Intentions

Displaying 1 - 36 of 36
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
There is no mode of action, no form of emotion, that we do not share with the lower animals. It is only by language that we rise above them, or above each other—by language, which is the parent, and not the child, of thought. Action, indeed, is always easy, and when presented to us in its most aggravated, because most continuous form, which I take to be that of real industry, becomes simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatsoever to do.
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
So much, indeed, will he feel this, that I am certain that, as civilisation progresses and we become more highly organised, the elect spirits of each age, the critical and cultured spirits, will grow less and less interested in actual life, and will seek to gain their impressions almost entirely from what Art has touched. For life is terribly deficient in form. Its catastrophes happen in the wrong way and to the wrong people. There is a grotesque horror about its comedies, and its tragedies seem to culminate in farce. One is always wounded when one approaches it.
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
They knew that Life gains from art not merely spirituality, depth of thought and feeling, soul-turmoil or soul-peace, but that she can form herself on the very lines and colours of art, and can reproduce the dignity of Pheidias as well as the grace of Praxiteles. Hence came their objection to realism. They disliked it on purely social grounds. They felt that it inevitably makes people ugly, and they were perfectly right. We try to improve the conditions of the race by means of good air, free sunlight, wholesome water, and hideous bare buildings for the better housing of the ...
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Believe me, my dear Cyril, modernity of form and modernity of subject-matter are entirely and absolutely wrong. We have mistaken the common livery of the age for the vesture of the Muses, and spend our days in the sordid streets and hideous suburbs of our vile cities when we should be out on the hillside with Apollo. Certainly we are a degraded race, and have sold our birthright for a mess of facts.
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
Bad artists always admire each other's work. They call it being large-minded and free from prejudice. But a truly great artist cannot conceive of life being shown, or beauty fashioned, under any conditions other than those that he has selected.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
All bad art comes from returning to Life and Nature, and elevating them into ideals.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
But some one should teach them that while, in the opinion of society, Contemplation is the gravest sin of which any citizen can be guilty, in the opinion of the highest culture it is the proper occupation of man.
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
Goethe--you will not misunderstand what I say--was a German of the Germans. He loved his country--no man more so. Its people were dear to him; and he led them. Yet, when the iron hoof of Napoleon trampled upon vineyard and cornfield, his lips were silent. 'How can one write songs of hatred without hating?' he said to Eckermann, 'and how could I, to whom culture and barbarism are alone of importance, hate a nation which is among the most cultivated of the earth and to which I owe so great a part of my own cultivation?' This note, sounded in ...
Category: Note
Gilbert . It seems to me that with the development of the critical spirit we shall be able to realise, not merely our own lives, but the collective life of the race, and so to make ourselves absolutely modern, in the true meaning of the word modernity. For he to whom the present is the only thing that is present, knows nothing of the age in which he lives. To realise the nineteenth century, one must realise every century that has preceded it and that has contributed to its making. To know anything about oneself one must know all about ...
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
I said to you some time ago that it was far more difficult to talk about a thing than to do it. Let me say to you now that to do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.
Category: Quotation
Author: 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.
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
But perhaps you think that in beholding for the mere joy of beholding, and contemplating for the sake of contemplation, there is something that is egotistic. If you think so, do not say so. It takes a thoroughly selfish age, like our own, to deify self-sacrifice. It takes a thoroughly grasping age, such as that in which we live, to set above the fine intellectual virtues, those shallow and emotional virtues that are an immediate practical benefit to itself. They miss their aim, too, these philanthropists and sentimentalists of our day, who are always chattering to one about one’s duty ...
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
Enjoy Nature! I am glad to say that I have entirely lost that faculty. People tell us that Art makes us love Nature more than we loved her before; that it reveals her secrets to us; and that after a careful study of Corot and Constable we see things in her that had escaped our observation. My own experience is that the more we study Art, the less we care for Nature. What Art really reveals to us is Nature’s lack of design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary monotony, her absolutely unfinished condition. Nature has good intentions, of course, but, ...
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
Facts are not merely finding a footing-place in history, but they are usurping the domain of Fancy, and have invaded the kingdom of Romance. Their chilling touch is over everything. They are vulgarising mankind.
Category: Note
For emotion for the sake of emotion is the aim of art, and emotion for the sake of action is the aim of life, and of that practical organisation of life that we call society. Society, which is the beginning and basis of morals, exists simply for the concentration of human energy, and in order to ensure its own continuance and healthy stability it demands, and no doubt rightly demands, of each of its citizens that he should contribute some form of productive labour to the common weal, and toil and travail that the day’s work may be done.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
We live in the age of the overworked, and the under-educated; the age in which people are so industrious that they become absolutely stupid.
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
It is to do nothing that the elect exist. Action is limited and relative. Unlimited and absolute is the vision of him who sits at ease and watches, who walks in loneliness and dreams.
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
Of the three qualifications you mentioned, two, sincerity and fairness, were, if not actually moral, at least on the borderland of morals, and the first condition of criticism is that the critic should be able to recognise that the sphere of Art and the sphere of Ethics are absolutely distinct and separate. When they are confused, Chaos has come again. They are too often confused in England now, and though our modern Puritans cannot destroy a beautiful thing, yet, by means of their extraordinary prurience, they can almost taint beauty for a moment. It is chiefly, I regret to say, ...
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob.
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
Life! Life! Don’t let us go to life for our fulfilment or our experience. It is a thing narrowed by circumstances, incoherent in its utterance, and without that fine correspondence of form and spirit which is the only thing that can satisfy the artistic and critical temperament. It makes us pay too high a price for its wares, and we purchase the meanest of its secrets at a cost that is monstrous and infinite.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
Pure modernity of form is always somewhat vulgarising. It cannot help being so. The public imagine that, because they are interested in their immediate surroundings, Art should be interested in them also, and should take them as her subject-matter. But the mere fact that they are interested in these things makes them unsuitable subjects for Art. The only beautiful things, as somebody once said, are the things that do not concern us. As long as a thing is useful or necessary to us, or affects us in any way, either for pain or for pleasure, or appeals strongly to our ...
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
Don’t let us go to life for our fulfilment or our experience. It is a thing narrowed by circumstances, incoherent in its utterance, and without that fine correspondence of form and spirit which is the only thing that can satisfy the artistic and critical temperament. It makes us pay too high a price for its wares, and we purchase the meanest of its secrets at a cost that is monstrous and infinite.
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
If Nature had been comfortable, mankind would never have invented architecture, and I prefer houses to the open air. In a house we all feel of the proper proportions. Everything is subordinated to us, fashioned for our use and our pleasure. Egotism itself, which is so necessary to a proper sense of human dignity, is entirely the result of indoor life. Out of doors one becomes abstract and impersonal. One’s individuality absolutely leaves one. And then Nature is so indifferent, so unappreciative.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Besides, it is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned. M. Zola sits down to give us a picture of the Second Empire. Who cares for the Second Empire now? It is out of date. Life goes faster than Realism, but Romanticism is always in front of Life.
Category: Philosophy
Author: Oscar Wilde
A study in green. It has constantly been made a subject of reproach against artists and men of letters that they are lacking in wholeness and completeness of nature. As a rule this must necessarily be so. That very concentration of vision and intensity of purpose which is the characteristic of the artistic temperament is in itself a mode of limitation. To those who are preoccupied with the beauty of form nothing else seems of much importance. Yet there are many exceptions to this rule. Rubens served as ambassador, and Goethe as state councillor, and Milton as Latin secretary to ...
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
For the development of the race depends on the development of the individual, and where self-culture has ceased to be the ideal, the intellectual standard is instantly lowered, and, often, ultimately lost.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
To arrive at what one really believes, one must speak through lips different from one’s own.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
In all unimportant matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential. In all important matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
For there is no art where there is no style, and no style where there is no unity, and unity is of the individual. ~ The Critic as an Artist, Part I
Category: Philosophy
Author: Oscar Wilde
With some remarks upon the importance of doing nothing. A DIALOGUE . Part I. Persons : Gilbert and Ernest . Scene : the library of a house in Piccadilly , overlooking the Green Park Gilbert ( at the Piano ). My dear Ernest, what are you laughing at? Ernest ( looking up ). At a capital story that I have just come across in this volume of Reminiscences that I have found on your table. Gilbert . What is the book? Ah! I see. I have not read it yet. Is it good? Ernest . Well, while you have been ...
Category: Philosophy
Author: Oscar Wilde
With some remarks on the importance of discussing everything. A DIALOGUE : Part II. Persons : the same . Scene : the same . Ernest . The ortolans were delightful, and the Chambertin perfect, and now let us return to the point at issue. Gilbert . Ah! don’t let us do that. Conversation should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing. Let us talk about Moral Indignation , its Cause and Cure , a subject on which I think of writing: or about The Survival of Thersites , as shown by the English comic papers; or about any topic ...
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
Society sooner or later must return to its lost leader, the cultured and fascinating liar. Who he was who first, without ever having gone out to the rude chase, told the wandering cavemen at sunset how he had dragged the Megatherium from the purple darkness of its jasper cave, or slain the Mammoth in single combat and brought back its gilded tusks, we cannot tell, and not one of our modern anthropologists, for all their much-boasted science, has had the ordinary courage to tell us. Whatever was his name or race, he certainly was the true founder of social intercourse. ...
Category: Philosophy
Author: Oscar Wilde
An observation A DIALOGUE . Persons : Cyril and Vivian . Scene : the Library of a country house in Nottinghamshire . Cyril ( coming in through the open window from the terrace ). My dear Vivian, don’t coop yourself up all day in the library. It is a perfectly lovely afternoon. The air is exquisite. There is a mist upon the woods, like the purple bloom upon a plum. Let us go and lie on the grass and smoke cigarettes and enjoy Nature. Vivian. Enjoy Nature! I am glad to say that I have entirely lost that faculty. People ...
Category: Philosophy
Author: Oscar Wilde
A note on illusion. In many of the somewhat violent attacks that have recently been made on that splendour of mounting which now characterises our Shakespearian revivals in England, it seems to have been tacitly assumed by the critics that Shakespeare himself was more or less indifferent to the costumes of his actors, and that, could he see Mrs. Langtry’s production of Antony and Cleopatra , he would probably say that the play, and the play only, is the thing, and that everything else is leather and prunella. While, as regards any historical accuracy in dress, Lord Lytton, in an ...
Category: Note
Author: Oscar Wilde
It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection; through Art, and through Art only, that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence. This results not merely from the fact that nothing that one can imagine is worth doing, and that one can imagine everything, but from the subtle law that emotional forces, like the forces of the physical sphere, are limited in extent and energy.