Oscar Wilde

Irish novelist, essayist, poet, playwright and short story writer

Oscar Wilde was an Irish-born writer who spent the majority of his life in London, and is the best representative of the literature of the fin de siècle in the English-speaking world. He was associated with the Decadent movement and with Aestheticism, and prized beauty above all else.

Victorian society was shocked by his flamboyant dandyism and his non-conformism, and some of his more narrow-minded contemporaries reacted violently against his behaviour. In 1895, he was sentenced to two years’ hard labour in Reading Gaol for his sexual relationships with men. Having served his sentence, he went into exile in Paris, where he died forgotten and penniless in 1900. His most famous works are The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890-1891) and the play The Importance of Being Earnest (1895).

The Canterville Ghost

Wilde’s most famous story

The Canterville Ghost was first published in 1887, and is undoubtedly Wilde’s most famous short story.