The Wit and Humor of Oscar Wilde
The Wit and Humor of Oscar Wilde edited by Alvin Redman, 4/5
Unsurprisingly, it is Oscar Wilde himself who best summarises the reason why I both love and disrespect him:
Between me and life there is a mist of words always. I throw probability out of the window for the sake of a phrase, and the chance of an epigram makes me desert truth. Still I do aim at making a work of art (142).
This small paperback is surprisingly dense, containing a collection of over 1000 Oscar Wilde quotes and excerpts on a variety of topics. I especially appreciated the inclusion of quotes allegedly spoken by Wilde in conversation, since these are not as readily available as his written works. I would have given the collection 5/5 if not for the censorious and subjectively judgmental introductions to each section by editor Alvin Redman. A critique of Wilde’s life and morality would be more appropriate content for a biography and Redman would have done better to merely let the content of the book speak for itself.