Oscar Wilde, In A Nutshell I Oxford Open Learning
Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde, In A Nutshell

Birthdays are a big business nowadays, but have they always been? Way back in the mid-1800s – in 1854, to be precise – Oscar Wilde was born. He is a fellow Libran, as I am – and his birthday was 16 October. Even though 19th century birthday parties probably didn’t have mounds of gifts and huge cakes, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate them. So, what do you know about one of English Literature’s greatest writers? Read on to find out some interesting facts…

Some Things You May Or May Not Know

He was born in Dublin, Ireland, but died in Paris, France – Wilde is buried in a very famous cemetery in Paris; it is called Père Lachaise.

Oscar Wilde wrote plays and poetry, mainly, but he is very well-known for his one and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Grey, about a man who buys eternal youth for the price of selling his soul. He attended and at excelled at Oxford University, and it was not long after graduating that he became a successful, published poet.

Even though Wilde was married, he spent time in jail for having same-sex relations. The Ballad of Reading Gaol is an epic poem about spending time in jail, and what he had to endure.

Many people knew Wilde as someone who was witty – he gave a superior air, thought he was better than others, and his appearance and clothes were quite unconventional for the time.

There are many quotations for which Oscar Wilde is famous. One of them is ‘To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance’ – yes, he did love himself, but his quote makes sense, when you spend day in, day out with yourself!

When he was just 27-years-old, Wilde sailed to America, to New York, and embarked on a long lecture tour talking about aesthetics (i.e., things that are lovely and beautiful). He did 50 dates in different towns and cities – what a busy life he led!

The Lasting Quality Of Oscar Wilde

There are many famous writers who we enjoy today. Oscar Wilde is no exception. During his lifetime, he was very well-known for bucking the trend, and even though we might not think this such a big deal today, it would have been back in the 1800s. Perhaps this has inspired you to go and read some of Wilde’s work? He was often viewed as someone who led a less-than-ordinary life, and why not? We remember him today as someone who continues to bring pleasure to all those that read his work.

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