Wild Young Minds: Oscar Wilde: genius of Quotes

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Oscar Wilde: genius of Quotes

He was gay. That, I knew. He was a dandy. That, I knew. And he was buried in Paris, at the cemetery Pere Lachaise. That, I had even seen. The grave, I mean. But what else was there to know about the famous Oscar Wilde? Writer, poet and aesthete of profession. Not to mention quotist. If quoting had been a job, Oscar Wilde would have mastered it. His life in a few sentences and a whole lot of quotes.

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854 as the son of rich and high educated parents. Wilde himself was brilliant as well. He studied classic languages at Trinity College and soon received a Berkeley Gold Medal. The meaning of it is unknown to me, but it must be something extremely important. Wilde was gifted with a huge talent for writing. But that wasn't all he was known for, since he also profiled himself as decadent and aesthetic. No sports for him, no manly behaviour and no simplicity. No, Wilde wanted flowers, fairy tales and feathers. Wilde was all about l'art pour l'art.

After graduation, he started writing theater plays and giving lectures - mostly about aestheticism and art. In 1888 his first collection of fairy tales appeared and in 1891 his first - and only - novel was published.  The novel in question is 'The picture of Dorian Gray', which I read a few weeks ago and which is outstanding. It's filled with wit, drama and darkness, yet has a light touch. Why? Because of the character Lord Henry, who is all about decadence as well and who enjoys - but also bothers - his public with many controversial - but also often true - theories.

As time passed, Wilde became more and more individualistic. In the late 1800s Wilde met Lord Alfred Douglas, and fell desperately in love with the man. I should mention that Wilde was married at the time. Something you might not expect - considering his feminine preferences - but being gay in public was not done in those days. Not at all. Despite the secretiveness, Wilde was accused of sonomy, arrested and put in jail. This did damage to his health and that's why he lived his last days in exile in France. He died at the age of 47 due to a condition in his brains. A tragic ending to a life filled with love of tragedy.

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