top Questions : Oscar Wilde Questions and answers about Oscar Wilde .Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.See all videos for this article Wilde was born of professional and literary parents. His church father, Sir William Wilde, was Ireland ’ s leading ear and eye surgeon, who besides published books on archeology, folklore, and the satirist Jonathan Swift. His mother, who wrote under the diagnose Speranza, was a revolutionary poet and an authority on Celtic myth and folklore. After attending Portora Royal School, Enniskillen ( 1864–71 ), Wilde went, on consecutive scholarships, to Trinity College, Dublin ( 1871–74 ), and Magdalen College, Oxford ( 1874–78 ), which awarded him a degree with honours. During these four years, he distinguished himself not merely as a classical scholar, a poseur, and a wit but besides as a poet by winning the covet Newdigate Prize in 1878 with a long poem, Ravenna. He was profoundly impressed by the teachings of the english writers John Ruskin and Walter Pater on the central importance of art in life sentence and particularly by the latter ’ south stress on the aesthetic volume by which animation should be lived. Like many in his generation, Wilde was determined to follow Pater ’ s urging “ to burn constantly with [ a ] hard, gemlike flame. ” But Wilde besides delighted in affecting an aesthetic model ; this, combined with rooms at Oxford decorated with objets d ’ art, resulted in his celebrated remark, “ Oh, would that I could live up to my blue chinaware ! ” In the early 1880s, when Aestheticism was the rage and despair of literary London, Wilde established himself in sociable and artistic circles by his wit and flamboyance. Soon the periodical Punch made him the satirical object of its antagonism to the Aesthetes for what was considered their unmasculine devotion to art. And in their comedian opera Patience, Gilbert and Sullivan based the character Bunthorne, a “ animal poet, ” partially on Wilde. Wishing to reinforce the affiliation, Wilde published, at his own expense, Poems ( 1881 ), which echoed, besides faithfully, his discipleship to the poets Algernon Swinburne, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and John Keats. Eager for far acclaim, Wilde agreed to lecture in the United States and Canada in 1882, announcing on his arrival at customs in New York City that he had “ nothing to declare but his genius. ” Despite widespread hostility in the compress to his dreamy poses and aesthetic costume of velvet jacket, knee breeches, and black silk stockings, Wilde for 12 months exhorted the Americans to love beauty and art ; then he returned to Great Britain to lecture on his impressions of America .Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde, 1882 .Courtesy of the William Andrews Memorial Library of the University of California, Los Angeles In 1884 Wilde married Constance Lloyd, daughter of a outstanding irish barrister ; two children, Cyril and Vyvyan, were born, in 1885 and 1886. meanwhile, Wilde was a reviewer for the Pall Mall Gazette and then became editor of Woman ’ south World ( 1887–89 ). During this period of apprenticeship as a writer, he published The happy Prince and other Tales ( 1888 ), which reveals his gift for quixotic allegory in the shape of the fagot fib. In the final decade of his life sentence, Wilde wrote and published about all of his major influence. In his lone novel, The picture of dorian Gray ( published in Lippincott ’ s Magazine, 1890, and in book shape, revised and expanded by six chapters, 1891 ), Wilde combined the supernatural elements of the Gothic novel with the ineffable sins of french decadent fiction. Critics charged evil despite dorian ’ s suicide ; Wilde, however, insisted on the amoral nature of art regardless of an apparently moral ending. Intentions ( 1891 ), consisting of previously published essays, restated his aesthetic position toward art by borrowing ideas from the french poets Théophile Gautier and Charles Baudelaire and the american english painter James McNeill Whistler. In the like year, two volumes of stories and fairy tales besides appeared, testifying to his extraordinary creative inventiveness : Lord Arthur Savile ’ mho Crime, and other Stories and A House of Pomegranates.
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But Wilde ’ s greatest successes were his club comedies. Within the conventions of the french “ well-made dally ” ( with its social intrigues and artificial devices to resolve conflict ), he employed his paradoxical, aphoristic wag to create a shape of comedy raw to the 19th-century English dramaturgy. His inaugural achiever, Lady Windermere ’ south Fan, demonstrated that this wag could revitalize the out of practice machinery of french drama. In the same year, rehearsals of his ghastly play Salomé, written in French and designed, as he said, to make his consultation shiver by its delineation of unnatural heat, were halted by the ban because it contained biblical characters. It was published in 1893, and an english translation appeared in 1894 with Aubrey Beardsley ’ south celebrated illustrations .cartoon of Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde, cartoon in Punch, March 5, 1892 .From Punch, or The London Charivari, March 5, 1892 A moment company drollery, A Woman of No Importance ( produce 1893 ), convinced the critic William Archer that Wilde ’ s plays “ must be taken on the very highest plane of advanced English drama. ” In rapid succession, Wilde ’ s final plays, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, were produced early in 1895. In the latter, his greatest accomplishment, the conventional elements of farce are transformed into satirical epigrams—seemingly fiddling but mercilessly exposing victorian hypocrisies .
I suppose club is wonderfully delightful. To be in it is merely a bear. But to be out of it simply a tragedy. I never travel without my diary. One should constantly have something arresting to read in the train. All women become like their mothers. That is their calamity. No man does. That ’ s his. I hope you have not been leading a doubling life, pretending to be arch and being in truth good all the time. That would be hypocrisy .
In many of his works, exposure of a privy drop the ball or indiscretion and attendant dishonor is a cardinal design. If life imitated artwork, as Wilde insisted in his test “ The Decay of Lying ” ( 1889 ), he was himself approximating the blueprint in his foolhardy pastime of pleasure. In accession, his stopping point friendship with Lord Alfred Douglas, whom he had met in 1891, infuriated the marquess of Queensberry, Douglas ’ s don. Accused, finally, by the marquis of being a sodomite, Wilde, urged by Douglas, sued for condemnable libel. Wilde ’ s case collapsed, however, when the attest went against him, and he dropped the become. Urged to flee to France by his friends, Wilde refused, ineffective to believe that his universe was at an end. He was arrested and ordered to stand trial. Wilde testified brilliantly, but the jury failed to reach a verdict. In the retrial he was found guilty and sentence, in May 1895, to two years at hard labor. Most of his sentence was served at Reading Gaol, where he wrote a long letter to Douglas ( published in 1905 in a drastically cut version as De Profundis ) filled with recriminations against the younger man for encouraging him in waste and distracting him from his work. In May 1897 Wilde was released, a bankrupt, and immediately went to France, hoping to regenerate himself as a writer. His only remaining work, however, was The Ballad of Reading Gaol ( 1898 ), revealing his concern for inhumane prison conditions. Despite changeless money problems, he maintained, as George Bernard Shaw said, “ an insuperable gaiety of soul ” that sustained him, and he was visited by such loyal friends as Max Beerbohm and Robert Ross, late his literary executor ; he was besides reunited with Douglas. He died suddenly of acute meningitis brought on by an auricle contagion. In his semiconscious final moments, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church, which he had long admired.
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