Happy Words Wednesday! Today we’re featuring a characteristically witty Oscar Wilde quote.
Although he lived a tragically short life, Oscar Wilde remains of the most beloved, and quotable, authors of all time. A quick search for Oscar Wilde quote turns up literally hundreds of results, each clever, funny, and horrifying in its own way.
This particular quote comes Wilde’s play Lady Windermere’s Fan.
First produced in London in 1892, Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Play about a Good Woman is a four-act comedy that examines and satirizes the morals of English society. Like most of Wilde’s works, the play takes a playful, derisive tone toward the many social expectations of his day, from women’s roles to marriage and fidelity.
The play was shown at St. James’s Theatre in London, a venue that was filled with many people of the high society that Wilde was satirizing. Afterwards, Wilde famously irritated the crowd with a sarcastic speech:
Ladies and Gentlemen. I have enjoyed this evening immensely. The actors have given us a charming rendition of a delightful play, and your appreciation has been most intelligent. I congratulate you on the great success of your performance, which persuades me that you think almost as highly of the play as I do myself.
Lady Windermere’s Fan was published in book form the following year (1983). It was followed by two similarly satirical plays: A Woman of No Importance and An Ideal Husband.
For those who haven’t read Lady Windermere’s Fan, here’s some context for this wonderful Oscar Wilde quote:
DUMBY: I don’t think we are bad. I think we are all good, except Tuppy.
LORD DARLINGTON. No, we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
DUMBY: We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars? Upon my word, you are very romantic to-night, Darlington.
CECIL GRAHAM: Too romantic! You must be in love. Who is the girl?