A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the Over-Educated

by Oscar Wilde

 

  • Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
  • Public opinion exists only where there are no ideas.
  • The English are always degrading truths into facts. When a truth becomes a fact it loses all its intellectual value.
  • It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.
  • The only link between Literature and Drama left to us in England at the present moment is the bill of the play.
  • In old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public. Nowadays books are written by the public and read by nobody.
  • Most women are so artificial that they have no sense of Art. Most men are so natural that they have no sense of Beauty.
  • Friendship is far more tragic than love. It lasts longer.
  • What is abnormal in Life stands in normal relations to Art. It is the only thing in Life that stands in normal relations to Art.
  • A subject that is beautiful in itself gives no suggestion to the artist. It lacks imperfection.
  • The only thing that the artist cannot see is the obvious. The only thing that the public can see is the obvious. The result is the Criticism of the Journalist.
  • Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious.
  • To be really medieval one should have no body. To be really modern one should have no soul. To be really Greek one should have no clothes.
  • Dandyism is the assertion of the absolute modernity of Beauty.
  • The only thing that can console one for being poor is extravagance. The only thing that can console one for being rich is economy.
  • One should never listen. To listen is a sign of indifference to one’s hearers.
  • Even the disciple has his uses. He stands behind one’s throne, and at the moment of one’s triumph whispers in one’s ear that, after all, one is immortal.
  • The criminal classes are so close to us that even the policemen can see them. They are so far away from us that only the poet can understand them.
  • Those whom the gods love grow young.
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