(Fingal O'Flahertie Wills) (1854-1900) Irish writer. With his flamboyant style and quotable conversation, he dazzled London society and, on his lecture tour 1882, the US. He published his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891, followed by a series of sharp comedies, including A Woman of No Importance 1893 and The Importance of Being Earnest 1895. In 1895 he was imprisoned for two years for homosexual offenses; he died in exile.
Wilde was born in Dublin and studied at Dublin and Oxford, where he became known as a supporter of the Esthetic movement (“art for art’s sake”). He published Poems 1881, and also wrote fairy tales and other stories, criticism, and a long, anarchic political essay, The Soul of Man Under Socialism 1891. His elegant social comedies include Lady Windermere’s Fan 1892 and An Ideal Husband 1895. The drama Salome 1893, based on the biblical character, was written in French; considered scandalous by the British censor, it was first performed in Paris 1896 with the actress Sarah Bernhardt in the title role.
Among his lovers was Lord Alfred Douglas, whose father provoked Wilde into a lawsuit that led to his social and financial ruin and imprisonment. The long poem Ballad of Reading Jail 1898 and a letter published as De Profundis 1905 were written in jail to explain his side of the relationship. After his release from prison 1897, he lived in France and is buried in Paris.
Irski dramski pisac.