[Ads-l] Oscar's at it again

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Sep 7 16:15:43 UTC 2015

We may remember the story that once when James McNeil Whistler made a
clever remark to Oscar Wilde, Wilde said "I wish I had said that", and
Whistler responded, "You will, Oscar, you will".  Poor Oscar's dead and
gone, but his ghost still stalks about, snapping up unclaimed bits of wit
or profundity -- unless, of course, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain or
Abraham Lincoln beat him to it.

Wilde's latest coup is noted in the NY Times:

T. Eugene Thompson’s paid obituary on Tuesday nebulously described him as
“a multifaceted person” and concluded with a quotation from Oscar Wilde:
“Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”

The death notice, placed by Mr. Thompson’s family in the Minneapolis and
St. Paul newspapers, ended with one word, “Amen.”


NY Times, September 6, 2015, Section A, p. 28, col. 1

T. Eugene Thompson was basically a nice guy, even though multifaceted,
unless you criticize him for arranging the murder of his wife.  (The Times,
always willing to give credit where credit is due, notes that his second
wife died of natural causes.)

I've looked for this quotation in Fred's YBQ, in the 3rd edition of the
Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, and the 16th (I think) edition of
Bartlett's, and haven't found it.
It doesn't sound very Wildean to me.


George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998..

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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