Profile: Oscar Wilde

A_Wilde_time_3I love the Oscar Wilde quote – “be yourself, everyone else is already taken”…I have re-used it so many times, I know its origin and what it means, but I know little about the person who originated that perfect quote…so, I did a little digging on the man himself, Oscar Wilde,…

Oscar Wilde, in my view, was a bad boy of the literary world. He wasn’t afraid to shock and say exactly what was on his mind, even if it meant ruffling a few feathers and disrupting the status quo. I like Wilde’s whimsicality and his easy, breezy view on life and society. He was described as having “flamboyant wit, talent, charm and aestheticism (The doctrine that beauty is the basic principle from which all other principles, especially moral ones, are derived)”. Wilde believed people should be allowed to be exactly who they really are no matter who disagrees. 

Oscar Wilde practiced his aesthetic mode of life. Wilde kept his hair long and affected a highly stylized dress and manner. His rooms were well appointed. His collection of blue china was famous. Wilde’s pose was what he leveraged for his initial forays into fame. Wilde had many acolytes. But he also had his detractors, who at one point trashed his room.

By1894, Wilde was haunted by accusations about his personal life, chiefly prompted by the Marquess of Queensberry’s fierce opposition to the intense friendship between Wilde and her son, Lord Alfred. These accusations culminated in 1895,Wilde’s imprisonment for homosexual offences and gross indecency (a category of crimes involving sex, esp consenting homosexual activity before it was decriminalized).

Oscar wrote one of my favorite movies, the importance of being earnest, some of his other work includes:

  • Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime (1891)
  • The Happy Prince and Other Tales (discussion)
  • A House of Pomegranates (discussion)
  • The ‘Canterville’ Ghost
  • The Sphinx Without A Secret
  • The Model Millionaire
  • Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892)
  • Salome (1894) [introduction]
  • A Woman of No Importance (1893),
  • An Ideal Husband (1895)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) [text — introduction]
  • “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” (1898) [text outside VW]
  • “Les Ballons” [textdiscussion]
  • “Charmides” [Two Cancelled Stanzas ]
  • De profundis [discussion]
  • “The Harlot’s House” [textdiscussion]
  • “Helas!” [text]

On November 25, 1900, Wilde had developed cerebral meningitis. He died on November 30, 1900.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth – Oscar Wilde.

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