Life & Culture

The Ten Shadiest Reads of Oscar Wilde

On what would have been his 163rd birthday, we round-up the writer’s best insults

  • TextAnother Man

Oscar Wilde once said that a gentleman never insults anyone unintentionally. In his writings, and in person, Wilde insulted people intentionally and he did so extremely well. So, in addition to an imaginary conversation between him and American musician Frank Zappa from the A/W12 issue of Another Man, we’ve brought together his ten shadiest reads to celebrate his birthday; put-downs that prove he was a true master in the art of the insult.

1. “Yes; she is a peacock in everything but beauty.” (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

2. “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” (The Duchess of Padua)

3. “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.”

4. “To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune, Mr Worthing, to lose both looks like carelessness.” (The Importance Of Being Earnest)

5. “There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.” (On Alexander Pope)

6. “It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without people hearing what one says. That is a great advantage, don’t you think so?” (On Richard Wagner’s music)

7. “The simplicity of your character makes you exquisitely incomprehensible to me.” (The Importance Of Being Earnest)

8. “I never saw anybody take so long to dress, and with such little result.” (The Importance Of Being Earnest)

9. “What are you now? A third-rate actress with a pretty face.” (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

10. “He is really not so ugly after all, provided, of course, that one shuts one's eyes, and does not look at him.” (A House of Pomegranates)

Head here for more Quotes of Note.