Literary Genius of Oscar Wilde Essay


Early years of Oscar Wilde

First literary works of Wilde

Wilde’s fairy-tales and his Happy Prince as an autobiographical piece of writing

The Picture of Dorian Gray ”“ the only novel by Oscar Wilde

Wilde as a playwright

Accusation and trial

Years of imprisonment

Last years and literary prophesy of Wilde


Oscar Wilde was born on October 16 in 1854. His parents were talented people and definitely passed their talents to their son. His mother, Jane Francesca Wilde, was a poet and journalist. His father was a gifted surgeon and a talented writer. Oscar got good education. While his studying in Oxford he joined an aesthetic movement which proclaimed that art should be devoted to art itself. After graduated Oxford Oscar moved to London and started his literary career. His first collection of poetry was published in 1881. Wilde worked not only as a poet and writer. He also worked as a reviewer, read lectures and works as an editor. Oscar Wilde got married in 1884. He and his wife had two sons. His famous tale Happy Prince was published in 1888. This fairy-tale was included in the collection of fairy tails called The Happy Prince and Other Tails. This fairy tales were originally dedicated to his two sons. Despite the fairy-tails are dedicated to children, they can be read as deep and symbolic stories for grown ups. For example, Happy Prince to great extend reflects life and feelings of Oscar himself. This sad and beautiful tale shows how stone statue and little sparrow turned to be the most “humanlike” creature in the city. People could not appreciate this. “So they pulled down the statue of the Happy Prince”. As he is no longer beautiful he is no longer useful,” said the Art Professor at the University” (Wilde, 56) The statue was melted but its heart, broken because of the death of sparrow, was not melted even in fire. “Bring me the two most precious things in the city,” said God to one of His Angels; and the Angel brought Him the leaden heart and the dead bird” (Wilde, 57).

Wilde finished The Picture of Dorian Gray, his only novel, in 1888. It was published three years later, in 1891 and got mainly negative response of critics. One of the main reasons of such a perception was slight shade of erotic presented in the novel. This could not be accepted by Wilde’s contemporaries. In 1893 Wilde divorced his wife. Two years earlier he met a woman, Bosie, who became a love of his life.

Despite Wilde wrote in many literary genres, plays became his most successful works. His first play called Lady Windermere’s Fan was played in 1892 for the first time. His comedy plays brought him real popularity. Such popular plays as A Woman of No Importance, The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband made him a recognized playwright.

The year of 1895 became a hard trial for Oscar. He accused Bosie’s father for libel because of accusation of homosexuality. Oscar lost the case and was sentenced to two years of imprisonment because homosexuality was prohibited in Britain during that time. He was recognized guilty for his homosexual relations with Alfred Douglas.

He tried to defend himself and proclaimed: “the ”˜Love that dare not speak its name’ in this century is such a great affection of an eleder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare”¦ There is nothing unnatural about it” (Beckon 98). In prison he wrote autobiography mainly addressed to Bosie and Douglass. After time spent in prison Wilde also wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol which described terrible conditions in prisons.

After such sentence society rejected Wilde. He could not write any more. He spends his life travelling different countries. He did not have his own home and lived in the houses of friends or cheap hotels. Oscar Wilde died on November 30, 1900 in Paris.

Oscar Wilde overruns his time not only with his literary works, but also with his aesthetic, political and social views.

He wanted to expand the limits of human freedom and did it not only with his literary works, but also with his life as well.

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