Who was Oscar Wilde?
Oscar Wilde was an Anglo-Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest
playwrights of the Victorian Era. In his lifetime he wrote nine plays, one novel, and numerous poems, short
stories, and essays.
Wilde was a proponent of the Aesthetic movement, which emphasized aesthetic values more than moral or
social themes. This doctrine is most clearly summarized in the phrase 'art for art's sake'.
Birth name: Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde
Birth date: October 16, 1854
Birth place: Dublin, Ireland
Trinity College (Dublin)
Magdalen College (Oxford)
Father: Sir William Wilde (eye doctor)
Mother: Jane Francesca Elgee (poet and journalist)
Siblings: brother William, sister Isola
Spouse: Constance Lloyd
Children: two sons - Cyril and Vyvyan
Occupation: Playwright, novelist, poet, editor, critic
Period: Victorian era (1837–1901)
Literary movement: Aestheticism
The Picture of Dorian Gray (novel)
The Importance of Being Earnest (play)
The Ballad of Reading Gaol (poem)
Died: November 30, 1900 (aged 46) in Paris, France
Resting place: Le Pére Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France
A Short Biography
Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin on 16 October 1854 to Sir William Wilde and his wife Jane. Oscar's
mother, Lady Jane Francesca Wilde (1820-1896), was a successful poet and journalist. She wrote patriotic Irish
verse under the pseudonym "Speranza". Oscar's father, Sir William Wilde (1815 - 1876), was a leading ear and eye
surgeon, a renowned philanthropist and gifted writer, who wrote books on archaeology and folklore. Oscar had an
elder brother, Willie, and a younger sister, Isola Francesca, who died at the early age of 10.
He was educated at Portora Royal School (1864-71), Trinity College, Dublin (1871-74), and Magdalen
College, Oxford (1874-78). While at Oxford, he became involved in the aesthetic movement and became an
advocate for 'Art for Art's Sake' (L'art pour l'art). Whilst at Magdalen, he won the 1878 Newdigate Prize for his
Oscar Wilde in New York After he graduated, he moved to Chelsea in London (1879) to establish a literary
career. In 1881, he published his first collection of poetry - Poems that received mixed reviews by critics. He
worked as an art reviewer (1881), lectured in the United States and Canada (1882), and lived in Paris (1883). He
also lectured in Britain and Ireland (1883 - 1884).
On May 29, 1884, Oscar married Constance Lloyd (died 1898), daughter of wealthy Queen's Counsel
Horace Lloyd. They had two sons, Cyril (1885) and Vyvyan (1886). To support his family, Oscar accepted a job
as the editor of Woman's World magazine, where he worked from 1887-1889.