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. 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." 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.