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Oscar Wilde was an Irish writer and one of the most successful playwrights of the Victorian era.
He was born on 16 October 1854 in Ireland, the second son. His parents were Anglo-Irish. His father, Sir William Wilde, was a successful eye-ear surgeon in Ireland and his mother, Jane Francesca Wilde, was a renowned writer and poet of her time. Oscar was a devoted student and outstanding performer, he won the Berkeley Gold Medal at Trinity and was awarded a scholarship to the Oxford University.
He studied there from 1874 to 1878 and became involved in Aestheticism. Wilde saw himself as a leading proponent of the aesthetic movement, an artistic and literary movement which empathized the pursuit of beauty for its own sake, rather than to promote any political or social viewpoint.
His first collection of poems, entitled "Poems", was published in 1881, when he met and courted Florence Balcombe. However, when she rejected his proposal to marriage, Oscar left Ireland permanently in 1878. In 1884, he met Constance Lloyd in London and fell in love with her. They married on 29 May 1884 and had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan. Oscar’s second son Vyvyan, who served in the war, became an author and penned his memoir "Son of Oscar Wilde" in 1954.
In the late 1880's, Wilde's literary talent was revealed by a series of short stories, "The Canterville ghost", "Lord Arthur Savile's crime", "The happy prince and other tales", written for his children, and the novel "The picture of Dorian Gray". In the 1890s he produced a series of plays which were successful on the London stage, "The Importance of Being Earnest" and the tragedy in French "Salomè", the two most famous.
Oscar Wilde’s sexual orientation has been considered homosexual or bisexual. He first acknowledged this during his days at Oxford and since then he developed several ‘passionate and scandalous’ relationship with his mates and colleagues. The most prominent relationship was with Lord Alfred Douglas. They even went as far as to come out with a ‘Law Reform’ appeal with other upper class supporters who suggested making homosexuality legal. However, their effort went by unheeded. The boy's father forced a public trial and Oscar was convicted of homosexual practices and sentenced to two years of hard labour. While he was in prison, he wrote "De profundis", a long letter to explain his life. Oscar Wilde was released on 19 May 1897. He died of meningitis on 30 November 1900 in Paris in poverty.
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