Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on October 16 in 1854, in Dublin, Ireland. Wilde was a wit, playwright, poet, dramatist, and an aesthete.
Let’s read some more Oscar Wilde facts. Why was his existence a ‘scandal’? Who is Lord Alfred Douglas? What is Reading Gaol?
1. Oscar Wilde Facts: Family
Wilde’s father, Sir William Wilde, was a known photo-ophthalmologic surgeon. Besides that, Sir William wrote books on folklore and Irish archeology, and he opened a fees-free medical clinic for the poor. Oscar’s mother, Jane Wilde was a poet, she wrote under the pen name of ‘Speranza.’
Oscar’s sister Isola died at the age of 10 due to meningitis. Wilde had a brother named William, they both had a lot in common; for that reason, Oscar once paid him to grow a beard to look alike.
2. Oscar Wilde Facts: Education
Wilde memorized German and French languages before he was 9. He studied in Portora Royal School, where people considered him an intellectual for scanning a 3-book novel in 30 minutes and uttering the plot.
Wilde went to Trinity College, where he had to share a room with his brother William Wilde from 1871 to 1874. He got attracted to aestheticism and ancient languages right after he joined Trinity. He was good in his studies; he came first in his first year, won a scholarship in second through a competitive exam, and won the Berkeley Gold Medal, the university’s highest academic in his finals.
In the year 1874, he entered Magdalene College, Oxford University. Oxford Wilde was popular for his aesthetics and dandy nature. In November 1878, Wilde graduated with a double first in his Bachelor’s Degree of Greats and Classical Moderation. After finishing his education, he went to London.
3. Oscar Wilde Facts: Marriage
Oscar got wedded to Constance Lloyd, daughter of a popular Irish lawyer. When Lady Constance’s father asked Oscar why he fell in love with his daughter, Wilde replied it was because Lady Constance talked very little.
There were stories that Wilde was disturbed by Lady Lloyd when she got expectant. Oscar Wilde even said that she was slim and white like a lily when he married her, but she became misshapen and heavy a year after. They still had their son Cyril and Vyvyan. Wilde even warned the prince and tales for his sons that he later published.
4. Oscar Wilde Facts: Dandy
Oscar’s self-mockery and fashion in clothes occurred when he was in Trinity College. When Wilde went to Oxford, he purchased brighter patterns of tweed suits and tilted hats. He even made himself a bronze-red shade jacket, which he saw in his dream.
He used to wear bright red and purple shirts when he was in school. Oscar wrapped his room with lilies, sunflowers, peacock feathers, and pieces of art.
5. Oscar Wilde Facts: Works
Oscar Wilde’s only novel, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray,’ was initially published in 1890. This book scandalized England during the Victorian era, and this novel was utilized as a testimony against Wilde when he was sentenced for homosexuality.
Between 1891 and 1895, Oscar became popular in London, and he composed plays named ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ ‘Lady Windermere’s Farm,’ ‘Salomé,’ ‘Woman of No Importance,’ and ‘An Ideal Husband.’
Some of his notable poems are ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol,’ ‘The Sphinx,’ ‘Requiescat,’ ‘Magdalen Walks,’ ‘The Grave of Keats,’ ‘Sonnet to Liberty,’ ‘Her Voice,’ ‘The Garden of Eros,’ and ‘Apologia.’ The journals addressed him as one of the best playwrights and applauded his realism.
6. Oscar Wilde Facts: Lord Alfred Douglas
In 1891, Wilde met Lord Alfred Douglas; this meeting was the tremendous catastrophe of his life and career. Oscar used to spend a lot of money, and often he used to stay away from home, and he told his wife it was for his writing. Alfred Douglas didn’t want to keep their relationship private; he wanted everyone to know about their connection.
Wilde was sentenced to two years of imprisonment under the allegation of homosexuality, sodomy, and immorality made by John Douglas, Alfred’s father and Marquess of Queensberry.
After 6 months of hard labor and serious imprisonment, Wilde was sent to reading jail. The cell’s climate and poor food damaged the poet’s health, and he endured insomnia and sickness. Almost all of his friends ceased contact with him, including his Bosie, as Douglas was recognized. The entire time Wilde was in the cell, Douglas was abroad selling things that Wilde brought him.
7. Oscar Wilde Facts: Ballad of the Reading Gaol
Oscar Wilde left the cell in 1897; he moved to France, changed his name to Sebastian Melmoth, and wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol, one of Wilde’s most prominent poems, his last one.
The poem is about his period and experience in the cell. The poem primarily enunciates about the execution of one of the cell members named Charles Thomas Wooldridge.
He explained how the thought of his execution saddened other captives, whereas Wooldridge appeared all right. He wrote how none of the prisoners could sleep before the day of execution, but Wooldridge slept soundly. Wilde believed he is in ‘peace’ or will be in ‘peace’ after the action is done.
He even published few articles writing ideas about prisons and captives’ betterment, some of which were executed. During his final year in the cell, Wilde wrote De Profundis, a long letter that enunciates his dark days.
Oscar Wilde passed away when he was just 46 years old. Although Wilde died of meningitis, there were rumors that his demise was syphilis, but after modern physicians went through few medical examinations, they inferred that the real reason for his death was an ear infection, which occurred while he was in prison. Wilde subsisted an incredibly scandalous life till November 30, 1900
What do you think about The Ballad of Reading Gaol? What is your take on The Picture of Dorian Gray? What do you think of Oscar Wilde and his scandalous life? Let us know in the comment section – Oscar Wilde Facts.