Tag Archives: decay of lying

The Art of Lying

“But in modern days while the fashion of writing poetry has become far too common, and should, if possible, be discouraged, the fashion of lying has almost fallen into disrepute” (Wilde 9).

Lying has always been presumed as a negative thing. You’re taught at a young age that lying is wrong. Then we are also taught to have and share our opinions, which are not always accurate to say the least, but wouldn’t be labeled as lies. As stated above, poetry is held in high esteem, yet lying isn’t. To be technical one could say any fiction is lying, although each bit of fiction comes from some part of the truth. So if one thought this way, anything not entirely true or accurate is a lie. Therefore poetry would be considered lying. But perhaps this quote could sway the negative connotation lying has. Yes maybe poetry & art & fiction are lies, but who says thats a bad thing? Especially when the Art of Lying sounds so intriguing.

Wilde, Oscar, and Percival Pollard. Intentions: The Decay of Lying, Pen, Pencil and Poison, the Critic as Artist, the Truth of Masks. New York: Brentano’s, 1905. Web

The Decay of Vivian

“The final revelation is that Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art” (Wilde 496).

When we describe top-tier literature we describe it as art. It is always an artfully crafted masterpiece if the work truly stands the test of time. But to say that the aim of top-tier literature is to lie is abominable. Sure fiction can be construed as made up, but we embark on the journey fully knowing this fact. Even the act of imagining the story play out is a bit of a sham. None of it exists, and yet it does because the work moves you, inspires you, it asks you to think. And it is through this thought process that the true artistry takes place. Vivian can call the aim of art a lie all he likes, and he can even say that the art of lying is decaying because it is now so visibly fiction, but there is something to be said about when you emerge from the depths of a newly finished book. You emerge as a new person.

Wilde, Oscar. “The Decay of Lying: An Observation.” The Critical Tradition. Ed. David Richter. New York: Bedford/St. Martin, 2007. 496. Print.