women have become too brilliant. Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humour in the woman.
Mrs. Allonby: Or the want of it in the man.
Lord Illingworth: I was very young at the time. We men know life too early.
Mrs. Arbwhnot: And we women know life too late. That is the difference between men and women.
Lord Illingworth: People's mothers always bore me to death. All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy.
Mrs. Allonby: No man does. That is his.
Lord Illingworth: The Book of Life begins with a man and a woman in a garden.
Mrs. Allonby: It ends with Revelations.
Lord Illingworth: The soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life.
Mrs. Allonby: And the body is born young and grows old. That is life's tragedy.
Man, poor, awkward, reliable, necessary man belongs to a sex that has been rational for millions and millions of years. He can't help himself.
Men always want to be a woman's first love. That is their clumsy vanity. We women have a more subtle instinct about things. What we like is to be a man's last romance.
Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed.
More marriages are ruined nowadays by the common sense of the husband than by anything else.
Most women in London, nowadays, seem to furnish their rooms with nothing but orchids, foreigners, and French novels.
Mrs. Allonby: They say, Lady Hunstanton, that when good Americans die they go to Paris.
Lady Hunstanton: Indeed? And when bad Americans die, where do they go to?
Lord Illingworth: Oh, they go to America.
My dear Rachel, intellectual generalities are always interesting, but generalities in morals mean absolutely nothing.
My husband is a sort of promissory note; I'm tired of meeting him.
No man has real success in this world unless he has got a woman to back him, and women rule society.
Oh! talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you, and at the end of your first season, you will have the reputation of possessing the most perfect social tact.
Oh, your English society seems to me shallow, selfish, foolish. It has blinded its eyes, and stopped its ears. It lies like a leper in purple. It sits like a dead thing smeared with gold. It is all wrong, all wrong.
One can always tell from a woman's bonnet whether she has got a memory or not.
One can survive everything nowadays, except death, and live down anything except a good reputation.
One has never heard his name before in the whole course of one's life, which speaks volumes for a man, nowadays.
One must have some occupation nowadays. If I hadn't my debts I shouldn't have anything to think about.
One should always be in love. This is the reason one should never marry.
One should never take sides in anything. . . Taking sides is the beginning of sincerity and earnestness follows shortly afterwards, and the human being becomes a bore.
One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.
People nowadays are so absolutely superficial that they don't understand the philosophy of the superficial.
She certainly has a wonderful faculty of remembering people's names and forgetting their faces.
She has not touched the tambour frame for nine or ten years. But she has many other amusements. She is very much interested in her own health.
So much marriage is certainly not becoming. Twenty years of romance make a woman look like a ruin; but twenty years of marriage make her something like a public building.
The annoying thing is that the wretches can be perfectly happy without us. That is why I think it is every woman's duty never to leave them alone for a single moment, except during this short breathing space after dinner; without which, I believe, we poor women would be absolutely worn to shadows.
The basis of every scandal is an absolutely immoral certainty.
The English aristocracy supply us with our curiosities, Lady Caroline. They are sent over to us every summer, regularly, in the steamers, and propose to us the day after they land.
The English country gentleman galloping after a fox - the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.
The happiness of a married man. . . depends on the people he has not married.
The history of women is the history of the worst form of tyranny the world has ever known. The tyranny of the weak over the strong.
The Ideal Husband? There couldn't be such a thing. The institution is wrong.
The Ideal Man should talk to us as if we were goddesses, and treat us as if we were children. He should refuse all our serious requests, and gratify every one of our whims. He should encourage us to have caprices, and forbid us to have missions. He should always say much more than he means, and always mean much more than he says.
The intellect is not a serious thing, and never has been. It is an instrument on which one plays, that is all. The only serious form of intellect I know is the British intellect. And on the British intellect the illiterates play the drum.
The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.
The secret of life is never to have an emotion that is unbecoming.
The world has been made by fools that wise men should live in it!
The world is simply divided into two classes - those who believe the incredible, like the public - and those who do the improbable.
The world was made for men and not for women.
The youth of America is their oldest tradition. It has been going on now for three hundred years. To hear them talk one would imagine they were in their first childhood. As far as civilisation goes they are in their second.
There is nothing like youth. The middle-aged are mortgaged to Life. The old are in life's lumber-room.
To get into the best society, nowadays, one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people - that is all!
We in the House of Lords are never in touch with public opinion. That makes us a civilised body.
We women adore failures. They lean on us.
What a typical woman you are! You talk sentimentally and you are thoroughly selfish the whole time.
What is our son at present? An underpaid clerk in a small Provincial Bank in a third-rate English town.
When one is in love one begins by deceiving oneself. And one ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.
Women are a fascinatingly wilful sex. Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.
Women have become so highly educated... that nothing should surprise us nowadays, except happy marriages.
Women represent the triumph of matter over mind -just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.
You should never try to understand them. Women are pictures. Men are problems. If you want to know what a woman really means - which, by the way, is always a dangerous thing to do -look at her, don't listen to her.
You were the prettiest of playthings, the most fascinating of small romances.
You women live by your emotions and for them. You have no philosophy of life.
Young women of the present day seem to make it the sole object of their lives to be always playing with fire.

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