The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.” –Oscar Wilde (Dublin-born playwright of the wickedly witty THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (1895)

“Wilde’s nature was too complex to allow him to be popular with the masses, and the audiences who applauded his plays were even more vociferous in condemning his conduct. Even at the height of his success, Wilde was an object of derision.” –Alvin Redman, author

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The importance of being Oscar Wilde (who was born on a mid-October day in 1854) is taken for granted in the modern world….but the Victorian world of his day was of little mind to humor him (much less countenance his importance) in the years leading up to his death Nov. 30, 1900 at age 46.

It’s almost as if Wilde’s life and demise were a play ‘written in the stars,’ complete with ‘bad actors’ in the cast. Here’s a brief synopsis:

Two of my favorite films were made from the works of Wilde. The first is that deliciously delightful comedy of manners based on his 1895 play….

The second is the haunting story of a man whose portrait ages while he retains his youthful appearance, based on Wilde’s one and only novel THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. Here is the ending (SPOILER ALERT: if you’ve never seen the film but plan to, don’t watch this).

No “picture” of Oscar Wilde would be complete without a sampling of his quotes. He may have died shunned and destitute, but his words left a wealth of wit and wisdom:

“I sometimes think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated His ability.”

“Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.”

“I hate people who talk about themselves, as you do, when one wants to talk about oneself, as I do.”

“To believe is very dull. To doubt is intensely engrossing. To be on the alert is to live.”

“It is because Humanity has never known where it was going that it has never been able to find its way.”

“The English mind is always in a rage. The intellect of the race is wasted on the sordid and stupid quarrels of second-rate politicians and third-rate theologians… We are dominated by the fanatic, whose worst vice is his sincerity.”

“Modern journalism, by giving us the opinions of the uneducated, keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”

“[A poet he admired] was always trying to do the most impossible thing of all — to know himself.”

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

[Wilde] was once asked by a fond mother, whose daughter was playing the piano, whether he liked music. Oscar said: “No, but I like that!”
Sounds like Oscar the Grouch to me. Be that as it may, I dedicate to him this piano piece which I expect he’d like no less (in his honor, imagine it re-titled, I’M JUST WILDE ABOUT OSCAR):