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A Wilde guess

Posted by R. Berg on December 13, 2002

In Reply to: Work is the curse of the drinking classes posted by masakim on December 13, 2002

: : : Purely for my own curiosity this one - anyone know the origin (Oscar Wilde?) presumably a corruption of something much more worthy..
: : : Pat.

: : More recent than Wilde.

: : "work is the curse of the drinking classes." A catchphrase pun on the cliché (untrue since WW2 and grossly exaggerated since WW1), 'drink is the curse of the working classes': since the late or, at earliest, the middle 1940s [Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British," 1977].

: Work is the curse of the drinking classes.
: H. Pearson _Life of Oscar Wilde_ ch. 12
: From _The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Fifth Edition_

That's a surprise; Partridge is usually reliable. So who said it, Wilde or his biographer Pearson?