Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of the most popular playwrights in London in the early 1890s. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for gross indecency for consensual homosexual acts in "one of the first celebrity trials", imprisonment, and early death from meningitis at age 46.
Who was Oscar Wilde?
Oscar Wilde was a noted Irish playwright, novelist, poet and essayist, born in the middle of the nineteenth century into an intellectual family. While studying in Trinity, Dublin, he was influenced by the aesthetic movement, which advocated that art must be practiced only for the sake of art and soon became one of its ardent followers. Although his very first book, ‘Poems’ established him as an upcoming poet, he tasted real success only in the last decade of his relatively short life. But by then, despite being married with two sons, he had become entangled in a homosexual relationship and when that came into light, he was sentenced to two-year rigorous imprisonment. On coming out of prison, he went to France, where he spent the last years of his life, cut off from his family and shunned by most of his friends. By then, his books had also stopped selling and his plays were closed down. Thus he lived in poverty and ill-health till he died aged just forty-six.
Return to Great Britain
On his return to Great Britain, Oscar Wilde embarked on another lecture circuit across England and Ireland, which would last up to the middle of 1884. Meanwhile sometime between February and Ma 1883, he went to Paris for three months and there he completed his play, ‘The Duchess of Padua’.
Very soon Wilde was able to establish himself as a leading proponent of aesthetic movement and became famous for it. Apart from his literally pursuits, he began to contribute regularly as a reviewer in ‘Pall Mall Gazette.’
From 1887, Wilde found employment as the editor of ‘Lady’s World,’ a magazine that dealt in women’s fashion and had lost its popularity in recent years. Soon, he was able to revive the magazine by incorporating women’s viewpoints not only on art, literature and music, but also on modern life.
In 1888, while working as editor of ‘Lady’s World,’ Wilde published his first major work titled, ‘The Happy Prince and Other Tales’, a collection of children's stories. Next in 1889, he published another of his memorable works, ‘The Decay of Lying’.
In July 1889, he left his job to concentrate on his literary ambition. His only novel, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ appeared in the July 1890 edition of ‘Lippincott's Monthly Magazine.’
Although the editor of the magazine had deleted roughly 500 words it was criticized by the reviewers for decadence and homosexual allusions. However, Wilde defended his work and in 1891, he had it published in book form.
In 1891, apart from ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, he had five other major works published. Among them, ‘Intentions’ consisted of previously published essays. Others were ‘The Soul of Man under Socialism’, ‘Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories’, ‘A House of Pomegranates’ and ‘Salome’.
Wilde then continued to produce more plays, many of which satirized the upper class society. Falling in this category were ‘Lady Windermere's Fan’ (1882) and ‘A Woman of No Importance’ (1893), both of whichwere highly successful.
Contrarily, ‘An Ideal Husband’, a work which Wilde started in the summer of 1883, revolved around blackmail and political corruption. Just like ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, which he wrote in the summer of 1894, ‘An Ideal Husband’ is also considered one of his masterpieces.
Oscar Wilde documentary
July 30, 2021
Oscar Wilde Online
Who was Oscar Wilde? Everything You Need to Know