Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. He studied in Dublin and then in Oxford thanks to a scholarship. He was the perfect dandy, that is to say the gentleman who embodies the hedonistic attitude; hedonism is the search for pleasure and beauty to satisfy the five senses. Oscar Wilde wanted his life to be a masterpiece. After graduating he moved to London. London’s high society considered him as a model to imitate as for fashion. He became the leader of the aesthetic movement. He went to the USA to held a number of lectures. When he went back to England, he got married; he and his wife had two children.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1891) was his first literary success. It was his only novel. Oscar Wilde was mainly a dramatist and his most important play is “The Importance of Being Ernest” (1895). In his comedies he showed the superficial lifestyle of the upper class in London. He also wrote short stories for his children, collected in “The Selfish Giant”. In 1895 he was arrested and imprisoned in Reading Jail because of his homosexual relationship. There years would inspired “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” and “De Profundis”, his last great work. When he left prison, in 1897, he was and old and ruined man. He went to Paris, where he experienced a miserable life supported by the economic help of some friends of him. He died alone in a small hotel in 1900.