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[40] Wilde believed that the artist should hold forth higher ideals, and that pleasure and beauty would replace utilitarian ethics. Oscar's mother, Lady Jane Francesca Wilde (1820-1896), was a successful poet and journalist. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for gross indecency for consensual homosexual acts, imprisonment, and early death at age 46. [83], During the late 1880s, Wilde was a close friend of the artist James McNeill Whistler and they dined together on many occasions. To be in it is merely a bore. In addition to his children with his wife, Sir William Wilde was the father of three children born out of wedlock before his marriage: Henry Wilson, born in 1838 to one woman, and Emily and Mary Wilde, born in 1847 and 1849, respectively, to a second woman. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He became more serious in 1878, when he met the Reverend Sebastian Bowden, a priest in the Brompton Oratory who had received some high-profile converts. "[30] The line quickly became famous, accepted as a slogan by aesthetes but used against them by critics who sensed in it a terrible vacuousness. About five months after Wilde arrived at Reading Gaol, Charles Thomas Wooldridge, a trooper in the Royal Horse Guards, was brought to Reading to await his trial for murdering his wife on 29 March 1896; on 17 June Wooldridge was sentenced to death and returned to Reading for his execution, which took place on Tuesday, 7 July 1896 – the first hanging at Reading in 18 years. Oscar was two years younger than his brother, William (Willie) Wilde. The libel trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with men. Aestheticism was sufficiently in vogue to be caricatured by Gilbert and Sullivan in Patience (1881). Within the conventions of the French “well-made play” (with its social intrigues and artificial devices to resolve conflict), he employed his paradoxical, epigrammatic wit to create a form of comedy new to the 19th-century English theatre. [61], Wilde and aestheticism were both mercilessly caricatured and criticised in the press; the Springfield Republican, for instance, commented on Wilde's behaviour during his visit to Boston to lecture on aestheticism, suggesting that Wilde's conduct was more a bid for notoriety rather than devotion to beauty and the aesthetic. His first success, Lady Windermere’s Fan, demonstrated that this wit could revitalize the rusty machinery of French drama. Wilde though, not content with being better known than ever in London, returned to Paris in October 1891, this time as a respected writer. Pater gave Wilde his sense of almost flippant devotion to art, though he gained a purpose for it through the lectures and writings of critic John Ruskin. An intimate friendship sprang up between Wilde and Douglas and by 1893 Wilde was infatuated with Douglas and they consorted together regularly in a tempestuous affair. Douglas lost his case. In 1877, Wilde was left speechless after an audience with Pope Pius IX in Rome. The result was a new play, Salomé, written rapidly and in French. If life imitated art, as Wilde insisted in his essay “The Decay of Lying” (1889), he was himself approximating the pattern in his reckless pursuit of pleasure. As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new "English Renaissance in Art" and interior decoration, and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Oscar_Wilde&oldid=995555064, 19th-century Irish dramatists and playwrights, Converts to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism, People prosecuted under anti-homosexuality laws, People who have received posthumous pardons, Freemasons of the United Grand Lodge of England, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, Wikipedia pending changes protected pages, Short description is different from Wikidata, National Portrait Gallery (London) person ID same as Wikidata, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CINII identifiers, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with RKDartists identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Epigram, drama, short story, criticism, journalism, This page was last edited on 21 December 2020, at 18:06. [92] Instead of writing a short but serious essay on the question, Wilde tossed the theory amongst the three characters of the story, allowing it to unfold as background to the plot. "My whole life seems ruined by this man. Of Wilde's other close friends, Robert Sherard; Robert Ross, his literary executor; and Charles Ricketts variously published biographies, reminiscences or correspondence. [2] Jane Wilde read the Young Irelanders' poetry to Oscar and Willie, inculcating a love of these poets in her sons. Wilde, lapsing into inaction, could only say, "The train has gone. Wilde was later transferred to London’s Reading Gaol, where he remained until his release in 1897. Queensberry was arrested for criminal libel; a charge carrying a possible sentence of up to two years in prison. He was also known for his wit, his flamboyance, and his trials and jail sentence for homosexual acts. The modernist angel depicted as a relief on the tomb was originally complete with male genitalia, which were initially censored by French Authorities with a golden leaf. [211], On 14 February 1995, Wilde was commemorated with a stained-glass window at Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. [183] A series of embarrassing chance encounters with hostile English visitors, or Frenchmen he had known in better days, drowned his spirit. Fearing persecution, Ross and many others also left the United Kingdom during this time. 1881 England Census [database on-line]. He once remarked to friends, whom he entertained lavishly, "I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china. Soon Wilde was sufficiently confined to his hotel to joke, on one of his final trips outside, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Pity's long-broken urn, Wilde testified brilliantly, but the jury failed to reach a verdict. [91] Arthur Ransome wrote that Wilde "read something of himself into Shakespeare's sonnets" and became fascinated with the "Willie Hughes theory" despite the lack of biographical evidence for the historical William Hughes' existence. His only remaining work, however, was The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), revealing his concern for inhumane prison conditions. DOWNLOAD OPTIONS … Carson pressed Wilde on each topic from every angle, squeezing out nuances of meaning from Wilde's answers, removing them from their aesthetic context and portraying Wilde as evasive and decadent. According to Fox's testimony in Donahoe's Magazine in 1905, Jane Wilde would visit his chapel in Glencree, County Wicklow, for Mass and would take her sons with her. [168] Wilde's response "And I? [176] Wilde requested, among others: the Bible in French; Italian and German grammars; some Ancient Greek texts, Dante's Divine Comedy, Joris-Karl Huysmans's new French novel about Christian redemption En route, and essays by St Augustine, Cardinal Newman and Walter Pater.[177]. [124] Wilde was commissioned to write two more plays and An Ideal Husband, written in 1894,[125] followed in January 1895. "I dreamt that I had died, and was supping with the dead!" Wilde's association with blackmailers and male prostitutes, cross-dressers and homosexual brothels was recorded, and various persons involved were interviewed, some being coerced to appear as witnesses since they too were accomplices to the crimes of which Wilde was accused. And if I catch you and my son again in any public restaurant I will thrash you" to which Wilde responded: "I don't know what the Queensberry rules are, but the Oscar Wilde rule is to shoot on sight". Wilde's parents were Anglo-Irish intellectuals in Dublin. He spent the first several months at London’s Pentonville Prison, where he was put to work picking oakum. [50], Though the book sold out its first print run of 750 copies it was not generally well received by the critics, Punch for example saying "The poet is Wilde, but his poetry's tame". Wilde’s case collapsed, however, when the evidence went against him, and he dropped the suit. [133] His account in De Profundis was less triumphant: "It was when, in my library at Tite Street, waving his small hands in the air in epileptic fury, your father... stood uttering every foul word his foul mind could think of, and screaming the loathsome threats he afterwards with such cunning carried out". 157 ] Carson pressed him on the subject of Classics, in England had! At 21 Westland Row, Dublin, Ireland the success of the book incorporates rediscovered letters other! Who emigrated to Ireland or Britain not published again the broken friendship between Wilde and contact us for! 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