Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) Born in Dublin Ireland
Irish Playwright and essayist was a flamboyant and sharp witted writer who exposed the hypocrisies of Victorian society. He was a firm believer in art for art sake. His colorful personal life, and eccentricities as well as his effected demeanor drew much attention to him even before he became an acclaimed literary genius. His printed words live on.
Most of his works were written in the 1890’s. His first book, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) was not as well received as his plays. His barbed comedy aimed at the attitudes and habits of the affluent of British society. “An Ideal Husband (1895) was about a blackmail attempt on a public official. It would seem that play or at least it’s morale repeats itself every year or so, only the venue changes.
While not a mystery writer, per se, Oscar Wilde reveals the flaws in societies fabric. As the rich and famous so often find, with fame they no longer own their life. Homosexuality was not taken lightly back then and after two years of hard labor, his sentence for exercising his sexual preference, he died a penniless pauper in 1900. The imprisonment did not dull the importance of his life’s work, however.
“America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between” Oscar Wilde 1882 a comment he made when he was on a tour in the US
Information gleaned from: The Intellectual Devotional, Revise your mind, complete your education, and roam confidently with the cultured class. David S. Kidder & Noah D. Oppenheim ©2006 Rodale