[Ads-l] Oscar's at it again

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 8 17:19:31 UTC 2015

GAT: The epigram was in Oscar Wilde's "A Woman of No Importance" which
was first performed in 1893. An instance was published in "Munsey's
Magazine" by J. Angus Hamilton in May 1894, but it was probably lifted
from Wilde's play.

Year: 1905
Title: The Plays of Oscar Wilde
Volume 1
Author: Oscar Wilde
Publisher: John W. Luce & Company, Boston and London
Play: A Woman of No Importance, Act III
Quote Page 59


[Begin excerpt]
Lord Illingworth: The only difference between the saint and the sinner
is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.
[End excerpt]


On Mon, Sep 7, 2015 at 12:15 PM, George Thompson
<george.thompson at nyu.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> Subject:      Oscar's at it again
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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=E2=80=99s paid obituary on Tuesday nebulously described =
> him as
> =E2=80=9Ca multifaceted person=E2=80=9D and concluded with a quotation from=
>  Oscar Wilde:
> =E2=80=9CEvery saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.=E2=80=9D
> The death notice, placed by Mr. Thompson=E2=80=99s family in the Minneapoli=
> s and
> St. Paul newspapers, ended with one word, =E2=80=9CAmen.=E2=80=9D
> ***
> 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.
> --=20
> 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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