📓 Highlights: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

  • There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. p7

  • All art is quite useless. p8

  • ‘Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one. p15

  • ‘It is a sad thing to think of, but there is no doubt that Genius lasts longer than Beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves. In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place. The thoroughly well-informed man—that is the modern ideal. And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-à-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value. p19

  • ‘It is the problem of slavery, and we try to solve it by amusing the slaves.’ p45

  • I never talk during music - at least, during good music. If one hears bad music, it is one’s duty to drown it in conversation. p50

  • Basil, my dear boy, puts everything that is charming in him into his work. The consequence is that he has nothing left for life but his prejudices, his principles, and his common sense. The only artists I have ever known, who are personally delightful, are bad artists. Good artists exist simply in what they 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.’ p60

  • ‘Pleasure is the only thing worth having a theory about;’ he answered, in his slow, melodious voice. ‘But I am afraid I cannot claim my theory as my own. It belongs to Nature, not to me. Pleasure is Nature’s test, her sign of approval. When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy.’ p80

  • Moderation is a fatal thing. Enough is as bad as a meal. More than enough is as good as a feast.’ p178

  • From cell to cell of his brain crept the one thought; and the wild desire to live, most terrible of all man’s appetites, quickened into force each trembling nerve and fibre. Ugliness that had once been hateful to him because it made things real, became dear to him now for that very reason. Ugliness was the one reality. The coarse brawl, the loathsome den, the crude violence of disordered life, the very vileness of thief and outcast, were more vivid, in their intense actuality of impression, than all the gracious shapes of Art, the dreamy shadows of Song. They were what he needed for forgetfulness. p183

  • All crime is vulgar, just as all vulgarity is crime. p209

  • As for being poisoned by a book, there is no such thing as that. 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. p214

Tyler Hellard @poploser