QUOTATION: Satire is the homage which mediocrity pays to genius.

WHERE IT WAS SAID

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By Wilde to his lady companions (possibly Miss Gabrielle Greeley) in his box at the Standard Theatre, New York on January 5, 1882 while watching a production of Patience

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On this and other occasions Wilde was reported as saying in reference to the appearance of the Wildean character Bunthorne on stage:

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This is one of the compliments mediocrity pays to those who are not mediocre.

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WHERE IT BEGAN TO APPEAR

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In the Press: New York Tribune, January 6, 1882 reporting the above visit by Wilde to see Patience.

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Autograph Fragment: Made by Wilde on May 7, 1882 in New York (see opposite).

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Lecture: In Wilde’s early lecture in America: The English Renaissance of Art. Reprinted in Miscellanies, London: Methuen and Co., 1908.

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In his lectures, Wilde did not refer to himself in this fashion as a genius, but to others such as, on this occasion, the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood:

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Satire, always as sterile as it in shameful and as impotent as it is insolent, paid them that usual homage which mediocrity pays to genius.

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Related:

Gabrielle Greeley.

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Satire is the homage which mediocrity pays to genius

The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA

Object Number: 77.1204

Recommended reading:

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Oscar Wilde In America |  © John Cooper, 2018