Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November
1900) was an Irish writer, poet, and prominent aesthete. His parents were
successful Dublin intellectuals, and from an early age he was tutored at
home, where he showed his intelligence, becoming fluent in French and
German. He attended boarding school for six years, then matriculated to
university at seventeen years old. Reading Greats, Wilde proved himself to
be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. After
university, Wilde moved around trying his hand at various literary
activities: he published a book of poems and toured America lecturing
extensively on aestheticism. He then returned to London, where he worked
prolifically as a journalist for four years. Known for his biting wit,
flamboyant dress, and glittering conversation, Wilde was one of the most
well-known personalities of his day. He next produced a series of dialogues
and essays that developed his ideas about the supremacy of art. However, it
was his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray – still widely read – that
brought him more lasting recognition. He became one of the most successful
playwrights of the late Victorian era in London with a series of social
satires which continue to be performed, especially his masterpiece The
Importance of Being Earnest.
At the height of his fame and success, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall in
a sensational series of trials. He sued his lover's father for libel, though
the case was dropped at trial. After two subsequent trials, Wilde was
imprisoned for two years' hard labour, having been convicted of "gross
indecency" with other men. In prison he wrote De Profundis, a dark
counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. Upon his release he left
immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he
wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a long, terse poem
commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris
at the age of forty-six.
(Note: biography courtesy of Wikipedia)
This weeks featured quotations are by
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28
'Tis almost morning, I would have thee gone—
And yet no farther than a wan-ton's bird,
That lets it hop a little from his hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silken thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.
I would I were thy bird.
Sweet, so would I,
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow. [Exit above]
Romeo And Juliet Act 2, scene 2, 176–185
"When beggars die there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes."
Julius Caesar (II, ii, 30-31)