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Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in 1854 in Dublin. His father was the eminent surgeon Sir William Wilde and his mother a literary hostess. Studying classics first at Trinity College in Dublin, before going on to Magdalen College, Oxford, Wilde proved to be a brilliant scholar - winning the Newdigate Prize for his poem 'Ravenna'.
His first collection, Poems, was published in 1881 shortly before he embarked on a one-year lecture tour of North America.
After 1890 Wilde had increasing success on stage with his shrewd and sparkling comedies, Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895) and his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Ernest (1895). Wilde's last play Salom‰ written in French, was refused a licence in London but was later adapted for opera by Richard Strauss. Translated by Wilde's close friend Lord Alfred Douglas ('Bosie'), it later appeared for publication in England.
Douglas's father the Marquess of Queensberry strongly disapproved of the notorious playwright and after he publicly insulted Wilde, a quarrel ensued which eventually led to Wilde's imprisonment for homosexual offences. He was sentenced to two years with hard labour, which left him on his release in 1897, bankrupt and weakened. Relying on the generosity of friends he went to live in France, adopting the name of Sebastian Melmoth. While here he wrote his most famous poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol. Wilde died in exile in France in 1900.
Source: Penguin Web Site (http://www.penguin.co.uk/penguin/authors/643.html). Accessed March 13th 1998.
The University of Toronto English Library is a project of the Department of English and the Faculty of Arts and Science, funded by the Provost's Electronic Courseware Fund. UTEL was created by Ian Lancashire, Christopher Douglas, and Dennis G. Jerz. We wish to thank the University of Toronto Information Commons, and the members of the Centre for Academic Technology, especially John Bradley, Ian Graham, and Allen Forsyth. See individual Works pages for other credits. The author portrait is reproduced from The Oscar Wilde Gallery (http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/2537/oscar.html). Accessed March 13th 1998.
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