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Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde
Birth date: October 16, 1854 Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin on 16 October 1854 to Sir William Wilde and his wife Jane. Oscar's mother, Lady Jane Francesca Wilde (1820-1896), was a successful poet and journalist. Oscar's father, Sir William Wilde (1815 - 1876), was a leading ear and eye surgeon, a renowned philanthropist and gifted writer, who wrote books on archaeology and folklore. Oscar had an elder brother, Willie, and a younger sister, Isola Francesca, who died at the early age of 10.
He was educated at Portora Royal School (1864-71), Trinity College, Dublin (1871-74), and Magdalen College, Oxford (1874-78). While at Oxford, he became involved in the aesthetic movement and became an advocate for 'Art for Art's Sake' (L'art pour l'art). Whilst at Magdalen, he won the 1878 Newdigate Prize for his poem Ravenna. After he graduated, he moved to Chelsea in London (1879) to establish a literary career. In 1881, he published his first collection of poetry - Poems that received mixed reviews by critics.
On May 29, 1884, Oscar married Constance Lloyd. To support his family, Oscar accepted a job as the editor of Woman's World magazine, where he worked from 1887-1889. In 1888, he published The Happy Prince and Other Tales, fairy-stories written for his two sons. His first and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in 1891 and received quite a negative response.
Wilde's greatest talent was for writing plays. His first successful play, Lady Windermere's Fan, opened in February 1892. He produced a string of extremely popular comedies including A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). These plays were all highly acclaimed and firmly established Oscar as a playwright. In 1895 he was sentenced to two years of hard labor for the crime of sodomy.
Upon his release in 1897, he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol, revealing his concern for inhumane prison conditions. He spent the rest of his life wandering Europe, staying with friends and living in cheap hotels. He died of cerebral meningitis on November 30, 1900, penniless, in a cheap Paris hotel.