Oscar Wilde 1856 - 1900
Talent In Abundance But A Complicated Irish Author Left His Readers Pondering About His True Potential
Oscar Wilde’s surname is ironically related to the unconventional lifestyle adopted by the famous Irish writer.
Born in Dublin in 1856, Oscar was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Oxford University, where he won the Newbridge Poetry Prize with his poem ‘Ravenna’.
Following an unspectacular 1882 tour of America, Wilde produced his first play ‘Vera' in 1883. This was followed by ‘The Duchess Of Padua’ in 1891 but both works found little recognition.
In 1892 he wrote ‘Salome’ in French and Richard Strauss incorporated it as 'Libretto' for an opera performance. It was also translated into English. With a particular inkling to be conflicting, his life in London was marred by some wayward shenanigans which often isolated him.
His 1891 novel ‘The Picture Of Dorian Gray’ notably rose his literary pedigree but he pressed another self destruct voyage with ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ a comedy adored by some and ignored by many.
Oscar continued his writings with ‘A Woman Of No Importance’ 1893 ‘ An Ideal Husband’ and his great legacy ‘The Importance Of Being Ernest' both scripts in1895.
Oscar Wilde was also sensationally building an identity as a peculiar Irishman living in London and he regularly challenged conventional lifestyles. In 1895 he struck up a relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas and took a libel action against his partner's father. Wilde lost his case and spent two years in Reading Jail.
In prison he wrote ‘ The Ballad Of Reading Jail’ published in 1898 and this masterpiece greatly redeemed his faltering reputation.
Life in England was never the same for Wilde after his imprisonment and to escape he went to France. He continued life with male partners and he soon discovered that the French were not very accommodating to his lifestyle.
To escape the fury once more he moved to Italy to reignite his affair with Lord Douglas, but this time the passion had ceased for both men.
By 1989 Oscar Wilde was experiencing great financial hardship and he decided to return to Paris. Despite suffering from major ill health at only forty years old, he managed to challenge his pending death with humour and courage.
Oscar Wilde died in 1900 and in 1905 his testament ‘ De Profundis’ was published and critics described it as moving and spiritual.