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Born: 16 October 1854
Died: 30 November 1900 (aged 46)
Language: English, French
Alma mater: Trinity College, Dublin
Period: Victorian era
Genres: Drama, short story, dialogue,
Literary movement: Aestheticism
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October
1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and
poet. After writing in different forms throughout
the 1880s, he became one of London's most
popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he
is remembered for his epigrams, plays and the
circumstances of his imprisonment, followed by
his early death.
Oscar Fingall O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin,
Ireland, on October 16, 1854. His parents were well known
and attracted a degree of gossip for their extravagant
lifestyles His father, Sir William Wilde, was a well-known
surgeon and he was knighted for his services to medicine. ;
his mother, Jane Francisca Elgee Wilde, wrote popular
poetry and other work under the pseudonym (pen name)
Speranza. Because of his mother's literary successes,
young Oscar enjoyed a cultured and privileged
After attending Portora Royal School in Enniskillen,
Ireland, Wilde moved on to study the classics at Trinity
College, Dublin, from 1871 to 1874. There, he began
attracting public attention through the uniqueness of his
writing and his lifestyle. Before leaving Trinity College,
Wilde was awarded many honors, including the Berkely
Gold Medal for Greek.
Begins writing career
At the age of twenty-three Wilde entered Magdalen College, Oxford, England. In 1878 he
was awarded the Newdigate Prize for his poem "Ravenna." He attracted a group of
followers whose members were purposefully unproductive and artificial. "The first duty in
life," Wilde wrote in Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young (1894), "is to be as
artificial as possible." After leaving Oxford he expanded his cult (a following). His
iconoclasm (attacking of established religious institutions) clashed with the holiness that
came with the Victorian era of the late nineteenth century, but this contradiction was one
that he aimed for. Another of his aims was the glorification of youth.
Wilde published his well-received Poems in 1881. The next six years were active ones.
He spent an entire year lecturing in the United States and then returned to lecture in
England. He applied unsuccessfully for a position as a school inspector. In 1884 he
married, and his wife bore him children in 1885 and in 1886. He began to publish extensively
in the following year. His writing activity became as intense and as inconsistent as his life
had been for the previous six years. From 1887 to 1889 Wilde edited the magazine Woman's
World. His first popular success as a fiction writer was The Happy Prince and Other
Tales (1888). The House of Pomegranates (1892) was another collection of his fairy tales.
Criticism over artistic matters in the Pall Mall Gazette provoked a letter in self-defense, and soon Wilde
was a contributor to that and other journals during the years 1885–87.
He enjoyed reviewing and journalism; the form
suited his style. He could organize and share
his views on art, literature and life
In mid-1887 Wilde became the editor of The
Lady's World magazine, his name
prominently appearing on the cover
Wilde published The Happy Prince and
Other Tales in 1888, and had been regularly
writing fairy stories for magazines. In 1891
published two more collections, Lord Arthur
Savile's Crime and Other Stories, and in
September The House of Pomegranateswas
dedicated "To Constance Mary Wilde". " The
Portrait of Mr. W. H.", which Wilde had begun
in 1887, was first published in Blackwood's
Edinburgh Magazine in July 1889.
Wilde, having tired of journalism, had been busy
setting out his aesthetic ideas more fully in a series
of longer prose pieces which were published in the
major literary-intellectual journals.
Two of Wilde's four writings on aesthetics are
dialogues, though Wilde had evolved
professionally from lecturer to writer, he remained
with an oral tradition of sorts.
He often assembled phrases, bons mots for work.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray was published as the lead story in the July 1890
edition of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, along with five others. The story begins with a man
painting a picture of Gray. When Gray, who has a "face like ivory and rose leaves" sees his
finished portrait he breaks down, distraught that his beauty will fade, but the portrait stay
beautiful, inadvertently making a Faustian bargain. For Wilde, the purpose of art would guide
life if beauty alone were its object.
Wilde sought to juxtapose the beauty he saw in art onto daily life.
Wilde was imprisoned first in Pentonville and then Wandsworth Prison in London.
Inmates followed a regimen of "hard labour, hard fare and a hard bed", which wore
very harshly on Wilde, accustomed as he was to many creature comforts. His
health declined sharply, and in November he collapsed during chapel from illness
Wilde was released on 19 May 1897, and though his health had suffered greatly, he
had a feeling of spiritual renewal. He immediately wrote to the Society of Jesus
requesting a six-month Catholic retreat. The request was denied. He left England
the next day for the continent, to spend his last three years in penniless exile.
Then, he took the name "Sebastian Melmoth“ and wrote two long letters to the
editor of the Daily Chronicle, describing the brutal conditions of English prisons.
By 25 November Wilde had developed
cerebral meningitis. Robbie Ross arrived on 29
November and sent for a priest, and Wilde
was conditionally baptised into the Catholic
Church by Fr Cuthbert Dunne, a Passionist priest
Wilde was initially buried in the Cimetière de
Bagneux outside Paris; in 1909 his remains were
disinterred to Père Lachaise Cemetery, inside the
city. His tomb was designed by Sir Jacob
Epstein,commissioned by Robert Ross, who
asked for a small compartment to be made for his
Oscar Wilde - English philosopher, esthete, writer, poet,
playwright, journalist, essayist, journalist of Irish descent. One of
the most famous play wrights of late Victorian period, the
bright celebrity of his time. After two years in prison and hard
labor gone to France, where he lived in poverty and
oblivion by change of name. His plays, full of paradoxes, the
phrases and aphorisms, as well as the novel "The Picture of
Dorian Gray" (1891).
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