Oscar was an intelligent child. He attended Portora Royal School in his youth, then Trinity College, and later graduated from Oxford University. He had a love of Greek and Roman classics. He lectured after school and focused on his poetry. While on a lecture tour in the United States, he met his idol, Walt Whitman. Oscar was a supporter of the aesthetic movement, believing in beauty for beauty's sake.
Oscar married Constance Lloyd on 29 May 1884 at the Anglican St. James Church in Paddington in London. The couple had two children before his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas began, Cyril born in 1885 and Vyvyan born in 1886. Constance left Oscar and took the boys to Switzerland, also changing their surname to "Holland" because of shame at Oscar's dealings with Lord Alfred.
Oscar wrote his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, in 1890. He wrote Salomé (1891) in French in Paris but it was not staged in England "due to an absolute prohibition of Biblical subjects on the English stage." He continued to produce society comedies in the early 1890s, including Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance and An Ideal Husband, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London. He wrote his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, in 1894.
February 18th, 1895, Lord Alfred's father, the Marquess of Queensberry, left Oscar a note on his door accusing him of sexual immorality. Enraged, Oscar decided to sue him for libel, which then led to the Marquess having him arrested. Oscar Wilde was convicted on 25 May 1895 of gross indecency, and sentenced to two years' hard labor. He was released on 19 May 1897, and moved to France. Wilde died in poverty, from an ear infection which developed into cerebral meningitis, on 30 November 1900.
Oscar Wilde is buried at Pere LaChaise Cemetery in Paris. Over the years, a tradition of kissing his tomb had taken hold, and repeated cleanings have degraded the stone. It is now surrounded by security fences and a plexiglass barrier. Oscar himself perhaps might not have objected to all the lipstick.
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