Oscar Wilde Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1854 - 1900 *** Full Name: Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde *** Occupation: Irish Playwright, Novelist, Essayist and Poet *** Date of Birth: Oscar Wilde was born on October 16th 1854 *** Place of Birth: Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland *** Family background: His father was Sir William Wilde and his mother Jane Francesca Agnes Elgee who in her own right published under the name of Speranza *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with an older brother William and younger sister called Isola. His father also had three older illegitimate children who were brought up by relatives but who he clearly acknowledged *** Education: Oscar Wilde was educated at home until he was nine years of age where he was taught by a German governor and French bonne, he then attended Portora Royal School in Enniskillen *** Death: Oscar Wilde died on November 30,1900
Oscar Wilde Fact 1: Oscar Wilde was born on October 16th 1854 and during the 19th century period in history when many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish, first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.
Oscar Wilde Fact 2: His little sister Isola, died of meningitis at just nine years of age, he wrote a poem in her memory, Requiescat which began “Tread lightly, she is near Under the snow, Speak gently, she can hear The daisies grow”.
Oscar Wilde Fact 3: When he had completed his school education he matriculated to Trinity College in Dublin and shared his rooms with his older brother Willie. One of his favorite tutors was J.P.Mahaffy about who he said “my first and best teacher” and “the scholar who showed me how to love Greek things”.
Oscar Wilde Fact 4: Oscar Wilde also attended the University Philosophical Society and he was also largely encouraged to compete for a demyship to Magdalen College in Oxford. Having studied Greek for more than nine years he won easily.
Oscar Wilde Fact 5: Whilst in Oxford, Oscar Wilde learned of the Masonic Lodge and applied to join, and was raised to the “Sublime Degree of Master Mason”.
Oscar Wilde Fact 6: He gave considerable thought to converting to Catholicism and was even privy to an audience with Pope Pius IX in Rome. He would not go through with the conversation.
Oscar Wilde Fact 7: When Oscar Wilde had completed his education in Oxford he returned home to Ireland where he met a childhood sweetheart again, Florence Balcombe who later would marry Bram Stoker in 1878.
Oscar Wilde Fact 8: After the death of his father he used his inheritance to travel to London and set up home there. Over the next six years he spent his time travelling between the United States, Paris and London where he was delivering lectures.
Oscar Wilde Fact 9: Having had poems published regularly since he had attended Trinity College, he was also having poems and lyrics published in magazines as well.
Oscar Wilde Fact 10: By the time had reached twenty seven he published a book of Poems that sold out after its initial publication of seven hundred and fifty copies and went in for reprinting.
Oscar Wilde Fact 11: One of his early plays, Vera, turned away from London, opened in New York in 1883. Although the audiences received it well, as soon as the critics turned cool on so the attendance began to dwindle.
Oscar Wilde Fact 12: During 1881 he was introduced to the daughter of Horace Lloyd, a very well off Queen’s Counsel, Constance. He would proposed to her in 1884 and they were married that year in Paddington, London. Together they had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan.
Oscar Wilde Fact 13: From 1886 to 1889 he became a contributor of various journals over artistic matters on which he reviewed and commented in a journalistic style.
Oscar Wilde Fact 14: It would seem he had a certain flair for this type of writing and his talent did not go unnoticed. He would in time become the editor of The Lady’s World magazine which he would rename The Woman’s World and completely overhaul the contents, bringing it more up market and including articles on parenting and culture as well as politics and fiction.
Oscar Wilde Fact 15: By 1888 Oscar Wilde had produced his own short story, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, and in 1891 produced two move books entitled Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories and A House of Pomegranates.Oscar Wilde Fact 19: It would be the father of a friend of Wilde’s, the Marquess of Queensberry that would be the downfall of him. A brutish man and outspoken he had frequently questioned Wilde on the nature of his friendship with his son.
Oscar Wilde Fact 16: It was in 1890 that the first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray would be published and heavily criticized.
Oscar Wilde Fact 17: By 1892 Oscar Wilde had found his niche and produced Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance and An Ideal Husband.
Oscar Wilde Fact 18: It would be in 1894 that he would produce what would become known has his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest. It saw its first outing at St James Theatre in London on February 14th 1894 and would become and remain his most popular play.
Oscar Wilde Fact 20: Queensberry was determined to cause grief for Wilde and so accused him of unnatural acts for which Wilde decided to prosecute for libel. The case would go to court and would very much go against Wilde to the point were he not only had to withdraw his case, thus Queensberry was found not guilty and Wilde responsible for the enormous costs involved which would bankrupt him.
Oscar Wilde Fact 21: Having dropped the case he was left open for prosecution himself on gross indecency and sodomy for which he was arrested and stood trial. He would be found guilty and sentenced to two years hard labour.
Oscar Wilde Fact 22: Hard labor was particularly hard on Oscar Wilde and would eventually wear him down to the extent that he collapsed and would spend two months in the prison infirmary. Once released from prison he left for the continent.
Oscar Wilde Fact 23: Oscar Wilde spent his last three years living in impoverished exile in France.
Oscar Wilde Fact 24: Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde died of cerebral meningitis on November 30,1900 aged forty-six years. His body laid to rest at the Cimetiere de Bagneux just outside of Paris, before being re-interred at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery just inside Paris.
Influence & Legacy: Virtually all of Oscar Wilde’s work is available throughout the world. Many of his works have been written into screenplays and produced as feature films enjoyed the world over.