Aesthetics: Crash Course Philosophy #31

Oscar Wilde - The Paradox Man


Childhood and youth

Oscar Wilde was born in 1854 in the capital of Ireland, in the family of a father-physician, knighted, and a mother who, during her lifetime, was one of the most prominent representatives of the struggle for women's rights and freedom. Both parents were part of the elite secular society, and both were seriously addicted to literature. Father wrote prose, his mother was engaged in poetry. Oscar Wilde had an older brother and a younger sister who, unfortunately, died at the age of ten.

Wealthy parents gave their children all the best. It was about education. In early childhood, even before entering the school, the best teachers and governess were invited to the house. Inheritance played a role, or such a reverent attitude to learning, but Oscar Wilde did make great progress in learning. In 1874, he began studying classical literature and philosophy at Oxford University.

Wilde creates his first poetic works in Oxford. There he writes "Ravenna", for which he receives many approvals and recognition.In addition, during his university years, both unique style and wilde manners, his love of ethics and morality, extraordinary wit and self-irony. Many began to admire the young genius and imitate him. His words were broken into quotes.

From his youth, the young poet was distinguished by excessive amorousness. He visited the capital's brothels, which at that time was considered normal even in secular society. But at the age of 30, Wilde marries a rich woman from England - Constance Lloyd, and they have two sons. The birth of children was his inspiration for writing fairy tales.

Since 1887, the most fruitful episode in the life of a prose writer begins. He writes an important work for his career, The Canterville Ghost, and by 1890 he was finishing his autobiographical novel, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, which was disapproved by critics for lack of morality. But the literary masterpiece became extremely popular among the ordinary public and was screened about 20 times already. After the publication of the novel, Wilde is engaged in writing plays for theatrical productions.

A court case

Despite his morality and the image of an ideal young man, Oscar Wilde managed to defame him, ruining his career and all his life. Relationship with his wife for some reason did not go well, and the spouses began to live separately. In 1891, the playwright meets a young youth, Alfred Douglas, and enters into a long intimate relationship with him. Alfred's father finds out about this and accuses Wilde of homosexuality, for which the writer sues him. But numerous testimonies, including intimate letters and the testimony of Douglas, give the Irish prose writer 2 years in prison and correctional work for rude and indecent behavior.

After his release from prison, Oscar Wilde lost his fame and prestige. He practically did not write, he lived like a beggar, he asked for help from his relatives and friends. The most famous work in this period of life was the work of his prison years - "The Ballad of Reading Prison." The writer died of meningitis in 1900 in Paris.

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