Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was born on 16 October 1854 in Dublin. After his studies in Dublin and at Oxford, Wilde lived the life of a dandy, non-conformist and successful author (The Canterville Ghost, 1887; The Happy Prince and Other Tales, 1888; The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891). He was a celebrity of London high society when he was sentenced to two years in prison for »homosexual practices«, an experience he wrote about in The Ballad of Reading Gaol. Declared a persona non grata by the moral judgment of his contemporaries, after his release he emigrated to Paris where he connected with the circle around painter Toulouse-Lautrec. Isolated and nearly destitute, Wilde died on 30 November 1900 in a hotel in Paris. Wilde's satirical farces reveal the mechanisms of restriction and bigoted morals of the better classes at the end of the Victorian era. Among his most successful works for the stage are the comedies Lady Windermere's Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest. Wilde's tragedy Salomé is a play out of the decadence of the fin de siècle, which – banned by the London censor – premiered in 1896 in Paris and became an international success in the version set to music by Richard Strauss.