Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin. His family belong to ht Anglo-Irish intellectual upper class. He studied classical literature at Trinity College, Dublin; then at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he met Walter Pater and John Ruskin, whose lectures and aesthetic theories had a strong influence on his view of art and life.
He settled in London in 1880 and soon became popular for his witty conversation, eccentric manner and extravagant life –style, which embodied the cult of beauty and the ideal of “ art for art’s sake”. He published his first volume of poemsin1881 and was invited ti the United States in a lecture tour which was meant to advertise it. The book became a best seller in spite of the fact that English had torn it apart owing its clever plagiarisms.Wilde’s financial situation, which had always been precarious because of his dandyish life-style, was also improve by his marriage to costance Lloyd, who provided him with a substantial income, as well as two children.
- two collections of beautiful short stories: the happy price and the others tales and Lord Arthur Savile’s crime and other stories
- the picture of Dorian Gray the only novel
- Salome a tragedy which wasn’t allowed into London theatre because of its “obscenity”
The happiest time of Wilde’s life was probably between 1892 and 1896, when his witty comedies where staged with enormous success: Lady Windermere’s fan, a woman of not importance.
The most tragic began early in 1895, when he sued Lord Alfred Douglas’ father, who had accused him of homosexual offences against his son. Wild was tried, arrested, sentenced to two years’ hard labour, and abandoned by friends and fans. After his release, he lived in France, where he wrote the poem the ballad of Reading goal and The profundis a long letter addressed to his formed lover Lord Douglas.
Wilde died of cerebral meningitis on November 30, 1900 and was buried in Paris.
The Ballad Of The Reading Gaol
It is a famous poem by Oscar Wilde, written after his release from Reading prison on 19 may 1897. its main theme is the death penalty. Wilde was found guilty of homosexual offences in 1895 and was sentenced to two years hard labor in prison, being transferred to Reading, Berkshire in November 1985. During his imprisonment, a rare thing occurred: a hanging.
Trooper Charles Thomas Wooldridge was someone that Wilde had seen many times during his imprisonment. He had been found guilty of slitting his wife’s throat with a razor. It inspired in Wilde’s mind an illustration of the way we are all malefactors, all in need of forgiveness. According to Wilde the greater the crime, the more necessary charity. His final vision of the world is not frivolity, but one of suffering.
Although Wilde never hid his authorship of the poem, it was published under the name “C.3.3” which stood for building C, floor, 3, cell 3, al Reading. This ensured that Wilde’s name ( by the notorious) did not appear on the front cover.
Several quotes from the poem have become famous in their own right:
Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.