Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)
Poet and dramatist, son of Sir William Wilde, the eminent surgeon, was born in Dublin, and educated first at Trinity College, and later at Oxford.
He was one of the founders of the english esthetic movement which believed in art less as an escape from than as a sobstitute for life.
The poets of the nineties aimed to demonstrate, in their works as well as in their existence, a way of life which was identical to a way of art. Among his writings are Poems (1881), The Picture of Dorian Gray, a symbolic novel and the manifesto of english estheticism, and several plays, including Lady Windermeres Fan, A Woman of no Importance, and The Importance of being Earnest. In his comedies, unlike his prose writings, Wilde strove to reduce the formulas of the Victorian melodrama to an ultrasophisticated stylization. But dialogues and plots showed an ideal wit and an extraordinary love of paradox capable of provoking and shocking the contemporary audience.
Later on in his brief life, he was convicted of a serious offence (Wilde was accused of homosexuality), and after his release from prison in Reading, he went abroad and died miserably in Paris at the age of 46.
From Biographical Dictionary of English Literature - the Everyman Edition of 1910
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