Biography Of Oscar Wilde Essay

1181 words - 5 pages

Oscar Wilde (real name Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde) was born onOctober 16th, 1854 in Dublin. His father, William Robert Wilde, was an eminent eyedoctor, with an interest in myths and folklore. He was the founder of the first eye and earhospital in Great Britain, as well as the appointed Surgeon Occultist to the Queen, whoknighted him. His mother, Jane Francesca Elgee Wilde, was a poet who wrote patrioticIrish verse under the pen name Speranza, and had a considerable following. As ayoungster, Wilde was exposed to the brilliant literary talk of the day at his mother's Dublinsalon.In 1864 Wilde entered the Portora Royal School at Enniskillen, and in 1871entered Trinity College in Dublin. In 1874 he left Ireland and went to England to attendMagdalen College at Oxford. As a student there, he excelled in classics, wrote poetry,and incorporated the Bohemian life style of his youth into a unique way of life. He cameunder the influence of aesthetic innovators such as English writers Walter Pater and JohnRuskin. He found the aesthetic movement's notions of 'art for art's sake' and dedicatingone's life to art suitable to his temperament and talents. As an aesthete, Wilde wore longhair and velvet knee breeches, and became known for his eccentricity as well as hisacademic ability. His rooms were filled with various objets d'art such as sunflowers,peacock feathers, and blue china. Wilde frequently confided that his greatest challenge atUniversity was learning to live up to the perfection of the china. Wilde won numerousacademic prizes while studying there, including the Newdigate Prize, a coveted poetryaward, for his poem Ravenna.In 1879 Wilde moved to London to make himself famous. He set aboutestablishing himself as the leader and model of the aesthetic movement. Besides his hairand breeches, he added loose-fitting wide-collared silk shirts with flowing ties andlavender colored gloves. He frequently carried a jewel-topped cane and was caricatured inthe press flamboyantly attired and holding an over-sized sunflower, an icon of themovement. Wilde quickly became well known despite having any substantialachievements to build on. His natural wit and good humor endeared him to the art andtheater world, and through his lover Frank Miles, he found it easy to become part of thecliques that frequented London's theater circuit and drawing rooms. He became a muchdesired party guest, and eventually his popularity led to his being chosen as an advancepublicity man for a new Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, Patience, that spoofed aestheteslike himself.In 1881, Wilde's first book of poems, called Poems, was published. In 1882, shortof money, he accepted an invitation to embark on a lecture tour of America. He producedhis first play in New York City, called Vera, about nihilism in Russia. According to some,it was canceled at the last moment, probably for political reasons; others say he saw itperformed there but that it ran unsuccessfully. Throughout that year he...

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