Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was an Irish writer and poet, and was one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s.
His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), tells the story of a man who remains eternally youthful while his painted portrait ages to match his moral corruption. His other famous work, the play The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), is a satire of Victorian England and the shallowness of its society emphasis on good breeding.
Around 1896, Wilde was convicted of gross indecency and imprisoned for two years’ hard labor. In prison, he wrote De Profundis, a long letter about his spiritual journey through his trials, contrasting his prior philosophy of pleasure. This was published five years after his death. He spent the last years of his life in France, where he wrote his last work, the long poem The Ballad of Reading Goal in 1898. He died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six.
“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.” – The Importance of Being Earnest.