Oscar Wilde



Oscar Wilde is an Irish writer born during the Victorian era and the most known aestheticized English writers.

He was born in 1854 in Dublin as the son of an Irish doctor and a poet and journalist mother. During school he exceled at studying classics, Greek and drawing. He studied at Trinity College in Dublin, after which he participated in the aesthetic lectures of John Ruskin at Oxford University. Soon he gets remarked by his refined gestures, fancy clothes and dandy lifestyle.

In 1878 he moves to London and in the same year he receives the “Newdigate” Prize for poetry.

His first writings started in 1882 when he published his first poetry book. There were various critics over the book, so there was no unanimous opinion among critics. After that, he starts offering aesthetics lectures in America and Canada and then lives for a short period of time in Paris and Ireland. In the next few years he writes more and more operas, among which “The picture of Dorian Grey” published in 1890. His controversial writing brought him many scandals and court quotations, as at that time, the subjects he discussed were like taboo.

He married Constance Lloyd in 1884 with whom he had two sons, the last one born in 1886. Shortly, he started his first gay relationship with Robbie Ross.


At the end of the 1890 he writes many operas that bring him great success and fame, but his personal life starts to decline. After ostentatiously shows off his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, he gets arrested for two years for immoral behavior. His wife and children leave him and change their names so that no one can recognize them.

He gets released in 1897, but he finds himself ruined after the luxurious relationship with Lord Douglas and fallen into disgrace in the eyes of the public because of his scandalous lifestyle. He moved to France in the same year where he died at the end of 1900 from a meningitis, alone and forgotten.


The last works, after the trial and after being in jail, clearly show the distance from its aesthetic principles. In the “De profundis” confession (1897), he does not waste any brilliant paradoxes, but tells a great deal of pain in his soul about his struggle. The idea that life is a whirlwind of suffering that people cause to each other is the basis of Oscar Wilde’s latest poem, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”, written in 1898. It was written under the impression of the execution of one of the detainees who was with him in prison and who has been convicted of having murdered his girlfriend.

Oscar Wilde was a remarkable stylist who used to paint through words, painting before the eyes of the reader’s fantasy pictures of amazing beauty. Viewed in its entirety, his creation mirrored the decline of humanism and the cult of art in what he has elevated. Although he was vastly criticized at the time, his works are of an amazing value and style and made him one of the greatest writes of the 19th century. After all, all geniuses are seen as crazy in their own world, aren’t they?

© picnicontheshelf, April 26, 2018

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