Oscar Wilde - Domaine Public

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde - Domaine Public

par Guide Irlande

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) is one of the greatest names in Irish literature. Of his full name, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde is a Dublin writer who was highly acclaimed worldwide for his naturalistic writings. Imprisoned much later in an English prison for homosexuality, Oscar Wilde, a brilliant writer, will live in success and decline until his death .

Biography of Oscar Wilde

Childhood: Oscar Wilde falls in love with Literature

Statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Street in Dublin - William Murphy - cc

Statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Street in Dublin – William Murphy – cc

Oscar Wilde was born on October 1854 in Dublin. The son of a surgeon (Sir William Robert Wills Wilde) and a nationalist poet (Jane Francesca Elgee), Oscar Wilde led a comfortable life. He studied at the prestigious school of Trinity College and then went on to Magdalen College in Oxford. From that time on, Wilde showed a strong penchant for literature, and possessed an admirable ease of speech. His rather precious attitudes quickly give him a reputation as a dandy that he cannot get rid of…

At the end of his studies, Oscar Wilde returns to Dublin, falls in love with Florence Balcombe, then decides to leave Ireland when he learns that the latter finally wants to marry someone else (Bram Stoker).

Oscar Wilde discovers his homosexuality, and starts his first writing project

In 1879, he moved to London, became editor-in-chief of “The Woman’s World” and then left England for Paris. It was in 1884 that he met Constance Lloyd, his future wife. It is only two years later that he met Robert Ross, a man he fell in love with and who became his lover.

In 1891, Oscar Wilde had his first great success, with his work “Portrait of Dorian Gray”, and became a real fugue from literature in London and Parisian circles. So much so that his reputation goes beyond the borders of Europe, and gives him an important notoriety in the United States!

A year later, he meets Lord Alfred Douglas of Queensberry, falls in love, and fully discloses his homosexual relationship. But this is not to everyone’s liking, and Wilde’s debauched life with his lover will lead him to a lawsuit against Alfred Douglas’ father himself. This trial condemns Oscar Wilde to prison for homosexual acts as early as 1885. There, the Dublin writer seems to suffer enormously from prison conditions. In addition, his wife leaves him to flee abroad, as does his lover Lord Alfred Douglas. Robert Ross, for his part, never stops visiting him…

Alone, Oscar Wilde withdraws to France and locks himself in drugs and alcohol

Overwhelmed by the grief and dread of his imprisonment, Oscar Wilde was released two years later from the English prison in Reading, and shortly afterwards published the poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”, a work dedicated to the theme of imprisonment in which a man sentenced to death expresses himself.

Very affected and now alone, he finally left England for France, on the side of Berneval. Wishing to remain anonymous, he is named Sébastien Melmoth, and sinks into decline, abusing alcohol, drugs and leading a most depraved life. His attitude alerts those around him, but they are unable to save him…

At only 46 years of age, Oscar Wilde died in Paris on November 30, 1900, from meningitis (the diagnosis of this disease on Wilde is still widely controversial today). Shortly before his death, Oscar Wilde is said to have uttered these now famous words: “I die as I have lived, far beyond my means“.

He is now buried in the Parisian cemetery of Père-Lachaise…


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