Portrait of Oscar Wilde


Lifetime: 1854 - 1900 Passed: ≈ 123 years ago


Author, Poet, Playwright



Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, the early 1890s saw him become one of the most popular playwrights in London. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for gross indecency for consensual homosexual acts, imprisonment, and early death from meningitis at age 46.

Wilde's life has been the subject of numerous biographies since his death. The earliest were memoirs by those who knew him: often they are personal or impressionistic accounts which can be good character sketches, but are sometimes factually unreliable.

Wilde died of meningitis on 30 November 1900. Different opinions are given as to the cause of the disease.

Books by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray Cover image

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Fiction Philosophy
Picture Beauty Young Victorian Paris

The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine. Wilde later revised this edition, making several alt...

The Importance of Being Earnest Cover image

The Importance of Being Earnest

Comedy Drama
Marriage Social Triviality

Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is subtitled “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People,” and has proved immensely popular since its first performance in 1895. The play certainly has its farcical and comic elements, such as the witty banter e...

Reviews  Cover image


Non-Fiction Reference work
Literary Criticism Witty

Wilde’s literary reputation has survived so much that I think it proof against any exhumation of articles which he or his admirers would have preferred to forget. As a matter of fact, I believe this volume will prove of unusual interest; some of the...

The Canterville Ghost Cover image

The Canterville Ghost

Horror Fiction Humour
Love Gothic Death

"The Canterville Ghost" is a humorous short story by Oscar Wilde. It was the first of Wilde's stories to be published, appearing in two parts in The Court and Society Review, 23 February and 2 March 1887. The story is about an American family who mo...

An Ideal Husband Cover image

An Ideal Husband

Comedy Fiction Drama
Political Corruption Blackmail

An Ideal Husband is an 1895 stage play by Oscar Wilde that revolves around blackmail and political corruption, and touches on the themes of public and private honour. The action is set in London, in "the present", and takes place over the course of t...

The Happy Prince and Other Tales Cover image

The Happy Prince and Other Tales

Fiction Fairy Tale
Children's Literature Short Stories

The Happy Prince and Other Tales (sometimes called The Happy Prince and Other Stories) is a collection of stories for children by Oscar Wilde first published in May 1888. It contains five stories: "The Happy Prince", "The Nightingale and the Rose", "...

Lady Windermere's Fan Cover image

Lady Windermere's Fan

Comedy Drama
Play Morality

Lady Windermere's Fan, A Play About a Good Woman is a four-act comedy by Oscar Wilde, first performed on Saturday, 20 February 1892, at the St James's Theatre in London. The story concerns Lady Windermere, who suspects that her husband is having an...

The Fisherman and his Soul Cover image

The Fisherman and his Soul

Fairy Tale
Myths Legends

To get what we want is often the greatest curse of all. The fisherman here accidentally catches a mermaid in his net. He falls in love with the Mermaid and tells her that he wants to marry her. She tells him that he can only marry her if he sends awa...

De Profundis Cover image

De Profundis


De Profundis (Latin: "from the depths") is a letter written by Oscar Wilde during his imprisonment in Reading Gaol, to "Bosie" (Lord Alfred Douglas). In its first half, Wilde recounts their previous relationship and extravagant lifestyle which event...

The Duchess of Padua Cover image

The Duchess of Padua

Drama Tragedy
Play Passion Social Status Double life

The Duchess of Padua is a play by Oscar Wilde. It is a five-act tragedy set in Padua and written in blank verse. It was written for the actress Mary Anderson in early 1883 while in Paris. After she turned it down, it was abandoned until its first per...

Salome Cover image


Drama Tragedy
Play Love Short Works Seduction

Salome is a one-act tragedy by Oscar Wilde. The original 1891 version of the play was in French; an English translation was published three years later. The play depicts the attempted seduction of Jokanaan (John the Baptist) by Salome, step-daughter...

Vera; or the Nihilists  Cover image

Vera; or the Nihilists

Play Biography Autobiography America Writing United States Russia Alexander The Great

Vera; or, The Nihilists is a play by Oscar Wilde. It is a tragedy set in Russia and is loosely based on the life of Vera Zasulich. It was Wilde's first play, and the first to be performed. A draft of the script was completed in 1880 and the following...

The Ballad of Reading Gaol  Cover image

The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Prison Death Poems Wildlife Imprisonment Emotion Experiences Reading

This poem is mainly based on an execution that took place while he was in the prison. Making it the center of theme, Wild goes on to expose the dire conditions of prison life, the despair of its inmates, the degradation, and the shame that he persona...

The Soul of Man  Cover image

The Soul of Man

Political Science Non-Fiction
Explore Anarchism Socialism Modern Development Music Humanity

The Soul of a Man is a 2003 documentary film, directed by Wim Wenders, as the second instalment of the documentary film series The Blues, produced by Martin Scorsese. The film explores the musical careers of blues musicians Skip James, Blind Willie J...

A Florentine Tragedy and La Sainte Courtisane  Cover image

A Florentine Tragedy and La Sainte Courtisane

Play Love Success Passion Religious Conflict Wealth

Two short fragments: an unfinished and a lost play. A Florentine Tragedy, left in a taxi (not a handbag), is Wilde’s most successful attempt at tragedy – intense and domestic, with surprising depth of characterisation. It was adapted into an opera by...

The Portrait of Mr. W. H. Cover image

The Portrait of Mr. W. H.

Fiction Novel
Sonnet Love Mystery Death Identity

The story is about an attempt to uncover the identity of Mr. W. H., the enigmatic dedicatee of Shakespeare's Sonnets. It is based on a theory, originated by Thomas Tyrwhitt, that the sonnets were addressed to one Willie Hughes, portrayed in the story...

El crimen de Lord Arturo Savile Cover image

El crimen de Lord Arturo Savile

Fiction Humour
Short Story Morality Mystery Adventure Crime Satire Suspense Classic Literature

¡Sumérgete en el intrigante mundo de Lord Arturo Savile, donde una profecía oscura amenaza con cambiar su destino para siempre! En "El crimen de Lord Arturo Savile" de Oscar Wilde, una misteriosa adivina predice que el joven aristócrata está destinad...

Serenade Cover image


LibriVox volunteers bring you 12 different recordings of Serenade by Oscar Wilde. This was the weekly poetry project for the week of April 20th, 2008.

Picture of Dorian Gray (Lippincott) Cover image

Picture of Dorian Gray (Lippincott)

The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel written by Oscar Wilde, and first came out as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on June 20, 1890. Wilde later revised this edition, making several alterations, and adding new chapte...

Bildnis des Dorian Gray Cover image

Bildnis des Dorian Gray

Als der berückend gutaussehende Jüngling Dorian Gray sein Porträt betrachtet, kommt ihm der Gedanke, wie herrlich es sein müsste, wenn das Bild an seiner Stelle altern könnte, während er selbst für immer jung und schön bliebe. Als sich dieser fantast...

Woman of No Importance Cover image

Woman of No Importance

A Woman of No Importance is a play by Irish playwright Oscar Wilde. The play premièred on 19 April 1893 at London's Haymarket Theatre. It is a testimony of Wilde's wit and his brand of dark comedy. It looks in particular at English upper class socie...

Symphony in Yellow Cover image

Symphony in Yellow

LibriVox volunteers bring you 21 recordings of Symphony in Yellow by Oscar Wilde. This was the Weekly Poetry project for March 18, 2012.Oscar Wilde, an Irish author who lived for much of his life in London, is most famous for his witty, satirical pla...

House Of Pomegranates Cover image

House Of Pomegranates

A House of Pomegranates is a collection of fairy tales, written by Oscar Wilde, that was published as a second collection for The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888). Wilde once said that this collection was "intended neither for the British child no...

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories Cover image

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories is a collection of short semi-comic mystery stories. This collection exemplifies Wilde's sharp wit and dark humour. Stories in this collection include Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, The Canterville Ghost, The...

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