by Charisse Baxter, dramaturg
Though most often remembered as a playwright, Wilde was a popular author of essays, poems, and short stories as well. His one novel is a classic, and his lectures and memorable aphorisms attracted followers and fans years before his plays became successful. His private life drew even more attention, but his writings and scripts have withstood the test of time.
1854 – Born Oct 16 in Dublin, Ireland
1871 – Attended Trinity College, Dublin
1874 – Attended Magdalen College in Oxford, England and was a distinguished scholar; became a leader in the Aesthetics movement and was noted for eccentric fashion and behavior
1882 – Toured the US as an Aesthetics lecturer; ‘I have nothing to declare but my genius’
1884 – Married Constance Lloyd; they had two sons, lived in Chelsea, London
1887 – Became editor of Woman’s World magazine
1890 – Published his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray
1891 – Began a relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas
1892 – Lady Windemere’s Fan was produced in London; first critical as well as financial success on stage
1893 – Produced A Woman of No Importance; another hit. Published Salomé, an earlier play written in French that was not permitted to be staged because it incorporated Biblical characters.
1892 – Renowned actress Sarah Bernhardt staged Salomé in Paris
1895 – Jan: An Ideal Husband opened in London
Feb: The Importance of Being Earnest opened in London; Wilde sued Marquess of Queensbury, Lord Alfred’s father, for libel and lost
April: Charged and tried for ‘gross indecency’, sentenced to two year’s hard labor
1897 – Released from prison, writes ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’
1898 – Wrote letters on prison reform; Constance died
1900 – Spent three years wandering Europe, living with friends/in cheap hotels. Died Nov 30 in Paris of cerebral meningitis contracted in prison; his remains buried in France.