Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Exquisite Disdain

Last year I got this book from a secret book friend. It was wrapped in blue paper with flowers on it and left on my office chair for me. My name was written on the paper in silver ink from a pen that was in my drawer. I never found out who this friend was, but he/she also gave me Alice's Adventures in Wonderland a few months later. I read both of these books last year and loved them. Thanks again to my secret book friend, whoever you may be.

When I read books, I always mark them up. If you took a book off my shelf, you'd find highlighted passages, words circled or underlined, exclamation points, notes in the margins. It's just how I read, and it's fun to thumb through those old books and look back on those marks and notes. Here are some passages that I highlighted in Oscar Wilde's brilliant book:


To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable. —Lord Henry to Dorian Gray

“Are you very much in love with him?” he asked.
She did not answer for some time, but stood gazing at the landscape. “I wish I knew,” she said at last.
He shook his head. “Knowledge would be fatal. It is the uncertainty that charms one. A mist makes things wonderful.” (Lord Henry and the Duchess)

The dead leaves that were blown against the leaded panes seemed to him like his own wasted resolutions and wild regrets.

She is very clever, too clever for a woman. She lacks the indefinable charm of weakness.

Time seemed to him to be crawling with feet of lead.

Youth smiles without any reason. It is one of its chiefest charms.

He was too clever and too cynical to be really fond of.

The birds that were singing in the dew-drenched garden seemed to be telling the flowers about her.

Dorian Gray, with his beautiful eyes, looked down at her, and his chiseled lips curled in exquisite disdain.

No life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested.

Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.

Springtime…a very dance of blossoms in blue skies.

Experience was of no ethical value. It was merely the name men gave to their mistakes.

He says things that annoy me. He gives me good advice.

All I want now is to look at life. You may come and look at it with me, if you care to.

Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.

You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know.

Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?

None of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.

Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.


If you've never read this book, I highly recommend it!

1 comment:

Alli Hibb said...

I love, love, love Oscar Wilde...he's one of my favorites, for sure!