“Hello” Oscar Wilde Born 16 October 1854
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet who became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He was fluent in both French and German.
His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray was published in1890. He subsequently wrote his drama Salome in 1891 in French in Paris, but it was refused a licence for England due to the prohibition of Biblical subjects on the English stage
While his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The charge carried a penalty of up to two years in prison. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years’ hard labour.
In 1897, in prison, he wrote De Profundis, which was published in 1905. Upon his release he left immediately for France and never returned to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem outlining the harshness of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six.