Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Useless Art

We are approaching the 110th anniversary of Oscar Wilde's death, which occurred on November 30, 1900.  He's known for his plays, including The Importance of Being Earnest,

his stint in prison for "gross indecency" with other men, his wit and acerbic quotes, his outlandish style of dress,

and his single novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which I am just beginning to read again this month for my book club

Wilde's life was filled with moments of great drama and over a century after he died from cerebral meningitis, destitute but with the final comfort of a Church baptism, it is still a life of interest to legions of fans.

Here are some links to some Wilde-mania, including a listing of famous quotations.

Official Oscar Wilde site

Picture of Dorian Gray online

Wilde Quotes

And in a strange twist, an Oscar-Wilde-themed restaurant that is in my old neighborhood in Chicago:

Wilde Chicago

So...what's your favorite Oscar Wilde quote?  I think my current favorite is from the Author's Preface of Dorian Gray, which begins with "The artist is the creator of beautiful things," and ends with:

"All art is quite useless."


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"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka