The Definitive Resource Of Oscar Wilde's Visits To America

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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:

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.


Gabrielle Greeley.

Satire is the homage which mediocrity pays to genius

The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA

Object Number: 77.1204

Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2023