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.

Bibliography

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 ?
Theatre and Arts Reading (TAR) are seeking toturn the prison into a cultural hubincluding two theatres and an Oscar Wilde museum.
Through close analysis of unpublished material, Oscar Wilde and Classical Antiquity offers new perspectives on his most celebrated and canonical texts by adopting a uniquely multidisciplinary approach with insights into Wilde's classical sources that will be highly useful for in-depth studies of Oscar Wilde.
The post Oscar Wilde's star child brought to life appeared first on Cyprus Mail .
Trina Vargo, founder of the US-Ireland Alliance, the nonprofit organisation that organises the Oscar Wilde Awards, announced the actor as the first 2018 honoree.
<BDaisy Ridley, star of Star Wars which is up for five Oscars tomorrow night, at the Oscar Wilde Awards.
In the preface of his 1891 novel, Oscar Wilde writes "diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex and vital".
"The opportunity to lease the remaining ground-floor space in the Madison Square Portfolio to a tenant like Oscar Wilde's reflects how well-rounded and diverse our roster of retail tenants is--each brings with them the characteristics the seamlessly blend with NoMad and Flatiron, and set the tone for the office spaces above," said Mike Heaner, partner at the Kaufman Organization.
El proximo 30 de noviembre, se celebraran los primeros 160 anos del nacimiento de Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).
e writer, whose novel inspired the classic 'lm starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, topped a poll which included that famous wit Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare.
A DRAMATISATION of the libel and criminal trials of Oscar Wilde comes to the Queen's Hall in Hexham this month.
Answers: 1-2, Dorothy Parker; 3-7, Oscar Wilde; 8, Samuel Goldwyn; 9-10, Samuel Johnson.