Friday, June 10, 2011

The Picture of Dorian Grey

These are my favorite quotes from the book by Oscar Wilde:

"If it was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that, I would give everything! Yes, there was nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!"

"There is no literary public in England for anything except newspapers, primers, encyclopedia. Of all people in the world, the English have the least sense of the beauty of literature."

"Nowadays people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing."

"Basil...puts everything that is charming in him into his work. The consequence is that he has nothing left for life is about his prejudices, his principles, and his common sense. The only artists that I have ever known, who are personally delightful, are bad artists. Good artists exist simply in what the make, and consequently are perfectly uninteresting in what they are. A great poet, a really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures. But 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. The others write the poetry that they dare not realize."

"Women defend themselves by attacking, just as they attack by sudden and strange surrenders."

"Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the nobelest motives."

"The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror. We think that we are generous because we credit our neighbor with the possession of those virtues that are likely to be a benefit to us. We praise the banker that we may overdraw our account...I have the greatest contempt for optimism."

"Yes, Dorian, you will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit."

"What the worm was to the corpse, his sins would be to the painted image on campus. They would mar its beauty, ad eat away its grace. They would defile it and make it shameful. And yet the thing would still live on. It would always be alive."

(Dorian): "I know how people chatter in England. The middle classes air their moral prejudices over their gross dinner tables, and whisper about what they call the profigacies of their betters in order to try and pretend that they are smart society, and on intimate terms with the people they slander. In this country it is enough for a man to have distinction and brains for every common tongue to wag against him. And what sort of lives do these people, who pose as being moral, lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native land of the hypocrite."

"How fond women are of doing dangerous things!" laughed Lord Henry. "It is one of the qualities in them that I admire most. A woman will flirt with anybody in the world as long as other people are looking on."

"Art has no influence upon action. It annihilates the desire to act. It is superbly sterile. The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. That is all."

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