Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde portrait image to appear alongside the Oscar Wilde biography.

Oscar Wilde was born in 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. After studying at Oxford University, where he had been greatly influenced by Walter Pater's Aesthetic Movement, Wilde became a poet. His first collection, Poems, was published in 1881 and a successful tour of America followed.

In 1884 Wilde married Constance Lloyd and they had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan, but in 1891 he began an affair with Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas. His greatest fame, and greatest work, followed soon afterwards. Lady Windermere's Fan, his first play, opened in February 1892. It was a critical and commercial success and made his name as a writer of witty, satiric drama. His subsequent plays include A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), establishing Wilde as not only the most important playwright of his era but also a much-quoted wit. His first and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in 1890 and scandalised Victorian society with its homoerotic content.

Wilde and Lord Alfred were inseparable until the playwright was jailed for two years for homosexuality - at that time still illegal. After his release Wilde fled to France but never truly regained the creativity he had enjoyed before his imprisonment. Wilde died of meningitis in 1900 and is buried in Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France, where his extravagant grave, covered in Lipstick kisses, is still regularly visited by tourists and devotees alike.

Oscar Wilde books reviewed

Bibliography

  • Poems (1881)
  • The Happy Prince and Other Stories (1888)
  • Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories (1891)
  • House of Pomegranates (1891)
  • Intentions (1891)
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890 - 1891)
  • Lady Windermere's Fan (1892)
  • A Woman of No Importance (1893)
  • An Ideal Husband (1898)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (1898)
  • De Profundis (1905)
  • The Ballad of Reading Gaol(1898)

Critical acclaim