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Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was born in Dublin, Ireland, the second child of parents Sir William and Jane Wilde. Oscar studied classics at Trinity College in Dublin and continued his studies at Magdalen College, Oxford. Although he cultivated a “bad boy” image at school, he won the 1878 Newdigate Prize for his poem “Revenna,” and graduated the same year with a double major in Classical Moderations and Literae Humaniores. With an inheritance from his father, he moved to London, where he worked as a lecturer and continued to write poetry. In 1881 he published his first collection of poems.

In 1884 Wilde married Constance Lloyd, but the marriage faltered after he had an affair with the young Robert Ross. During the 1880s, Wilde expanded his writing to journalism, critical reviews, essays, short stories and editorial work. He then turned to plays, becoming one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s.

In 1895 Wilde was publicly accused of the crime of sodomy. There was a huge scandal, and he was arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned for two years of hard labor. After he was released from prison, he fled to France where he died of meningitis in 1900.

One of Wilde’s most important works is the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, published in the July 1890 issue of Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. The young Dorian Gray poses for a portrait by Basil Hallward, an artist who is infatuated with him. Through Hallward, Gray meets the hedonistic Lord Henry Wotton. Worrying that his youth and beauty will fade, Gray sells his soul to make sure it is the portrait that fades, and not himself. Later he repents, of course, and tries to reclaim his soul.

This information is from Wilde’s article at Wikipedia. He was a complex and brilliant man and this is only a brief summary of his life. See the article here.

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