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Oscar Wilde : Life, Works, Drama

letteratura inglese

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Oscar Wilde


Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854, and he was son of Sir William Wilde, a well-known surgeon, and Jane Elgee, a fervent nationalist who, to compensate her frustrated expectations of a daughters, dressed little Oscar with girl's clothes (maybe this was the cause of his homosexual inclinations).

He was educated in Dublin until 1874, 515g68f and it's here that he first revealed his unconventional personality (he didn't like sports and games, drinking or whoring, preferring fishing and solitude), but he read a lot and won a Gold Medal of Greek and a scholarship for Magdalene College, in Oxford, where he went in 1874 and spent four happy years; it was here that he established a reputation of anticonformist, wonderful entertainer and brilliant talker.

Here he was influenced, among his teacher, by John Ruskin and Walter Pater: the first attracted Wilde for his socialist ideas; the second taught him a new sense of art without moral responsibility.

While at Oxford he made some trips with Professor Mahaffy, that taught him to love Hellenism.

So, having took the laureateship in Oxford, and being well-known as a poet, he moved to London in 1878: here he started to draw the attraction to himself having original way of life (he could be seen walking up and down in Piccadilly with a sunflower in his hands).

In constant need of money to support his wordly existence, he accepted an invitation to lecture in 1882.

In 1884 married Constance Lloyd, and he was obliged to search a job in little journal; in 1891 grow in importance and fame thanks to his "Picture of Dorian Gray", but when his was at the peak of his carrier he sued the Marquis of Queensbury, that had accused him of a homosexual relationship with his son, the Lord Alfred Douglas. Wilde was arrested, tried and sentenced to two years of hard labour. His financial ruin was complete.

While in prison he suffered every sort of humiliations (he also couldn't write or read), and when was released he lived like a broken man: he adopted the name of Sebastian Melmoth, and he took some time in Naples and Switzerland, writing against the prison life.

Then he settled in Paris where he died on November 30th of 1900 of meningitis, and he converted to Catholicism just before his death.

Britain decided to remember him with a memorial in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey in 1995, exactly 100 years later he moved to London.


The best of Wilde works are:




The Ballad of Reading Gaol


The Canterville Ghost

The Happy Prince and other Tales

The portrait of Mr W.H.

Lord Arthure Savile's Crime and other stories


The Decay of Lying

The Soul of Man under Socialism

De Profundis


The Picture of Dorian Gray, published first in 1890 and finally in 1891 including The Preface, that is the Manifesto of English Aestheticism.


Vera, or the Nihilist

The Duchess of Padua


A Woman of No Importance

An Ideal Husband

The importance of Being Earnest

The name of Wilde is closely connected with the Aestheticism, altough he stood apart from the other decadents, so he don't isolate himself from the world, but he did his best to be publicly popular and successful.

Wilde isn't a poet, even if the Preface of  "The Picture of Dorian Gray" can be read as a kind of poem, in which Wilde wrote his conception of art and artist. The work branded as immoral when it appeared, it actually reads as a sort of morality, whose conclusion sound like a punishement of a life devoted to the external aspect. So, in his Preface, Wilde stressed the integrity ands coherence of the artist, who must always be in accord with himself.


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