Children

Wilde’s wild wit

Born on October 16, 1854, Oscar Wilde was known for his brilliant humour and flamboyant style.

Is there someone in your class who ensures that every day there’s a laugh? One person who makes sure that there’s a smile on every face in class?

At the Protora Royal School in Enniskillen, Ireland there was one such student. It was Oscar Wilde. Few writers are remembered for their wit and a lifestyle like his.

Wilde was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. He was born of professional and literary parents. His father, Sir William Wilde, was Ireland’s leading ear and eye surgeon, who also published books on archaeology, folklore, and the satirist Jonathan Swift. His mother, who wrote under the name Speranza, was a revolutionary poet and an authority on Celtic myth and folklore. He was brilliant from the word go. He won several prizes while in school. He attended Trinity College in Dublin where he won a gold medal for his study of the Greek language. Here too, he won many medals.

He began to write while still a student. He moved to London and continued to follow his passion. Though his first book of poems was not successful, it was widely read and his name became known. He got onto the lecture circuit and travelled through the U.S. and Great Britain. It is said that on a speaking tour of the U.S. he gave 140 speeches in just nine months.

Wilde was part of an artistic movement called the aesthetics. This movement emphasised beauty above all else, meaning appearance played the most important part. An example of this is his novel The Picture of Dorian Grey. It is the story of a handsome young man who has his picture painted. The man remains in his youth, whereas the picture begins to age.

He was deemed a larger than life character. His outrageous outfits were often the subjects of cartoons.

Wilde died of meningitis on November 30, 1900. He was buried in the Cimetière de Bagneux outside Paris; in 1909 his remains were disinterred and transferred to Père Lachaise Cemetery, inside the city.

Briefly

His full name was Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde.

His birthplace is now the Oscar Wilde Centre of Trinity College. It houses the Irish writing and creative writing departments for the School of English.

He was an exceptional linguist, fluent in English, German, French and had a working knowledge of Italian and Greek. Ironically, he could not speak Irish.

He was considered an early Victorian celebrity, and became well known throughout Europe and the British Isles.

He was deemed a larger than life character. His outrageous outfits were often the subjects of cartoons.

A way with words

Wilde’s wild wit
Wilde’s wild wit
Wilde’s wild wit
Wilde’s wild wit
Oscar Wilde’s favourite children’s tales include: The Happy Prince, The Selfish Giant, The Nightingale and the Rose, The Remarkable Rocket and more. The House of Pomegranates is a collection of fairy tales. The stories include The Birthday of the Infanta, The Fisherman and his Soul among others. The Canterville Ghost is a delightful story of an American family that moves into Canterville Chase and finds it is haunted by the ghost of a former Canterville. Although acclaimed as a man of words, his only novel was The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 2:45:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/wildes-wild-wit/article29688929.ece

Next Story