Oscar Wilde (real name Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde) was born on
October 16th, 1854 in Dublin. His father, William Robert Wilde, was an eminent eye
doctor, with an interest in myths and folklore. He was the founder of the first eye and ear
hospital in Great Britain, as well as the appointed Surgeon Occultist to the Queen, who
knighted him. His mother, Jane Francesca Elgee Wilde, was a poet who wrote patriotic
Irish verse under the pen name Speranza, and had a considerable following. As a
youngster, Wilde was exposed to the brilliant literary talk of the day at his mother's Dublin
In 1864 Wilde entered the Portora Royal School at Enniskillen, and in 1871
entered Trinity College in Dublin. In 1874 he left Ireland and went to England to attend
Magdalen College at Oxford. As a student there, he excelled in classics, wrote poetry,
and incorporated the Bohemian life style of his youth into a unique way of life.
under the influence of aesthetic innovators such as English writers Walter Pater and John
Ruskin. He found the aesthetic movement's notions of 'art for art's sake' and dedicating
one's life to art suitable to his temperament and talents. As an aesthete, Wilde wore long
hair and velvet knee breeches, and became known for his eccentricity as well as his
academic ability. His rooms were filled with various objets d'art such as sunflowers,
peacock feathers, and blue china. Wilde frequently confided that his greatest challenge at
University was learning to live up to the perfection of the china. Wilde won numerous
academic prizes while studying there, including the Newdigate Prize, a coveted poetry
award, for his poem Ravenna.
In 1879 Wilde moved to London to make himself famous. He set about
establishing himself as the...