Wilde, Oscar (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Oscar Wilde was a nineteenth-century Irish poet, novelist, and playwright who mocked social conventions and outraged English society with his unconventional ideas and behavior. Wilde's relevance to the law is based on his 1895 criminal trial, in which he was convicted of committing homosexual acts and was sentenced to two years in prison. Historians of law and sexuality regard the trial as a pivotal event, as it demonstrated that the legal system could be used to punish gays and lesbians.
Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland, probably on October 16, 1854, although some sources say October 15 or 1856. He was a talented writer who achieved prominenceespite mixed literary criticismith his first effort, Poems, in
1881. Many of his subsequent works are considered classics, including the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and the plays Lady Windermere's Fan (first produced, 1892) and The Importance of Being Earnest (first produced, 1895).
As one of England's most flamboyant and sought-after...
(The entire section is 638 words.)
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