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The Decay of Lying - The Insults of Oscar Wilde

Ah! Meredith! Who can define him? His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning. As a writer he has mastered everything except language: as a novelist he can do anything, except tell a story: as an artist he is everything, except articulate.
All bad art comes from returning to Life and Nature, and elevating them into ideals.
Art never expresses anything but itself.
As a method Realism is a complete failure, and the two things that every artist should avoid are modernity of form and modernity of subject-matter.
As for that great and daily increasing school of novelists for whom the sun always rises in the East-End, the only thing that can be said about them is that they find life crude, and leave it raw.
As for the Church, I cannot conceive anything better for the culture of a country than the presence in it of a body of men whose duty it is to believe in the supernatural, to perform miracles, and to keep alive that mythopoeic faculty which is so essential for the imagination.
As for the infinite variety of Nature, that is a pure myth. It is not to be found in Nature herself. It resides in the imagination, or fancy, or cultivated blindness of the man who looks at her.
As one turns over the pages the suspense of the author becomes almost unbearable.
Bored by the tedious and improving conversation of those who have neither the wit to exaggerate nor the genius to romance...
Egotism itself, which is so necessary to a proper sense of dignity, is entirely the result of indoor life. Out of doors one becomes abstract and impersonal.
For what is Truth? In matters of religion, it is simply the opinion that has survived.
Grass is hard and lumpy and damp, and full of dreadful black insects. Why, even Morris' poorest workman could make you a more comfortable seat than the whole of Nature can.
I am afraid that we are beginning to be over-educated; at least everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching -that is really what our enthusiasm for education has come to.
I quite admit that modern novels have many good points. All I insist on is that, as a class, they are quite unreadable.
If Nature had been comfortable, mankind would never have invented architecture, and I prefer houses to the open air.
In a very ugly and sensible age, the arts borrow, not from life, but from each other.
In modern days... the fashion of writing poetry has become far too common, and should, if possible, be discouraged.
In the English Church a man succeeds, not through his capacity for belief, but through his capacity for disbelief. Ours is the only Church where the sceptic stands at the altar, and where St. Thomas is regarded as the ideal apostle.
Lying and poetry are arts - arts, as Plato saw, not unconnected with each other - and they require the most careful study, the most disinterested devotion.
Lying for the sake of a monthly salary is of course well-known in Fleet Street, and the profession of a political leader-writer is not without its advantages. But it is said to be a somewhat dull occupation, and it certainly does not lead to much beyond a kind of ostentatious obscurity.
Lying for the sake of the improvement of the young, which is the basis of home education, still lingers amongst us.
Man can believe the impossible, but man can never believe the improbable.
Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty, and wastes upon mean motives and imperceptible 'points of view' his neat literary style, his felicitous phrases, his swift and caustic satire.
Mr. James Payn is an adept in the art of concealing what is not worth finding. He hunts down the obvious with the enthusiasm of a short-sighted detective.
Mr. Marion Crawford has immolated himself upon the altar of local colour. . . he has fallen into a bad habit of uttering moral platitudes. He is always telling us that to be good is to be good, and that to be bad is to be wicked. At times he is almost edifying.
Nature has good intentions, of course, but, as Aristotle once said, she cannot carry them out.
The actual people who live in Japan are not unlike the general run of English people; that is to say, they are extremely commonplace, and have nothing curious or extraordinary about them.
The more one analyses people, the more all reasons for analysis disappear.
Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease. Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching.
This unfortunate aphorism about Art holding the mirror up to Nature is deliberately said by Hamlet in order to convince the bystanders of his absolute insanity in all art-matters.
To have a style so gorgeous that it conceals the subject is one of the highest achievements of an important and much admired school of Fleet Street leader-writers.
We don't want to be harrowed and disgusted with an account of the doings of the lower orders.
What Art really reveals to us is Nature's lack of design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary monotony, her absolutely unfinished condition.
What is interesting about people in good Society is the mask that each one of them wears, not the reality that lies behind the mask.

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