Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was a famous author and a playwright of the late 19th century. He is remembered for penning the much acclaimed book ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’ and playwriting society comedies such as ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ which were new for the 19th century English theater. Wilde is known to have had a flamboyant personality and a burning passion for art and during his career he became the voice of the Aestheticism movement in Britain. Born in Dublin Ireland to literary and educated family, Wilde showed precocious academic talent, receiving scholarships to Trinity College, Dublin and then Magdalen College, Oxford. During his study, he distinguished himself as a poet too when his poem Ravenna won the Newdigate Prize. Deeply inspired by English writers John Ruskin and Walter Pater’s views on art being very important in life, Oscar Wilde became a strong advocate of the Aestheticism movement (Aestheticism movement supported the aesthetics theme of art over social/political).

In the early 1880s Wilde gained popularity in the artistic circle by his flamboyance and wit, publishing poems in 1881 and then traveling to United States and Canada the next two years lecturing about art. However the major part of his work that gained prominence occurred in his life’s last decade. He published his only book ‘The picture of Dorian Grey’ in 1890 which became known for its aestheticism and duplicity motifs. The author was also attacked on his crude writing style as significant part of the public thought that the novel offended the moral sensibilities of the British society. However, his playwriting skills eclipsed his success as a writer as his plays ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’, ‘A Woman of No Importance’ and ‘The importance of being earnest’ were well received by the public. The satiric tone of the plays used to expose the problems in society in a very cavalier way was something new for the 19th century English theater. This unique style of playwriting transcended Oscar Wilde’s fame to new levels. However, things took a turn for the worse when Wilde sued the marquees of Queensberry who accused him of being a sodomite. The plaintiff’s case collapsed when evidence against him was presented in the court, which led to Wilde being sentenced for two years of hard labor. After his release and on the verge of bankruptcy, Oscar moved to France in hope of reviving his career; however it was there where he met his untimely demise brought on by an ear infection.