Oscar Wilde, born Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde, was an Irish writer and poet who became one of London’s most popular playwrights at the beginning of the 1890’s. Nowadays he is most famous for his plays, his novel “The Picture of Dorian Grey” and his epigrams. The circumstances of his imprisonment and early death are also well known and much discussed.
Oscar Wilde was born to Sir William Wilde and Jane Wilde, a pair of successful Anglo-Irish Dublin intellectuals. His father was an acclaimed doctor who had been knighted for his work, whereas his mother was a poet with close ties to the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848. A very talented linguist, Jane Wilde translated the work of the Pomeranian novelist Wilhelm Meinhold, “Sidonia the Sorceress”, an act that would deeply influence her son in later years.
A bright and bookish child from a young age, Oscar Wilde attended Portora Royal School at Enniskillen where he fell in love with Greek and Roman studies. After graduation he was awarded a Royal School Scholarship to attend Trinity College in Dublin. He was first in the school’s classics examination and thus received the college’s Foundation Scholarship, which was the highest honor awarded to undergraduates.Wilde continued to excel academically and furthered his studies at Magdalen College in Oxford. It was there that he made his first attempts at creative writing. One of his poems, “Ravenna” won the “Newdigate Prize for the best English verse composition by an Oxford undergraduate.”
He continued focusing on poetry until 1888 when he entered a long period of amazing creativity during which he brought to life most of the works he is now most famous for. The children’s collection “The Happy Prince and Other Tales” was written during this period, as were: The Picture of Dorian Gray, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest.
Unfortunately, during the height of his success, Oscar Wilde was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of “gross indecency.” When he emerged from prison in 1897, he was emotionally exhausted and flat broke. He went into exile in France, where he died three years later of meningitis.
Below, we have selected several impressive quotes from the works of Oscar Wilde, that will definitely make you want to read his works, if you have not done so already. Did you know any of these quotes?
1. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
2. “You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.”
3. “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
4. “Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”
5. “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
6. “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”
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