10 Interesting Facts About Oscar Wilde
What you Probably Know
Oscar Wilde was an Irish author, playwright and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin. He died on November 30, 1900 in Paris.
- His full name was Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde.
- His father, William Wilde, was an acclaimed doctor. He was knighted for his work as medical adviser for the Irish censuses. William Wilde founded St. Mark’s Ophthalmic Hospital to treat the city’s poor.
- An early romantic interest of Oscar Wilde was Florence Balcombe. She eventually became the wife of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.
- In 1882 Wilde began a lecture tour of North America. The subject was Aestheticism, a movement that celebrated beauty and art. During the tour Wilde meet with some of the leading American literary figures of the day, including Henry Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Walt Whitman.
- Wilde married Constance Lloyd on May 29, 1884. The couple had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan.
- In 1891 Wilde met Lord Alfred Douglas. They became lovers. Alfred’s father was John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry. The elder Douglas did not approve of his son’s relationship. Feuding between John Douglas and Wilde eventually led to Wilde being convicted of “gross indecency” for homosexual acts. Wilde was sentenced to two years of hard labor.
- Despite Wilde’s preference for men and the social scandal caused by his trial and imprisonment, Wilde and his wife never divorced. However Constance did change her and her sons’ last name to Holland.
- After his release from prison in 1897 Wilde left England and moved to France. He stayed there until his death.
- Wilde wrote plays and short stories, but only one novel. His only novel is The Picture of Dorian Gray.
- Wilde died of meningitis on November 30, 1900. He was only 46 years old.