Born as Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde in Dublin (Ireland) on 16 October 1854. His parents were successful Anglo-Irish, Dublin intellectuals. Their son became fluent in French and German early in life. He proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles.
As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new 'English Renaissance in Art', and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversation, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day. At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into his only novel, 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' (1890). The opportunity to construct aesthetic details precisely, and combine them with larger social themes, drew Wilde to write drama. He wrote 'Salome' (1891) in French in Paris but it was refused a licence for England due to the absolute prohibition of Biblical subjects on the English stage. Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London.
At the height of his fame and success, while 'The Importance of Being Earnest' (1895) was still being performed in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for criminal libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The libel trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years' hard labour, the maximum penalty. In 1897, in prison, he wrote 'De Profundis', which was published in 1905, a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. Upon his release he left immediately for France. There he wrote his last work, 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol' (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris (France) on 30 November 1900 at the age of 46.
Kate has cited Wilde as an influence and favorite author on many occasions. His story 'The Happy Prince' is her special favorite. "Mr. Wilde" is named in her song December Will Be Magic Again.
- Oscar Wilde. Wikipedia, retrieved 18 September 2017.