Oscar Wilde

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Wilde, Oscar

(Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde), 1854–1900, Irish author and wit, b. Dublin. He is most famous for his sophisticated, brilliantly witty plays, which were the first since the comedies of Sheridan and Goldsmith to have both dramatic and literary merit. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he distinguished himself for his scholarship and wit, and also for his elegant eccentricity in dress, tastes, and manners. Influenced by the aesthetic teachings of Walter PaterPater, Walter Horatio
, 1839–94, English essayist and critic. In 1864 he was elected a fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford, and he subsequently led an austere and uneventful life.
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 and John RuskinRuskin, John,
1819–1900, English critic and social theorist. During the mid-19th cent. Ruskin was the virtual dictator of artistic opinion in England, but Ruskin's reputation declined after his death, and he has been treated harshly by 20th-century critics.
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, Wilde became the center of a group glorifying beauty for itself alone, and he was famously satirized (with other exponents of "art for art's sake") in Punch and in Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta Patience. His first published work, Poems (1881), was well received. The next year he lectured to great acclaim in the United States, where his drama Vera (1883) was produced. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and they had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan.

Later he began writing for and editing periodicals, but his active literary career began with the publication of Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories (1891) and two collections of fairy tales, The Happy Prince (1888) and The House of Pomegranates (1892). In 1891 his novel Picture of Dorian Gray appeared. A tale of horror, it depicts the corruption of a beautiful young man pursuing an ideal of sensual indulgence and moral indifference; although he himself remains young and handsome, his portrait becomes ugly, reflecting his degeneration.

Wilde's stories and essays were well received, but his creative genius found its highest expression in his plays—Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), which were all extremely clever and filled with pithy epigrams and paradoxes. Wilde explained away their lack of depth by saying that he put his genius into his life and only his talent into his books. He also wrote two historical tragedies, The Duchess of Padua (1892) and Salomé (1893).

In 1891, Wilde met and quite soon became intimate with the considerably younger, handsome, and dissolute Lord Alfred Douglas (nicknamed "Bosie"). Soon the marquess of Queensberry, Douglas's father, began railing against Wilde and later wrote him a note accusing him of homosexual practices. Foolishly, Wilde brought action for libel against the marquess and was himself charged with homosexual offenses under the Criminal Law Amendment, found guilty, and sentenced (1895) to prison for two years. His experiences in jail inspired his most famous poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), and the apology published by his literary executor as De Profundis (1905). Released from prison in 1897, Wilde found himself a complete social outcast in England and, plagued by ill health and bankruptcy, lived in France under an assumed name until his death.


See his collected works, ed. by R. Ross (1969); letters, ed. by R. Hart-Davis (1962); complete letters, ed. by M. Holland and R. Hart-Davis (2000); notebooks, ed. by P. E. Smith 2d and M. S. Helfant (1989); Oscar Wilde in America: The Interviews (2010), ed. by M. Hofer and G. Scharnhorst; biographies by R. Ellman (1988), P. Raby (1988), J. Pearce (2005), N. McKenna (2006), R. Stach (2 vol., 2010, tr. 2013), R. Morris, Jr. (2012), and S. Friedländer (2013); studies by M. Fido (1974), N. Kohl (1989), G. Woodcock (1989), T. Wright (2009), J. Bristow, ed. (2013), and D. M. Friedman, (2014).

References in periodicals archive ?
Hamill, who is 'pleased be a part of this', said, "I attended the Oscar Wilde Awards when my dear friend Carrie Fisher was a recipient.
Four days later, he arrived at his club to nd a card from the Marquis of Queensberry which was famously misspelt: To Oscar Wilde - posing as a Somdimite.
George Woodcock, The Paradox of Oscar Wilde (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1950).
Oscar Wilde - among a list of notable achievers who suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Kirsten Shepherd-Barr's "Wilde about Ibsen: The Fusion of Dramatic Modes in A Woman of No Importance" helpfully situates this society comedy in the triple context of nineteenth-century melodrama, the well-made play, and (drawing on Kerry Powell's groundbreaking Oscar Wilde and the Theatre of the 1890s) Ibsen's modernization of the drama.
The model Oscar Wilde used for Dorian Gray later became a Catholic and a parish priest in Scotland.
This gothic period piece enjoyable but not entirely the Oscar Wilde novel it's Go and see it anyway, says Megan Barker.
Oscar Wilde said that England and America were two countries divided by a common language, but then Oscar Wilde said a lot of things.
His works include The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde; The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde, which contains the first uncensored transcript of the event that led to Wilde's imprisonment for homosexuality; and The Wilde Album.
IRISH EYES ARE SMILING: "I love acting," said a burly Irish dandy quoting Oscar Wilde as he pointed out Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Andie MacDowell, Orlando Bloom, John Lynch and Fionnula Flanagan at the Wilshire Ebell Theater on Thursday.
Oscar Wilde has received much biographical attention, both popular and scholarly, since his death in 1900.
Most of it is random but usually entertaining photos with quick captions, often with a quote from Camus or Anais Nin or Oscar Wilde or Foucault or someone smart and/ or gay like that.