Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin on October 16, 1854. His father was a famous Irish surgeon. His mother was well known in Dublin as a writer of verse and prose. At school, and later at Oxford, Oscar displayed gift for art and the humanities. While at the university, Wilde became one of the most famous personalities of the day: he wore his hair long, decorated his room with different beautiful things. His witty sayings were well known among the students.
After graduating from the university, Wilde turned his attention to writing, travelling and lecturing.
Oscar Wilde earned the reputation of being the leader of the Aesthetic Movement and an apostle of beauty.
His most famous works appeared over the next ten years. The most popular are «The Happy Prince and Other Tales», «The Picture of Dorian Gray», and his comedies «Lady Windermere’s Fan», «An Ideal Husband», «The Importance of Being Earnest».Wilde also wrote poems, essays, reviews, letters....He attracted the attention of his audiences by the brilliance of his conversation, his knowledge, and the force of his personality.
In his works, especially in his tales, he glorifies beauty, and not only the beauty of nature or artificial beauty, but the beauty of devoted love. He admires unselfishness, kindness and generosity («The Happy Prince», «The Nightingale and the Rose») and despises egoism and greed («The Selfish Giant», «The Devoted Friend»). The theme of most of his works, even of his tales, is quite realistic. He shows the contrast between wealth and poverty. His own sympathy for poor, labouring people is quite evident.
At the height of his popularity and success, tragedy struck. He was accused of immorality and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. When released from prison in 1897, he lived mainly on the Continent, settling later in Paris. In 1898 he published his poem «Ballad of Reading Gaol». He died in Paris 1900.