Entries in LGBT Rights/Issues (27)
On this day, October 16, 1854, Irish poet, dramatist and playwright, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin. Ireland. He was the second of three children born to writer Jane Francesca Agnes née Elgee and surgeon Sir William Robert Wills Wilde.
In 1871, he attended Trinity College in Dublin, and later went on to study the classics at Magdalen College, Oxford, England from 1874-1878. At Magdalen, he came under the influence of writer and critic Walter Pater and helped found the Aesthetic Movement, whose message was "art for art's sake."
Wilde himself was profoundly affected by beauty. He dressed and lived flamboyantly compared to the more conservative Victorian styles of the time, and came under much moral criticism in America and parts of Europe. Many of his writings, such as The Picture of Dorian Gray, with homoerotic themes were also quite controversial. He was vilified by many, but continued to win praise from other playwrights of the day, like George Bernard Shaw, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Walt Whitman.
Fictional works by Wilde:
- The Canterville Ghost (1887)
- The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888)
- The Portrait of Mr. W. H. (1889)
- A House of Pomegranates (1891)
- The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
- Lord Arthur Savile's Crime (1891)
- Intentions (essays, 1891)
- Plus many more you can see here at oscarwildecollection.com
His plays include:
- Vera, or the Nihilists (1880)
- The Duchess of Padua (1883)
- Lady Windermere's Fan (1892)
- A Florentine Tragedy (La Sainte Courtisane 1893)
- A Woman of No Importance (1893)
- Salomé (1894)
- An Ideal Husband (1895)
- The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
Poetry: PoemHunter.com offers this bountiful list of Wilde's poetry.
In 1884, Wilde married Constance Mary Lloyd and together, they had two sons; Cyril (who was killed during World War I), and Vyvyan, who would become the author of his memoir, Son of Oscar Wilde.
Wilde met English poet Lord Alfred Douglas in 1891. This was the start of a tumultuous relationship that would cause many problems for Oscar. Alfred's father did not approve of his son's lifestyle and when he found out that he was living openly with Oscar, he was determined to humiliate him. Due to exposure and actions taken by Alfred's father, Oscar Wilde was eventually charged with "gross indecency" for homosexual acts. After a sensationalized trial, he was sentenced to two years of hard labor at a prison in London. It was at this time that his wife had their sons' last names changed to Holland.
While in prison, Oscar wrote many poems, letters and essays. After his release in May of 1897, Wilde wrote Ballad of Reading Gaol about the injustice of the death penalty and the hanging of Charles Thomas Wooldridge. Soon thereafter, with no money to his name, he took on the name Sebastian Melmoth and moved to Paris. Oscar is said to have reunited with his friend and lover of many years, Canadian journalist Robert Baldwin Ross, who was also executor of Wilde's estate. Oscar died of meningitis in Paris on November 30, 1900 and was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery there. Ross' ashes were added to his tomb in 1950.