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Oscar Wilde entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
Timeline
Excerpts
Works By
Oscar Wilde's significance as poet, playwright, and writer of prose fiction, remained in eclipse for many years after his notorious trial and imprisonment in Reading Gaol, events whose chilling impact on poetry and prose in England was not reversed until the modernists returned to the struggle for unfettered aesthetic expression. A leading proponent of art for art's sake in England, Oscar Wilde was a follower of Walter Pater, from whose work he borrows in lavish quantity, and, like Pater, he was much influenced by the French l'art pour l'art poets, notably Charles Baudelaire and Théophile Gautier. Bibliographic Citation link. More recently, his brilliant aesthetic essays have drawn serious attention as "the basis for many critical propositions . . . which we like to attribute to more ponderous names." Bibliographic Citation link. His notoriety as a casualty of oppressive laws against the practice of homosexuality is also the subject of a good deal of recent critical comment.
Milestones
16 October 1854 OW was born in Dublin, the middle child of the Irish poet Jane Francesca Wilde ('Speranza'). Bibliographic Citation link.
November 1875 According to bibliographer Michael Sadleir, OW's earliest publication was a "Chorus of Cloud Maidens" which appeared in the Dublin University Magazine. Bibliographic Citation link.
14 February 1895 OW's best-known play opened in London, The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People. Bibliographic Citation link.
13 February 1898 OW published The Ballad of Reading Gaol. It was anonymous, but bore his prison number, 'C. 3. 3.' Bibliographic Citation link.
30 November 1900 OW, Irish playwright, died in exile in a Paris hotel. Bibliographic Citation link.
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