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Low Society - The Insults of Oscar Wilde

Ah! How I loathe the Romans! They are rough and common, and they give themselves the airs of noble lords.
SALOME
All that one should know about modern life is where the Duchesses are; anything else is quite demoralising.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
As for the virtuous poor, one can pity them, of course, but one cannot possibly admire them.
THE SOUL OF MAN UNDER SOCIALISM
Believe me, Prince, in a good democracy, every man should be an aristocrat: but these people in Russia who seek to thrust us out are no better than the animals in one's preserves, and made to be shot at, most of them.
VERA, OR THE NIHILISTS
But birds and lizards have no sense of repose and indeed birds have not even a permanent address. They are mere vagrants like the gypsies, and should be treated in exactly the same manner.
THE BIRTHDAY OF THE INFANTA
Cecily: This is no time for wearing the shallow mask of manners. When I see a spade I call it a spade.
Gwendolen: I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade. It is obvious that our social spheres have been widely different.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
'Common sense, indeed!' said the Rocket indignantly; 'you forget that I am very uncommon, and very remarkable.'
THE REMARKABLE ROCKET
Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
Gardenias and the peerage were his only weaknesses.
THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
Half-past six! What an hour! It will be like having a meat-tea, or reading an English novel. It must be seven. No gentleman dines before seven.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
I am glad that she has gone. . . she has a decidedly middle-class mind.
THE REMARKABLE ROCKET
I am not at all in favour of amusements for the poor, Jane. Blankets and coal are sufficient.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
I am sure, Lord Illingworth, you don't think that uneducated people should be allowed to have votes?
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
I don't think that Lord Crediton cared very much for Cyril. He had never forgiven his daughter for marrying a man who had no title. He was an extraordinary old aristocrat, who swore like a costermonger, and had the manners of a farmer.
THE PORTRAIT OF MR. W.H.
I know myself that, when I am coming back from the Drawing room, I always feel as if I hadn't a shred on me, except a small shred of decent reputation, just enough to prevent the lower classes making painful observations through the windows of the carriage.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
I quite sympathise with the rage of the English democracy against what they call the vices of the upper orders. The masses feel that drunkenness, stupidity and immorality should be their own special property and that if anyone of us makes an ass of himself he is poaching on their preserves.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
I saw the governess, Jane. . . She was far too good-looking to be in any respectable household.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
I would much sooner talk scandal in the drawing-room than treason in a cellar. Besides, I hate the common mob, who smell of garlic, smoke bad tobacco, get up early, and dine off one dish.
VERA, OR THE NIHILISTS
If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he knows is bad for him.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
If the poor only had profiles there would be no difficulty in solving the problem of poverty.
PHRASES AND PHILOSOPHIES FOR THE USE OF THE YOUNG
In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvellous infinity of rights that his father never dreamed of.
VERA, OR THE NIHILISTS
It is a sad fact, but there is no doubt that the poor are completely unconscious of their own picturesqueness.
LONDON MODELS
It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.
PHRASES AND PHILOSOPHIES FOR THE USE OF THE YOUNG
Lady Basildon: Ah! I hate being educated!
Mrs. Marchmont: So do I. It puts one almost on a level with the commercial classes, doesn't it?
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
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.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Lord Goring: Extraordinary thing about the lower classes in England - they are always losing their relations.
Phipps: Yes, my lord! They are extremely fortunate in that respect.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
'Poor old chap!' said Hughie, 'how miserable he looks! But I suppose to you painters, his face is his fortune?' 'Certainly,' replied Trevor, 'you don't want a beggar to look happy, do you?'
THE MODEL MILLIONAIRE
Really, if the lower orders don't set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Since the introduction of printing, and the fatal development of the habit of reading amongst the middle and lower classes of this country, there has been a tendency in literature to appeal more and more to the eye, and less and less to the ear.
THE CRITIC AS ARTIST
The Cantervilles have blue blood, for instance, the very bluest in England; but I know you Americans don't care for things of this kind.
THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
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.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
The husbands of very beautiful women belong to the criminal classes.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
The impulse of the Irish literature of their time came from a class that did not - mainly for political reasons - take the populace seriously, and imagined the country as a humorist's Arcadia. . . What they did was not wholly false, they merely magnified an irresponsible type, found oftenest among boatmen, carmen, and gentlemen's servants, into the type of a whole nation, and created the stage-Irishman
YEATS's FAIRY AND FOLK TALES
The middle classes air their moral prejudices over their gross dinner-tables, and whisper about what they call the profligacies of their betters in order to try and pretend that they are in smart society, and on intimate terms with the people they slander.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
The Philistine element in life is not the failure to understand Art. Charming people such as fishermen, shepherds, ploughboys, peasants and the like know nothing about Art, and are the very salt of the earth.
DE PROFUNDIS
The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.
PHRASES AND PHILOSOPHIES FOR THE USE OF THE YOUNG
The world is simply divided into two classes - those who believe the incredible, like the public - and those who do the improbable.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
There are the poor, and amongst them there is no grace of manner, or charm of speech, or civilisation, or culture, or refinement in pleasures, or joy of life.
THE SOUL OF MAN UNDER SOCIALISM
There is always more books than brains in an aristocracy.
VERA, OR THE NIHILISTS
There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor.
THE SOUL OF MAN UNDER SOCIALISM
Three addresses always inspire confidence, even in tradesmen.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
To be born, or at any rate bred, in a hand-bag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
To be good, according to the vulgar standard of goodness, is obviously quite easy. It merely requires a certain amount of sordid terror, a certain lack of imaginative thought, and a certain low passion for middle-class respectability.
THE ARTIST AS CRITIC
We don't want to be harrowed and disgusted with an account of the doings of the lower orders.
THE DECAY OF LYING
What is our son at present? An underpaid clerk in a small Provincial Bank in a third-rate English town.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
When Jesus talks about the poor he simply means personalities, just as when he talks about the rich he simply means people who have not developed their personalities.
THE SOUL OF MAN UNDER SOCIALISM
With a proper background women can do anything.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN

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