Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin into the
family of a distinguished Irish surgeon and educated at Dublin and
Oxford Universities. His mother "was a writer of poetry and prose. Under
the influence of John Ruskin, Wilde joined the Aesthetic Movement and
soon became its leader. He made himself the apostle of "art for art's
sake" and of the cult of beauty. In 1882 he made a triumphant tour of
the United States lecturing on the Aesthetic Movement in England.
The next ten years saw the appearance of all his major works. They
include fairy-tales: The Happy Prince (1888), A House of Pomegranates
(1891), stories: Lord Arthur Savile's Crime (1891), the novel The
Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), several sparkling comedies, up to now
repeatedly produced all over the world: Lady Windermere's Fan (1893), A
Woman of No Importance (1894), An Ideal Husband (1895), The Importance
of Being Earnest (1895). Oscar Wilde also wrote poems, political and
literary essays (The Soul of Man under Socialism, Intentions, 1891) and
various occasional pieces on history, drama and painting. He had the
reputation of a brilliant society wit. Wilde's splendid literary career
and social position suddenly collapsed when in 1895 he was sentenced to
a two-years' term of imprisonment for immoral practices. After his
release he lived in obscurity in France. In 1898 he published his
best-known poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol.
An abridged version of his prose confession bearing the Latin name of De
Profundis (Out of the Depths) was printed posthumously, its full text
only to appear as late as 1962. The writer's aesthetic views are
disclosed in the three essays of Intentions (The Decay of Lying, The
Critic as an Artist, and Pen, Pencil and Poison) and, in his most
brilliantly paradoxical style, in the famous preface to Dorian Gray:
The artist is the creator of beautiful things.
To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim...
They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.
There is no such thing as moral or immoral book.
Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
All art is quite useless.
Fortunately, Oscar Wilde's work disproves his own statements, thus
adding another paradox to his life and work.
Irish wit, poet, and dramatist whose reputation rests on his comic
masterpieces Lady Windermere's Fan (1892) and The Importance of Being
Earnest (1895). He was a spokesman for the late 19th-century Aesthetic
movement in England, which advocated art for art's sake; and he was the
object of celebrated civil and criminal suits involving homosexuality
and ending in his imprisonment (1895-97).
Wilde was born of professional and literary parents. His father, Sir
William Wilde, was Ireland's leading ear and eye surgeon, who also
published books on archaeology, folklore, and the satirist Jonathan
Swift; his mother was a revolutionary poet and an authority on Celtic
myth and folklore.
After attending Portora Royal School, Enniskillen (1864-71), Wilde went,
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