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High Society - The Insults of Oscar Wilde

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.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
All charming people, I fancy, are spoiled. It is the secret of their attraction.
THE PORTRAIT OF MR. W.H.
And now you must run away, for I am dining with some very dull people, who won't talk scandal, and I know that if I don't get my sleep now I shall never be able to keep awake during dinner.
LORD ARTHUR SAVILE'S CRIME
Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everybody in good society holds exactly the same opinions.
THE REMARKABLE ROCKET
Can't make out how you stand London Society. The thing has gone to the dogs, a lot of damned nobodies talking about nothing.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Charming ball it has been! Quite reminds me of old days. And I see that there are just as many fools in society as there used to be. So pleased to find that nothing has altered!
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Exercise! The only possible form of exercise is to talk, not walk.
INTERVIEW FOR The Sketch
Good people exasperate one's reason, bad people stir one's imagination.
DEFENCE OF DORIAN GRAY
Hester: I dislike London dinner-parties.
Mrs. Allonby: I adore them. The clever people never listen, and the stupid people never talk.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
I always like the last person who is introduced to me; but, as a rule, as soon as I know people I get tired of them.
LORD ARTHUR SAVILE'S CRIME
I have always had grave suspicions that the basis of all literary cliques is a morbid love of meat teas. That makes them sadly uncivilised.
INTERVIEW FOR The Sketch
I love scandals about other people, but scandals about myself don't interest me. They have not got the charm of novelty.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
If it were not for the running-ground at Eton, the towing-path at Oxford, the Thames swimming baths, and the yearly circuses, humanity would forget the plastic perfection of its own form, and degenerate into a race of short-sighted professors, and spectacled predeuses!
LONDON MODELS
If there was less sympathy in the world there would be less trouble in the world.
DE PROFUNDIS
If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
In literature mere egotism is delightful. . . Even in actual life egotism is not without its attractions. When people talk to us about others they are usually dull. When they talk to us about themselves they are nearly always interesting, and if one could shut them up, when they become wearisome, as easily as one can shut up a book of which one has grown wearied, they would be perfect absolutely.
THE CRITIC AS ARTIST
It is absurd to divide people into good or bad. People are either charming or tedious.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
It is my last reception, and one wants something that will encourage conversation, particularly at the end of the season when everyone has practically said whatever they had to say, which, in most cases, was probably not much.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely true.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
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.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Lord Goring: Too much experience is a dangerous thing. Pray have a cigarette. Half the pretty women in London smoke cigarettes. Personally I prefer the other half.
Mrs. Cheveley: Thanks. I never smoke. My dressmaker wouldn't like it, and a woman's first duty is to her dressmaker, isn't it? What the second duty is, no one has as yet discovered.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their life a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
DE PROFUNDIS
Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only people who can't get into it do that.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Nothing is so dangerous as being too modern. One is apt to grow old-fashioned quite suddenly.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Oh! I don't care about the London season! It is too matrimonial. People are either hunting for husbands, or hiding from them.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
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.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Oh, I love London Society! I think it has immensely improved. It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what Society should be.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Oh, I should fancy Mrs. Cheveley is one of those very modern women of our time who find a new scandal as becoming as a new bonnet, and air them both in the Park every afternoon at five-thirty.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
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.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
One has never heard his name before in the whole course of one's life, which speaks volumes for a man, nowadays.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
One is sure to be disappointed if one tries to get romance out of modern life.
VERA, OR THE NIHILISTS
People nowadays are so absolutely superficial that they don't understand the philosophy of the superficial.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.
THE CRITIC AS ARTIST
Society takes upon itself the right to inflict appalling punishments on the individual, but it also has the supreme vice of shallowness, and fails to realise what it has done.
DE PROFUNDIS
Society, civilised society at least, is never very ready to believe anything to the detriment of those who are both rich and fascinating. It feels instinctively that manners are of more importance than morals, and, in its opinion, the highest respectability is of much less value than the possession of a good chef.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
The artist is always the munificent patron of the public. I am very fond of the public, and, personally, I always patronise the public very much.
INTERVIEW FOR The Sketch
The fact is that our Society is terribly over-populated. Really some one should arrange a proper scheme of assisted emigration. It would do a great deal of good.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
The more one analyses people, the more all reasons for analysis disappear.
THE DECAY OF LYING
The public has always, and in every age, been badly brought up.
THE SOUL OF MAN UNDER SOCIALISM
The security of Society lies in custom and unconscious instinct, and the basis of the stability of Society, as a healthy organism, is the complete absence of any intelligence amongst its members.
THE CRITIC AS ARTIST
There is no reason why a man should show his life to the world. The world does not understand things.
DE PROFUNDIS
There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
There is the same world for all of us, and good and evil, sin and innocence, go through it hand in hand.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
They drove me out to see the great prisons afterwards! Poor odd types of humanity in hideous striped dresses making bricks in the sun, and all mean-looking, which consoled me, for I should hate to see a criminal with a noble face.
LETTER TO HELENA SICKERT
To get into the best society, nowadays, one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people - that is all!
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
We live in the age of the over-worked, and under-educated; the age in which people are so industrious that they become absolutely stupid.
THE CRITIC AS ARTIST
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.
THE DECAY OF LYING
Whenever people agree with me, I always feel I must be wrong.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Yes, the public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.
THE CRITIC AS ARTIST

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