Oscar Wilde, a writer and a dramatist, this name noticeably sits on the plays that he wrote in the last decade of his life.
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde, was an Irish poet and a playwright born in 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. Oscar’s father, William Wilde was Ireland’s foremost ear and eye surgeon, his mother was an Irish poet who wrote under the pseudonym Speranza which is “hope” in Italian. Wilde was homeschooled till he was 9 and learnt German and French. Later he went to the Portora Royal School with his brother Willie. At school, Wilde was exceptional, academically and was also popular among his peers for his funny stories.
After attending the Portora School Wilde got into Trinity College, Dublin through multiple scholarships and later to Magdalen College, Oxford.
During his time in Magdalen College he wrote a poem Ravenna which won the Newdigate Prize.
Here is an excerpt from Ravenna
“Taken from life where life and love were new,
He lies beneath God’s seamless veil of blue;
Tall lance-like reeds wave sadly o’er his head,
And oleanders bloom to deeper red,
Where his bright youth flowed crimson on the ground”
He was highly inspired by the likes of John Ruskin, a writer and philosopher of the Victorian era and Walter Pater, who was a writer and an art critic, just like many others in his time.
Wilde had established himself in the world of literature in the early 1880s.
In 1881, he published his first book “Poems” , which received quite jumbled reviews. A periodical called “Punch” was at the forefront of this criticism and made him out to be a caricature.
After a few years of the release of “Poems’ ‘, he went to America to deliver a few lectures and was more accepted by the American readers.
Wilde got married in 1884, to Constance Lloyd and gave birth to two children Cyril and Vyvyan.
He became the editor of Woman’s World, a fashion magazine in 1887. During his time as an editor he published The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888), which is a collection of stories for children though it consists of some stories that do not pertain to the young readers. The Happy Prince and Other Tales received positive reviews overall and Wilde was even validated by Walter Pater, who wrote to him praising the book.
In 1889, after giving up the editorship at the Woman’s World Wilde started working on The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is a philosophical novel with witty dialogues, wilde was able to blend gothic themes with French decadence. Despite all his great, articulately written novels his success is attributed to his dramas. He wrote over 10 plays in his lifetime, some of the most famous being Lady Windermere’s Fan (1893), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1899). These plays were all societal comedies, most of them but one Salomé , which offended a lot of people for it’s violent acts and the representation of biblical characters.
After the essay “The Decay of Lying” was published in 1889 , Wilde was accused of indulging in sodomy and was found guilty 4 years later. He was released in 1897, and had gone bankrupt. A year after his release, he died due to acute meningitis followed by an ear infection.