Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born and grew up in Dublin. He was the son of a surgeon, Sir William Wilde and the writer Jane Francesca Elgee.
From his school days and certainly at Oxford University, the beginnings of his fanatical aestheticism could be found in his extravagant dress sense and consummate style. Until his first expression of homosexual feelings in 1886, Oscar Wilde's works were shallow or derivative.
However, his sexual revelation seemed to be a turning point: his productivity increased, and the quality improved. The guilt he felt about his homosexuality and his treatment of his wife, Constance (who he had married in 1884), and their two children, could be seen to have completed his ability to write on the themes of evil, crime and suffering. He wrote The Importance of Being Earnest (his last play) in 1886.
By 1890, Wilde seemed to have come to the conclusion that the 'evil' in himself could not be controlled, and so explored the theme not within the safe confines of a fairytale, but in a dark, sinister novel with a tragic ending: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891).
Oscar Wilde was one of the most famous writers of the nineteenth century. He was an author, playwright and great wit. He preached the importance of style in both life and art, and he attached Victorian narrow-mindedness and complacency. Most writers, whatever their professions, wrote with something of the emphasis and authority of the schoolmaster addressing his pupils. In spite of this common feature, Victorian writers are very different in their styles. They were individualists, and each had his own personality, which was strongly presented in his style.
Oscar Wilde was one of the Victorian aesthetes* and tried to write the work that should be beautiful in its colour and cadence. His writing is highly wrought. Despite the fact that O.Wilde has probably been written about more than most nineteenth-century writers, his place and reputation continue to be uncertain.
Wilde’s extraordinary personality and wit have so dominated the imaginations of most biographers and critics that their estimates of his work have too often consisted of sympathetic tributes to a writer whose literary production was little more than a faint reflection of his brilliant talk or the manifestation of what a reviewer for the “Times Literary Supplement” called his “lawlessness”. Indeed, Wilde’s remark that he had put his genius into his life and only his talent into his art has provided support to those who regard his life as the primary object of interest.
Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1854 year. His full name was Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde. Oscar named in honour of his godfather, King Oscar I of Sweden – would eventually drop his three middle names. He said that a name that was destined to be in everybody’s mouth must not be too long. He was going to be famous.
At 20, Wilde left Ireland to study at Oxford University where he had a brilliant career, where he took a first-class both in classical moderation and in literature, and also won the Newdigate Prize for English verse for a poem on “Ravenna”. Even before he left the University in 1878 Wilde had become known as one of the most affected of the professors of the aesthetic movement, which advanced the new concept of “Art for Art’s Sake”.
Wilde was a man of great originality and power of mind. He quickly became a prominent personality in literary and social circles, but the period of his true achievement did not begin until he published “The Happy Prince and other tales” in 1888. In these fairy tales and fables, Wilde found a literary form well suited to his talents. There nine stories all together (originally published in two volumes – “ The Happy Prince” – 1888 and “A House of Pomegranates” – 1891) – five in the first volume and four in the second. These stories review and uneasy blend of the moral and the fantastic.
Wilde’s only novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1890), attracted much attention, and his sayings past from mouth to mouth as those of one of the professed wits of the age. This novel is about a youth, whose features, year after year, retain the same youthful appearance of innocent beauty, while the shame of his hideous vices become mirrored, year after year, on the features of his portrait. This novel covers the whole range of human experience and imagination.