Amongst the many supernatural treats within these pages you will encounter a married farmer bewitched by a dead girl; a ghostly bell which saves a woman’s reputation; the weird spectral eyes which terrorise the midnight hours of an elderly aesthete; the haunted man who receives letters from his dead wife; and the frightening power of a doppelganger which foreshadows a terrible tragedy.
Oscar Wilde was an Irish author, playwright and poet. He’s remembered for his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray as well was other works. 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.
What you May Not Know
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.
Novel by Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)
Partial List of Short Stories by Oscar Wilde
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories (1891) Including The Canterville Ghost first published in periodical form in 1887.
Barrie’s formed a cricket team, the Allah-Akabarries. Some of Barrie’s teammates included, Conan Dolye, H. G. Wells, Jerome K. Jerome, P. G. Wodehouse, A. E. W. Mason, E. V. Lucas, E. W. Hornung, Maurice Hewlett, A. A. Milne (of Winnie the Pooh fame) and G. K. Chesterton.
As you may know, I’m also the publisher of a website on the life and work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There’s a lot about Conan Doyle that’s not commonly known. For example, Conan Doyle was a doctor. When he’d completed his third year of medical studies he signed up for he adventure of a lifetime. He signed on as the ship’s surgeon of a whaling vessel, the Hope. You can read more about this at the Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Conan Doyle’s time in the Arctic provided powerful fuel for his growing ambitions as a writer. With a ghost story set in the Arctic wastes that he wrote shortly after his return, he established himself as a promising young writer. A subsequent magazine article laying out possible routes to the North Pole won him the respect of Arctic explorers. And he would call upon his shipboard experiences many times in the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, who was introduced in 1887’s A Study in Scarlet.
Out of sight for more than a century was a diary that Conan Doyle kept while aboard the whaler. Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure makes this account available for the first time in a beautiful facsimile edition that reproduces Conan Doyle’s notebook pages in his own elegant hand, accompanied by his copious illustrations. With humor and grace, Conan Doyle provides a vivid account of a long-vanished way of life at sea. His careful detailing of the experience of arctic whaling is equal parts fascinating and alarming, revealing the dark workings of the later days of the British whaling industry. In addition to the facsimile and annotated transcript of the diary, the volume contains photographs of the Hope, its captain, and a young Conan Doyle on deck with its officers; two nonfiction pieces by Doyle about his experiences; and two of his tales inspired by the journey.
What do Charles Dickens, Algernon Blackwood, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and W.B.Yeats all have in common? They were members of The Ghost Club.
The Ghost Club is the oldest organization in the world associated with research of psychic events and issues. The group was founded in 1862 and exists today. Their website states:
Today the Ghost Club is a non-profit, social club run by an elected Council of volunteers and its purpose remains true to its roots; the Ghost Club offers open-minded, curious individuals the opportunity to debate, explore and investigate unexplained phenomena with like-minded people and record the results for posterity.