10 Great Quotes from Oscar Wilde

Perhaps ‘Oscar Wilde’ and ‘quotes’ is a marriage made in literary heaven. He is eminently quotable, which has made choosing Oscar Wilde’s ten best quotes that much more difficult. Difficult, but fun. After looking through the literary library here at Interesting Literature we can now bring you our ten favourite Wildean one-liners!

I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying. – ‘The Remarkable Rocket’

The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame. – The Picture of Dorian Gray

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. – ‘A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the Over-Educated’

Hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do. – ‘The Remarkable Rocket’

The final mystery is oneself. When one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens star by star, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul? – De Profundis


No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. – ‘The Decay of Lying’

When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers. – An Ideal Husband

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. – ‘The Critic as Artist’

I love acting. It is so much more real than life. – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. – De Profundis

If you enjoyed this pick of ten of Oscar Wilde’s best quotations, you might also enjoy these funny Oscar Wilde anecdotes.

Image: Oscar Wilde (author: anonymous), Wikimedia Commons, public domain.


  1. Happy birthday, Oscar! Some of the finest quotes in all literature come from this super chap. Thank you for sharing :)

  2. Great reading there, thanks for sharing!

  3. Oscar Wilde’s quotations often appear to be throw-away lines, clever and funny, but on closer inspection they bite! Thank you, I really enjoy your posts.

  4. Great compilation!

  5. Wonderful quotes! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Reblogged this on 1WriteWay and commented:
    Some truly interesting quotes from one of the most interesting writers in history: Oscar Wilde. Part of one of his quotes listed on Interesting Literature resonates with me: “Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?” What about you?

  7. What a great mind lay behind those quotes

  8. Austin Starr

    what a treat! thanks for posting. Oscar Wilde is in some divine place that’s beyond sardonic. Two of my faves are: ‘Consistency is the refuge of small minds’ and, esp, ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’ He was a truly heroic person who was horribly persecuted and ended his life in abject poverty, alone and seemingly forgotten. Long Live Oscar Wilde!

  9. Reblogged this on J.P. Hern and commented:
    I’m honor of Oscar Wilde

  10. Gosh, how did you keep it down to only ten? Did you leave out quotations from The Importance of Being Earnest on purpose? That probably helped! Always glad to have a little Wildean wit in my day, thank you!

  11. Reblogged this on Hayden Thorne and commented:
    Happy birthday, Oscar Wilde! :) Oh, those good old golden days of litslash and The Picture of Dorian Gray fanfic…

  12. You gotta love Oscar Wilde quotes. The craziest comments even he didn’t take seriously are always treated with such reverence and gravity. It’s a century-old running joke that I’m sure he’d still find hilarious. :)

  13. ‘Anyone can be a staircase wit if you have legs for it; but to deflate a stuffed shirt you have got to have brains’.

  14. An amazing man with a sad end. Thanks IL, and thanks Oscar, for giving such pleasure to so many.

  15. Reblogged this on Olga Godim writing and commented:
    Smart man, Oscar Wilde.

  16. Reblogged this on pattytmitchell and commented:
    Meant to sent this to you all yesterday. So while the birthday wishes are belated the words are without age. Enjoy!

  17. Pingback: Oscar Wilde said… | Olga Godim writing

  18. Great post! Happy Birthday Oscar, my favourite writer.
    It must have been hard choosing just ten- a personal favourite is ‘a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight’

  19. “Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.”

    Ha! Couldn’t resist. Great post.

  20. Reblogged this on Old Road Apples and commented:
    I’m a day late on Oscar WIlde’s birthday, but I’m getting battered by his quotes tonight–on my facebook, via email. and now I find this blog entry. Not that I’m complaining.

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  22. Reblogged this on ODYSSEY OF LOVE.

  23. Reblogged this on HELENA WHO. .

  24. Such a witty fellow. I also collected some of his wit here:

    Please, check it out and let me know what you think!

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  27. Thanks for sharing. I especially like quote number 2. Kevin

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