the above lines are from one of my recent reads - 'A Woman of No Importance'.
Only 84-odd-pages and Wilde seems to have filled it with pearls of wisdom (well, you can say that for any book of Oscar Wilde).
A simple story (might remind you of some old Hindi movie)-
Young Gerald is offered a job of a secretary by Lord Illingworth and the twist in the tale occurs when Gerald's mother Mrs.Arbuthnot realizes her relationship with Lord Illingworth.
Carefully camouflaged between the amusing lines, lies the mockery of erstwhile aristocracy of England.
These lines, of Lord Illingworth, would bear testimony of the above fact:
"To get into the best society, nowadays, one has to either feed people, amuse people, or shock people--that is all!"
Lord Illingworth is to this book what Henry was in 'The Picture of Dorian Grey’. It is through his wit that we encounter some of the best lines of this book.
LADY STUTFIELD : Every one I know says you are very, very wicked.
LORD ILLINGWORTH : It is perfectly monstrous the way people go
about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that
are absolutely and entirely true.
Sometimes I wonder whether I see the reflection of Wilde in the voice of Lord Illingworth - cynical and a stylish villain. In comparison to him the apparently good natured Mrs.Arbuthnot and Miss. Hester appear boring and dull. (Self-righteneous and seemingly didactic).And of course Illingworth walks away with all those famous lines of the play:
"I don't think there is a woman in the world who would not be a little flattered if one made love to her. It is that which makes women so irresistibly adorable."
"The Book of Life begins with a man and woman in a garden. It ends with Revelations."
"Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humor in the woman - or the want of it in the man."
Considering the fact that Mrs.Arbuthnot emerges victorious towards the end of the book, I wondered if the title ‘A Man of No Importance’ would have been more suitable.
But Wild(e) are his ways...