The Art of Lying

“People have a careless way of talking about a ‘born liar,’ just as they talk about a ‘born poet.’ But in both cases they are wrong. Lying and poetry are arts — arts, as Plato saw, not unconnected with each other and they require the most careful study, the most disinterested devotion. Indeed,they have their technique, just as the more material arts of painting and sculpture have, their subtle secrets of form and colour, their craft-mysteries, their deliberate artistic methods. As one knows the poet by his fine music, so one can recognise the liar by his rich rhythmic utterance, and in neither case will the casual inspiration of the moment suffice. Here, as elsewhere, practice must precede perfection.”

Wilde, Oscar. “The Decay of Lying” in Intentions (New York: The Nottingham Society, 1909), 8.

Oscar discusses aestheticism in relation to lying and poetry, insisting that they both require deliberate construction, in order for “perfection” to be achieved.