Grace Stepney’s mind was like a kind of moral fly-paper, to which the buzzing items of gossip were drawn by a fatal attraction, and where they hung fast in the toils of an inexorable memory. ~ The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Classic literature can be inspirational. It can be poetic. It can be educational. Classic literature can also be really funny! Check out these ten funny quotes from literature:
1 – “How dreadful!” cried Lord Henry. “I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.” ~ The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
2 – “If you could see my legs when I take my boots off, you’d form some idea of what unrequited affection is.” ~ Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
3 – Indeed, he would sometimes remark, when a man fell into his anecdotage, it was a sign for him to retire from the world. ~ Lothair by Benjamin Disraeli
4 – You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind-legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men. ~ Zuleika Dobson by Sir Max Beerbohm
5 – The bishop did not whistle: we believe that they lose the power of doing so on being consecrated. ~ The Warden by Anthony Trollope
6 – A story with a moral appended is like the bill of a mosquito. It bores you, and then injects a stinging drop to irritate your conscience. ~ Strictly Business by O. Henry
7 – From politics, it was an easy step to silence. ~ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
8 – Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example. ~ The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
9 – It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. ~ Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
10 – I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again. ~ This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Oscar Wilde was an Irish author, playwright and poet. He’s remembered for his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray as well was other works. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin. He died on November 30, 1900 in Paris.
What you May Not Know
His full name was Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde.
His father, William Wilde, was an acclaimed doctor. He was knighted for his work as medical adviser for the Irish censuses. William Wilde founded St. Mark’s Ophthalmic Hospital to treat the city’s poor.
An early romantic interest of Oscar Wilde was Florence Balcombe. She eventually became the wife of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.
In 1882 Wilde began a lecture tour of North America. The subject was Aestheticism, a movement that celebrated beauty and art. During the tour Wilde meet with some of the leading American literary figures of the day, including Henry Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Walt Whitman.
Wilde married Constance Lloyd on May 29, 1884. The couple had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan.
In 1891 Wilde met Lord Alfred Douglas. They became lovers. Alfred’s father was John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry. The elder Douglas did not approve of his son’s relationship. Feuding between John Douglas and Wilde eventually led to Wilde being convicted of “gross indecency” for homosexual acts. Wilde was sentenced to two years of hard labor.
Despite Wilde’s preference for men and the social scandal caused by his trial and imprisonment, Wilde and his wife never divorced. However Constance did change her and her sons’ last name to Holland.
After his release from prison in 1897 Wilde left England and moved to France. He stayed there until his death.
Wilde wrote plays and short stories, but only one novel. His only novel is The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Wilde died of meningitis on November 30, 1900. He was only 46 years old.
Novel by Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)
Partial List of Short Stories by Oscar Wilde
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories (1891) Including The Canterville Ghost first published in periodical form in 1887.