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The Picture of Dorian Gray - The Insults of Oscar Wilde

... A dowdy girl, with one of those characteristic British faces, that, once seen are never remembered.
... A perfect saint amongst women, but so dreadfully dowdy that she reminded me of a badly bound hymn-book.
... Lady Ruxton, an overdressed woman of forty-seven, with a hooked nose, who was always trying to get herself compromised, but was so peculiarly plain that to her great disappointment no one would ever believe anything against her.
A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.
A wet Sunday, an uncouth Christian in a mackintosh, a ring of sickly white faces under a broken roof of umbrellas, and wonderful phrase flung into the air by shrill, hysterical lips. . .
A woman will flirt with anybody in the world as long as other people are looking on.
All crime is vulgar, just as vulgarity is crime.
American girls are as clever at concealing their parents as English women are at concealing their past.
Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there. That is the reason why people who live out of town are so absolutely uncivilised.
As a rule, people who act lead the most commonplace life.
As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.
Beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only the shallow people who do not judge by appearances.
Beer, the Bible, and the seven deadly virtues have made our England what she is.
Conscience and cowardice are really the same things. . . Conscience is the trade name of the firm. That is all.
Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders.
Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect - simply a confession of failure.
Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws. Their origin is pure vanity. Their result is absolutely nil. They give us, now and then, some of those luxurious emotions that have a certain charm for the weak.
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.
I always like to know everything about my new friends, and nothing about my old ones.
I am afraid that women appreciate cruelty, downright cruelty, more than anything else. They have wonderfully primitive instincts. We have emancipated them, but they remain slaves looking for their masters all the same. They love being dominated.
I am told that pork-packing is the most lucrative profession in America, after politics.
I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.
I can't help detesting my relations. I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.
I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
I hate vulgar realism in literature. The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for.
I like men who have a future, and women who have a past.
I like Wagner's music better than anybody's. It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without people hearing what one says.
I love scandals about other people, but scandals about myself don't interest me. They have not got the charm of novelty.
I never talk during music, at least during good music. If one hears bad music, it is one's duty to drown it in conversation.
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.
I trust you will return from Australia in a position of affluence. I believe there is no society of any kind in the Colonies, nothing that I would call society.
If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he knows is bad for him.
Inferior poets are absolutely fascinating. The worse their rhymes are, the more picturesque they look. The mere fact of having published a book of second-rate sonnets makes a man quite irresistible. He lives the poetry that he cannot write.
Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face.
It is only the intellectually lost who ever argue.
It is only the shallow people who require years to get rid of an emotion.
It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely true.
It is pure unadulterated country life. They get up early, because they have so much to do, and go to bed early because they have so little to think about.
It is the confession, not the priest that gives us absolution.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and is far the best ending for one.
Look at the successful men in any of the professions. How perfectly hideous they are! Except, of course, in the Church. But then in the Church they don't think. A bishop keeps on saying at the age of eighty what he was told to say when he was a boy of eighteen, and as a natural consequence he always looks absolutely delightful.
Modern morality consists in accepting the standard of one's age. I consider that for any man of culture to accept the standard of his age is a form of the grossest immorality.
Murder is always a mistake. . . One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.
Never trust a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may be, or a woman over thirty-five who is fond of pink ribbons. It always means that they have a history.
No life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested.
Nothing makes one so vain as being told that one is a sinner.
Oh, brothers! I don't care for brothers. My elder brother won't die, and my younger brothers seem never to do anything else.
One of those utterly tedious amusements one only finds at an English country house on an English country Sunday.
Ordinary women never appeal to one's imagination. They are limited to their century. No glamour ever transfigures them. One knows their minds as easily as one knows their bonnets.
'Religion?' 'The fashionable substitute for Belief
She is a peacock in everything but beauty.
She is still decolletee... and when she is in a very smart gown she looks like an edition de luxe of a bad French novel.
She was a curious woman, whose dresses always looked as if they had been designed in a rage and put on in a tempest.
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 British public are really not equal to the mental strain of having more than one topic every three months.
The costume of the nineteenth century is detestable. It is so sombre, so depressing. Sin is the only real colour-element left in modern life.
The husbands of very beautiful women belong to the criminal classes.
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 moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium.
The one charm of the past is that it is past. But women never know when the curtain has fallen. They always want a sixth act, and as soon as the interest in the play is entirely over they propose to continue it.
The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer.
The only horrible thing in the world is ennui. . . That is the one sin for which there is no forgiveness.
The only people to whose opinions I listen now with any respect are people much younger than myself.
The only way a woman can ever reform a man is by boring him so completely that he loses all possible interest in life.
The real draw-back to marriage is that it makes one unselfish. And unselfish people are colourless. They lack individuality.
The things one feels absolutely certain about are never true. That is the fatality of Faith, and the lesson of Romance.
The worst of having a romance of any kind is that it leaves one so unromantic.
There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.
There is hardly a single person in the House of Commons worth painting; though many of them would be better for a little whitewashing.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love; it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming.
To get back my youth I-would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.
We all take such pains to over-educate ourselves. In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place.
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.
We live in an age that reads too much to be wise, and that thinks too much to be beautiful.
We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.
Well, I found myself seated in a horrid little private box, with a vulgar drop-scene staring me in the face. I looked out from behind the curtain, and surveyed the house. It was a tawdry affair, all Cupids and cornucopias, like a third-rate wedding cake.
When a woman marries again it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.
Women have no appreciation of good looks; at least, good women have not.
Women, as some witty Frenchman once put it, inspire us with the desire to do masterpieces, and always prevent us from carrying them out.
You seem to forget that I am married, and the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.
Young men want to be faithful, and are not; old men want to be faithless, and cannot.

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