Oscar Wilde
(1854-1900)

Died aged c. 46

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays, as well as the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. Wilde's parents were successful Anglo-Irish Dublin intellectuals. Their son became fluent in French and German early in life. At university, Wilde read Greats; he proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. He became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles. As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new "English Renaissance in Art", and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversation, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day. At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). The opportunity to construct aesthetic details precisely, and combine them with larger social themes, drew Wilde to write drama. He wrote Salome (1891) in French in Paris but it was refused a licence for England due to the absolute prohibition of Biblical subjects on the English stage. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The charge carried a penalty of up to two years in prison. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years' hard labour. In 1897, in prison, he wrote De Profundis, which was published in 1905, a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. Upon his release he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of 46.

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Family tree

friend of Alfred Douglas

Commemorated on 13 plaques

Photo of Oscar Wilde blue plaque
Spudgun67 on Wikimedia Commons
Photo of Oscar Wilde blue plaque
Simon Harriyott on Flickr
Photo of Oscar Wilde green plaque
Nick Harrison on Flickr
Photo of Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle green plaque
Spudgun67 on Wikimedia Commons
Photo of Oscar Wilde blue plaque
gnomonic on Flickr
Photo of Oscar Wilde marble plaque
Monceau on Flickr
Photo of Oscar Wilde white plaque
MKSeery on Flickr
Photo of Richard Wagner, Jean Sibelius, and Oscar Wilde grey plaque
Monceau on Flickr
Photo of Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, and Oscar Wilde black plaque
Nick Harrison on Flickr

Oscar Wilde 1854-1900 wit and dramatist lived here

34 Tite Street, Kensington and Chelsea, SW3, London, United Kingdom where they lived

In a house on this site Oscar Wilde 1854-1900 wrote The Importance Of Being Ernest in 1894

The Esplanade, Worthing, United Kingdom where they wrote

The first performances of 'A Woman of no Importance' 19th April 1893 and 'An Ideal Husband' 3rd January 1895 by Oscar Wilde were presented at this theatre

Suffolk Street, London, United Kingdom where they had works performed

Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle dined here with the publisher of 'Lippincott's Magazine' on 30 August 1889, a meeting that led to 'The Sign Of Four' & 'The Picture Of Dorian Gray'

Langham Hotel, 1c Portland Place, London, United Kingdom where they dined

Oscar Wilde 1854-1900 Poet, dramatist, wit lived here 1855-1878

2 Merrion Square, Dublin, Ireland where they lived

Babbacombe Cliff home to one of Britain's most famous playwrights during the winter of 1892-93 Oscar Wilde poet, self-styled leader of the aesthetic movement, wit, playwright and father. Born October 16th 1854 died November 30th 1900. Author of the famous play The Importance Of Being Ernest

Babbacombe Beach Road, Torquay, United Kingdom where they lived

Oscar Wilde 1854-1900 Writer and Wit at school 1864-1871

Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, United Kingdom where they attended school

Oscar Wilde Poète et Dramaturge Né à Dublin Le 15 Octobre 1856 Est mort dans cette maison Le 30 Novembre 1900

English translation: Oscar Wilde Poet and Dramaturge Born in Dublin 15 October 1856 died in this house 30 November 1900 [AWS Translate]

13 Rue des Beaux Arts, Paris, France where they died (1900)

Poet Dramatist Wit Oscar Wilde Do rugadh sa teach seo 16-10-1854

21 Westland Row, Dublin 2, Dublin, Ireland where they was born (1854)

Texas Historical Marker #8031

Excelsior House. Oldest hotel in East Texas. Frame part built in 1850s; brick wing added 1864. Among famous guests during river port days of Jefferson were Presidents Grant and Hayes, and poet Oscar Wilde. Restored 1961-63 by Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1966 #8031

Vale St. and Austin, Jefferson, TX, United States where they was

Ici Charles Baudelaire, Jean Sibelius, Richard Wagner, Oscar Wilde ont honoré Paris de leur séjovr

English translation: Here Charles Baudelaire, Jean Sibelius, Richard Wagner, Oscar Wilde have honoured Paris with their visit

19 quai Voltaire, Paris, France where they was

Taormina Cult #11

Oscar Wilde [full inscription unknown]

Corso Umberto, Taormina, Italy where they stayed (1898)

Theatreland - heart of the performing arts in London St James's Theatre On this site stood the St James's Theatre, demolished in 1957 despite an epic campaign of protest led by Vivien Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier. George Alexander, manager from 1890 - 1918, staged both Oscar Wilde's "Lady Windermere's Fan" and "The Importance of Being Earnest" for the first time. A joint venture by the City of Westminster and the Society of West End Theatre

23-24 King Street, London, United Kingdom where they was