About Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde was born on October 16, 1854, in Dublin, Ireland. He received his education at Trinity College in Dublin and at Magdalen College, Oxford, and eventually settled in London after marrying Constance Lloyd. In London, Wilde found himself socializing with the great Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, and Lillie Langtry, mistress to the Prince of Wales. Wilde adhered to a school of thought known as aestheticism, which taught that art was valuable for its own sake. At the heart of that philosophy is the belief that art that is beautiful does not need to serve any other moral or political purpose: beauty is the ideal and an end unto itself. This was a radical departure from the prevalent trend in Victorian England, which stated that art was both a function of morality and a means of enforcing it.
Wilde's most famous works include Lady Windermere's Fan, (1892), A Woman Of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband(1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). These plays were all extremely well received and firmly established him as a major playwright.
Wilde's theories of art, however, were not the only areas in which he ran counter to prevalent Victorian morality. Wilde was arrested, tried, and convicted of “gross indecency,” for which he was sentenced to two years of hard labor; this experience led him to write “The Ballad of Reading Goal.” After his release, Wilde left England and divided his time between France and Italy, living in poverty. He never published under his own name again.
Oscar Wilde died in Paris on November 30, 1900, having converted to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed.