The Importance of Being Earnest book report - detailed analysis, book summary, literary elements, character analysis, Oscar Wilde biography, and everything necessary for active class participation. Introduction The Importance of Being Earnest is a comical play first performed on the London stage in 1895. It opened to … [Read more...] about The Importance of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde (full name: Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde) was born on October 16th, 1854, in Dublin, Ireland. He was the leader in the aesthetic movement that was based on the principle of art for art's sake.
Educated at the Trinity College in Dublin, Wilde was inundated with the brilliant literary discussions of the time at his mother's Dublin salon. He went on to study at Oxford. There he excelled in the classics, wrote poetry, and turned the Bohemian lifestyle from his youth into a new wave. As an aesthete, Wilde wore his hair long and velvet knee-breeches. He filled his rooms with sunflowers, peacock feathers, and china. He wanted to aspire to the perfection of china. Though ridiculed in periodicals and mocked in the comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, Patience (1891) for his eccentricities, Wilde's brilliance, wit, and flair gathered him a lot of followers.
Wilde was a successful playwright and poet. His poetry was first published in 1881. and led to more successes and lecture tours. He married in 1884 to a wealthy Irish woman and had two sons. Wilde devoted himself to writing exclusively. He wrote some of his most auspicious works during this time, including The Happy Prince, The Picture of Dorian Gray, An Ideal Husband, and The Importance of Being Earnest. A great many of his plays are being performed on the stage and screen to this day.
At the peak of his career, in 1895, Oscar Wilde was embroiled in one of the most sensational trials at the court of the century. Oscar had a close friend and suspected lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. Lord Douglas had an abusive father, John Douglas, the 9th Marquess of Queensberry. He was disgusted by his son's homosexuality and blamed Wilde for his son's depravity. For publicly slandering him, Wilde sued the Marquess. The Marquess retaliated by having Wilde arrested for sodomy.
After a long and salacious trial, Oscar Wilde was accused and convicted of sodomy. Wilde was sentenced to two years of hard labor, and Lord Douglas was forced into exile. Afterward, Wilde was bankrupt and depressed, his writing took a much darker tone. The two reunited after Wilde's release from prison, but didn't stay together. Douglas later took part in several court cases standing against homosexuality.
Oscar Wilde spent the rest of his life in Paris, he wrote under the pseudonym Sebastian Melmoth. He converted to Roman Catholicism. During this time, he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a poem about the starkness of life in prison and the desperation of prisoners. Although published anonymously, it is hauntingly beautiful. Wilde died of meningitis on November 30th, 1900.
A brilliant writer, Oscar Wilde was before his time. Although his work was celebrated it lost its eminence with his conviction of homosexuality. In today's world, he would not be as stigmatized, but in Victorian England, he was. How many more glorious plays and poetry would he have graced us with if only he had not been so punished?
The Happy Prince
The Happy Prince book report - detailed analysis, book summary, literary elements, character analysis, Oscar Wilde biography, and everything necessary for active class participation. Analysis The Happy Prince is a tale with multiple lessons. On one side it is the criticism of the society that can be cruel and … [Read more...] about The Happy Prince
The Picture of Dorian Gray
In July 1890, Lippincott's Monthly Magazine a censored version of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" written by Oscar Wilde appeared. Even edited, the story stirred up such a moral outrage that many reviewers wanted him persecuted. In 1891 Wilde released a longer version in book form with a preface defending the book. In it … [Read more...] about The Picture of Dorian Gray