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Wilde, Oscar

irish college collection

(Fingal O'Flahertie Wills)

(Irish, 1854–1900)

The son of an Irish surgeon and a political writer and journalist with literary connections, Wilde studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he first established his reputation for flamboyance. He travelled on a successful lecture-tour of America in 1882, and edited women's magazines in London. His only full-length novel is The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), a story about a man granted his wish that his portrait should age in his place, leaving his youthful looks intact during a life of debauchery and final degradation. Lord Arthur Savile's Crime (1891) is a collection of stories, and The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888) is a collection written for children, though widely read by adults. Wilde is better known as a play-wright (The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895), and was also a poet and essayist. He was imprisoned for homosexual acts in 1895 and went to France after his release in 1897.

Ronald Firbank, Evelyn Waugh, Max Beerbohm  WB

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