Oscar Wilde was born 16th October 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. Author of a number of great works, The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest being the most acclaimed. Wilde excelled throughout his education, first at Trinity College, Dublin and then at Magdalen College, Oxford. Relative success the young writer and he later settled in London where he met and married his wife, Constance Lloyd.
Following the second publication of The Picture of Dorian Gray (a preface was added to defend the work against those calling it immoral) Wilde started a relationship with a young man named Lord Alfred Douglas. Alfred’s father disapproved of the pair’s relationship, the Marquess of Queensberry, going out of his way to harass and insult Wilde at every opportunity - publicly accusing him of posing as a sodomite, an insulting and potentially defamatory term for a homosexual. Wilde was understandably furious and despite advice from his friends, sued him for libel.
It was clear from the beginning that the trial was more of an attack on Wilde than it was on Queensberry. Wilde was belittled, questioned and criticised. Queensberry? Acquitted. Following the acquittal, Wilde was arrested for gross indecency and later sentenced to two years hard labour in prison. His refusal to be anything but his most authentic self left his career in tatters; his undeniable talent unfairly disregarded. Wilde moved to France upon his release, where he spent the final two years of his life.
Wilde’s life and writing deserve to be recognised and celebrated. To help do so, we’ve picked out a few of our favourite quotes from his various works! We’d love to know your favourites too.
“To define is to limit.”
“We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.”
“Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.”
“With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?”
“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
“The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.”