Discover: Oscar Wilde, the Iconic Writer, Extravagant Man

Born on the 16th of October 1854 in Dublin, Ireland, Oscar Wilde was to become one of the most well known personalities of his day, and one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London.

Early Life

The second of three children, Wilde was born to intellectual parents who were both professionally and socially quite successful. From 1871 until 1874, Wilde studied at Trinity College in Dublin and was an incredible student, winning scholarships as coming first in his class in his first year of studies. In 1974, he moved to Magdalen College in Oxford to continue his academics. While at the school, Wilde became known as an extremely flamboyant dresser and played a large role in both the aesthetic and decadent movements.

Society Life & Early Works

After graduating from Oxford, Wilde began living in London as a bachelor. He published a book of poems that was well received. In 1882 he left for America to carry out a series of lectures across the country. The lectures were extremely successful but he also received harsh criticism for his dress, and personality. After returning from America, Wilde moved to Paris and was soon engaged to Constance Lloyd, whom he married in 1884. While they had two sons, their marriage was strained.

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Oscar Wilde: An Extravagant Lifestyle

Writing

From 1886 to 1891, Wilde engaged in journalistic endeavors, and was discovered to be quite a talented journalist. Through this medium, he wrote about his perspectives on art, literature and life as a whole. Wilde soon became the editor of the magazine The Woman’s World and he reformatted the publication to include articles on parenting and politics. In 1889, he moved on from magazine editing, to working on prose. His most famous works include The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Importance of Being Earnest. The former was Wilde’s only novel, published in 1890, and the latter a play performed initially in 1895.

Wilde’s Later Life

Wilde was arrested in 1895 because of his apparent relations with other men, and spent two years in prison. Upon his release, he began seeking spiritual renewal. He spent the next three years of his life in relative exile, and he passed away in 1900. Though he may have had a tragic end, Oscar Wilde was a man who spent his life creating brilliant and progressive works, and was also someone who also sparked change and could never be forgotten.

by Kendra Murphy

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