Oscar Wilde (16.10.1854 - 30.11.1900)
Oscar Wilde was an Irish author, poet and playwright best known for the novel The Picture of Dorian Grey and the play The Importance of Being Earnest.
Childhood: Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin on what is now the site of The Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College. He was the son of revolutionary poet Jane Wilde and knighted ear and eye surgeon William Wilde. He was the second of three children born to the couple. Wilde was educated at home by a French maid and a German governess until he was nine, before starting school at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh in Northern Island. Wilde later studied Classics at Trinity College in Dublin until earning a scholarship to continue his studies at Oxford University. Since starting at Trinity College, Wilde was writing poetry for various publications. After graduating from Oxford, he published a book of collected poems which sold out of its first print.
Career: In 1887, Oscar Wilde became the editor of The Lady's World, which he then renamed The Woman's World as he set about improving its image by raising the journals tone. The following year he published a collection of short stories entitled The Happy Prince and Other Stories. In 1891, he released a further two collections - Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories followed by A House of Pomegranates. In July, 1890, the first edition of The Picture of Dorian Grey was published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. The following year, he wrote his first play, Salome, in French. This began his career as a playwright which continued until 1895. His final play, The Importance of Being Earnest, is considered to be his masterpiece.
Personal life: On the 29th of May 1884, Wilde married Constance Lloyd. The couple had two sons; Cyril in 1885 and Vyvyan in 1886. Wilde began an affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, for which he was tried and sent to Reading Prison in 1895. The two years of hard labour significantly affected Wilde's health and despite his exile to Paris following his 1897 release, he died of Meningitis on the 30th November 1900. Numerous autobiographies have been written about Oscar Wilde since his death. Two of these were written by his lover, Lord Alfred, and one by his son Vyvyan. Amongst these is Richard Ellmann's biography, simply titled Oscar Wilde, which won the Pulitzer prize two years later. Ellmann's book was turned into a film in 1997 starring Stephen Fry. Currently, Rupert Everett intends to make is directorial debut with The Happy Prince - a biopic in which he intends to play the author.
Date of birth
16th October, 1854
Date of death
30th November, 1900