Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #21

13 Things about Oscar Wilde. And boy was he ever!

1. Oscar Wilde was born Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde on October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland.

2. His family consisted of his parents, Sir William Wilde and Jane Francesca Elgee and 5 siblings: Henry, Emily, Mary, William, Isola. His father was a well known and respected doctor, his mother was a writer, but because of the era she lived in, wrote under an alias.

3. Oscar attended college at Oxford and graduated with many prizes for his works. After graduation, Oscar moved to London to live with his friend Frank Miles, a popular high society portrait painter.

4. In 1881, Wilde published his first collection of poetry. It received mixed reviews by critics, but helped to move Oscar's writing career along and precipitated a trip to the United States in December, 1881. He delivered a series of lectures on aesthetics that was originally scheduled to last four months. It eventually stretched to nearly a year, with over 140 lectures given in 260 days. In between lectures he made time to meet with Henry Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Walt Whitman. After returning to England, he then set off on a lecture tour of Britain and Ireland.

5. Wilde was popular on the lecture circuit and is regarded as one of the greatest playwrights of the Victorian Era -- he wrote and produced nine plays, but only one novel -- "The Picture of Dorian Gray".

6. He was known for his sharp wit and many of his famous quotes still resonate today. For instance, On Men:

"No man is rich enough to buy back his past."

"I delight in men over seventy, they always offer one the devotion of a lifetime. "
-- “A Woman of No Importance”

"I don't like compliments, and I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't mean."
-- “Lady Windermere's Fan”

His quotes on Women:

"Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood."
-- “The Sphinx Without a Secret”

"It takes a thoroughly good woman to do a thoroughly stupid thing."
-- “Lady Windermere's Fan”

"My dear young lady, there was a great deal of truth, I dare say, in what you said, and you looked very pretty while you said it, which is much more important."
-- “A Woman of No Importance”

"I am sick of women who love one. Women who hate one are much more interesting."
-- “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

"I prefer women with a past. They're always so damned amusing to talk to."
-- “Lady Windermere's Fan”

Quotes on People

"People who count their chickens before they are hatched, act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately."
-- Letter from Paris, dated May 1900

"The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing."
-- “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”

"Most men and women are forced to perform parts for which they have no qualification."
-- “Lord Arthur Savile's Crime”

"It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true."
-- “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

Quotes on Life

"Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it."
-- “Vera, of The Nihilists”

"The Book of Life begins with a man and woman in a garden. It ends with Revelations."
-- “A Woman of No Importance”

"We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell."
-- “The Duchess of Padua”

"The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast."
-- “Lord Arthur Savile's Crime”

Quotes on Love

"Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humor in the woman - or the want of it in the man."
-- “A Woman of No Importance”

"One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry."
-- “A Woman of No Importance”

"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance."
-- “An Ideal Husband”

"A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her."
-- “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

"Young men want to be faithful and are not; old men want to be faithless and cannot."
-- “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

7. Wilde married Constance Lloyd in 1884. She was well read, spoke several different languages and was very outspoken. They had 2 sons: Cyril in 1885 and Vyvyan in 1886.

8. With a family to support, Oscar worked at Woman's World magazine from 1887-1889. The next six years were to become the most creative period of his life. He published two collections of children's stories and his first and only novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray". It was published in 1890 originally as a short story in an American magazine to a storm of critical protest. This fueled him to expand the story and get it published -- which is was the following year. Its implied homoerotic theme was considered very immoral by the Victorians and played a considerable part in his later legal trials.

9. Oscar's first play, “Lady Windermere's Fan,” opened in February 1892. It was a financial and critical success and as a result, he focused on writing for theater. His subsequent plays included “A Woman of No Importance” (1893), “An Ideal Husband” (1895), and “The Importance of Being Earnest” (1895). These plays were all highly acclaimed and firmly established Oscar as a playwright. He was the delight of the stage......until:

10. In the summer of 1891, Oscar met Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas, the third son of the Marquis of Queensberry. Bosie was well acquainted with Oscar's novel “Dorian Gray” and was an undergraduate at Oxford. They soon became lovers and were inseparable until Wilde's arrest and conviction four years later of gross indecency. He was sentenced to two years hard labor. His wife Constance took the children to Switzerland and reverted to an old family name, “Holland.”

11. Upon his release from prison, he and Bosie were reunited for a time, but the relationship didn't last. He wrote a play about his experiences in prison, but it failed to rekindle interest in his works.

12. Oscar spent the last three years of his life wandering Europe, staying with friends and living in cheap hotels. When a recurrent ear infection became serious several years later, meningitis set in, and Oscar Wilde died on November 30, 1900 in Paris, France.

13. Numerous books and articles have been written on Oscar Wilde since his death, one of note by his grandson, Merlin Holland, in 1997.


pussreboots said...

Interesting list. I've posted about animal book covers. Happy TT.

Lori said...

Wow, what great info. Thanks for sharing:) Happy TT. It was great to see you!!

suchsimplepleasures said...

what a plethora of info on the amazing oscar wilde!! the kitty pics! i have 4 cats...and they are my my 5 kids but...the cats are soooo much easier!!! and, not as temperamental.

Nicholas said...

Very interesting. I saw his grave at Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris some years ago.

Cheerio said...

That list is really very informative. Must take note.

Anonymous said...

Poor lose everything over a relationship that didn't last is so sad.


jenn said...

Well there you go. I've learned something today and it's not even 7am :)!
Happy tt!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Think how differently he'd be viewed if this was his life today. Pretty sad, how far we've fallen, huh?

Anonymous said...

This is bookmarked. He is a personal favorite, for his courage. Thanks for doing all the legwork!

Babystepper said...

You spent a lot of time on this! Thanks for all the information and quotes.

I like the one about compliments. I've always felt that way about them too.

Darla said...

Fascinating! I didn't know half of this! And I loved the quotes. :)

colleen said...

Funny, someone did a 13 on Wilde last week. So did he go to prison for being homosexual? I enjoyed learning more about him. And I do think often our names give clues to our assignments.

Open Grove Claudia said...

One of the reasons I love TTs is all the great things I get to learn! Thank you so much for writing this! I had no idea... and what an interesting person. He comes alive here.

Happy TT!

Shiloh Walker said...

Love the quotes~

Amanda Young said...

What a great post. Some of those quotes are fabulous.

Slacking Overachiever said...

So interesting and a great selection of quotes. A truly enriching Thursday Thirteen!

MamaGeek said...

I love quotes T13. This was an awesome selection.

MamaGeek said...

OH, and sincere thanks for adding me to your blogroll! Your blog is cool too. =^..^=

Marilyn said...

What a sad ending to his life... great list. Thank you so much for all of those quotes.

Nap Warden said...

Wonderful quotes! Great TT!

Anonymous said...

This was very interesting! I read Dorian Gray in high school and I had forgotten all about it.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite authors ~ loved TP of Dorian Gray for many years

Thanks for stopping by my Reverse Psychology edition.

Nicole Austin said...

Great list! Thanks for sharing all this info. :D

Happy TT!

Tempest Knight said...

Love your T13! Very interesting facts! :)

Ann Bruce said...

I learned a lot of new things today!

Anonymous said...

The only work of his I know is Dorian Gray (she said, hanging her head in shame). But I did add Shelfari to my site! That'proof that I'm not a functional illiterate, huh?

Robin said...

I learned a lot here, thank you.

Chelle Y. said...

I had never heard of him. He had some great quotes, even for back then. :)

Malcolm said...

I didn't know that Wilde only wrote one novel. Thanks for the info. Several years ago, I saw the movie "Wilde" starring Stephen Fry in the title role and Jude Law as Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas.

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