“I can resist everything except temptation” and other famous quotes from Oscar Wilde’s play “Lady Windermere’s Fan”…

In 1892, Oscar Wilde was near the peak of his fame. He had already gained international renown as a poet, essayist and wit. His novel The Picture of Dorian Gray — first serialized in Lippincott’s Magazine 1890, then published in book form in 1891 — was highly popular. Then, in 1892, he enjoyed his first … Read more

“I have nothing to declare except my genius” – the famous Oscar Wilde quip that he probably didn’t say…

On January 3, 1882, the Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde disembarked from the ship that brought him from England to New York. It was the beginning of what would be a high-profile, 11-month-long speaking tour of America and Canada. As noted by the definitive website about that tour, Oscar Wilde in America, the ship … Read more

“How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?”

The phrase “beautiful people” had been used prior to the 1960s. For example, in Oscar Wilde’s play An Ideal Husband, a social comedy first performed in 1895, one of the characters says at a gathering of high society partygoers: “I like looking at geniuses, and listening to beautiful people.” And, in 1941, William Saroyan titled … Read more

“Each man kills the thing he loves.” (Sometimes with a straight razor.)

On February 13, 1898, the first edition of Oscar Wilde’s now famous poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” was published in London by publisher Leonard Smithers. Those initial copies of the slim volume of poesy did not mention Wilde’s name. The author was given as “C.3.3.,” a reference to Wilde’s cell number while he was … Read more