Fact File: Oscar Wilde

Fact File: Oscar Wilde

Find out more about the playwright, author and social activist.

NAME: Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde

BORN: 1854, Dublin, Ireland.

EDUCATION: Trinity College, Dublin. Magdalen College, Oxford. 

EARLY YEARS: Florence Balcombe, a childhood sweetheart of Oscar Wilde's, married Bram Stoker the writer of Dracula in 1878.

LANGUAGES: Fluent in English, German, French and had a working knowledge of Italian and Greek. Could not speak Irish

PIONEER: After continuing to contribute poetry to magazines after University, Wilde became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism. The Aesthetic Movement of the 19th century argued that art should exist for art’s sake only.

LONDON: Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles, he was considered an early Victorian celebrity, and became well known throughout Europe and the British Isles.

WRITING: Oscar Wilde wrote as a journalist and also wrote plays, poems, short stories, essays and a novel.

NOVEL: Oscar Wilde wrote only one novel; The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891). 

NOTEABLE PLAYS: An Ideal Husband, Lady Windermere's Fan, The Importance of Being Earnest and A Woman of No Importance among others.

WITTICISMS: Wilde is one of the most quotable people who wrote in the English language, famed for his wit, many famous quotes are attributed to him.

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars"

IMPRISONMENT: After attempting to sue John Douglas for libel, Wilde was convicted of homosexuality in 1895. He was sent to prison and forced to do hard labour

LAST WORDS: His last words are reported to be: ‘My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go. Oscar Wilde died in Paris in 1900 at the age of 46.

PARDON: In 2017, Wilde was among an estimated 50,000 men who were pardoned for homosexual acts that were no longer considered offences under the Policing and Crime Act 2017.