Remembered more for his society plays and witty aphorisms, Oscar Wilde’s writing skills were extensive and diverse – from political tracts to fairy tales to poetry to literary criticism to his sole novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”
Born in Dublin in 1854, in the wake of the Great Hunger, to Irish parents who were public intellectuals and celebrities in their own right, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was destined for great things. At Oxford University, he proved to be a brilliant student of Greek classics, but he also became a devotee of aesthetics, summed up in the aphorism, "Art for Art's Sake.”
Never conventional, Wilde’s life was lived in public view, through his writings, his witticisms and even his famous photographs. His life was a stunning series of successes and failures. In 1895, he was arrested on charges of gross indecency and was sentenced to two years hard labor in Reading Gaol. Wilde died in exile in France in 1900 at age 46.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”Oscar Wilde, 1892