Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism


Oscar Wilde is pleasant. I thought maybe I had just first read him at an impressionable time in my life, but I was right back there with him as soon as I opened the book. Wilde wants to create a society that is most favorable to artists. He things art is the surpreme end and wants to create conditions most open to its creation. He is so outrageously quotable. I highlighted whole pages, and what am I supposed to do with that? I’ll post a few quotes below. I'm not sure if there is anyone else I can think of where every single sentence is so quotable.

“Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue.”

“One regret is that we should construct society on such a basis that man has been forced into a groove in which he cannot freely develop what is lovely, fascinating, and delightful in him—in which he misses the true pleasure and joy of living.”

“And so he who would lead a Christlike life is he who is perfectly and absolutely himself. He may be a great poet, or a great man of science; or a young student at a University, or one who watches sheep upon a moor; or a maker of dramas, like Shakespeare, or a thinker about God, like Spinoza; or a child who plays in a garden, or a fisherman who throws his net into the sea. It does not matter what he is, as long as he realises the perfection of the soul that is within him.”

“All imitation in morals and in life is wrong.”

“As one reads history, not in the expurgated editions written for school-boys and passmen, but in the original authorities of each time, one is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted;”

“Starvation, and not sin, is the parent of modern crime. That indeed is the reason why our criminals are, as a class, so absolutely uninteresting from any psychological point of view. They are not marvellous Macbeths and terrible Vautrins.”

“Indeed, the moment that an artist takes notice of what other people want, and tries to supply the demand, he ceases to be an artist, and becomes a dull or an amusing craftsman, an honest or a dishonest tradesman.”

“In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever.”