Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was Irish. As we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this weekend I would like to posit that his witty and wise words belong to lovers of great literature everywhere.

He was a playwright, novelist, essayist and poet. His works offer something for everyone.

He was born in 1854 and he died in 1900. He is buried in Paris.

My favorite work of Oscar Wilde’s is his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. The tale of youth and corruption was condemned as immoral by his Victorian critics.

Some of the most quotable passages from the novel include:

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”

“To define is to limit.”

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”

“Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is by far the best ending for one.”

“Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.”

Near the end of his life Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for homosexuality. He died penniless a few years later in France but like all great writers he lives on in the works he left behind.

The official Oscar Wilde website is: www.cmgww.com/historic/wilde/

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