Biography of Oscar Wilde-(1854-1900). Oscar Wilde-.
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Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin, the son of an eye-surgeon and a literary hostess and writer (known under the pseudonym "Speranza"). After studying at Trinity College, Dublin, Wilde went to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he achieved a double first and won the Newdigate prize for a poem Ravenna. While at Oxford he became notorious for his flamboyant wit, talent, charm and aestheticism, and this reputation soon won him a place in London society. Bunthorne, the Fleshly Poet in Gilbert and Sullivan's opera Patience was widely thought to be a caricature of Wilde (though in fact it was intended as a skit of Rosetti) and Wilde seems to have consciously styled himself on this figure. In 1882 Wilde gave a one year lecture tour of America, visiting Paris in 1883 before returning to New York for the opening of his first play Vera. In 1884 he married and had two sons, for whom he probably wrote his first book of fairy tales, The Happy Prince. The next decade was his most prolific and the time when he wrote the plays for which he is best remembered. His writing and particularly his plays are epigramatic and witty and Wilde was not afraid to shock. This period was also haunted by accusations about his personal life, chiefly prompted by the Marquess of Queensberry's fierce opposition to the intense friendship between Wilde and her son, Lord Alfred. These accusations culminated in 1895 in Wilde's imprisonment for homosexual offences. While in prison, Wilde was declared bankrupt, and after his release he lived on the generosity of friends. From prison he wrote a long and bitter letter to Lord Alfred, part of which was afterwards published as De Profundis, but after his release he wrote nothing but the poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol.
Jack Worthing - a young gentleman from the country, in love with Gwendolen Fairfax.Algernon Moncrieff - a young gentleman from London, the nephew of Lady Bracknell, in love with Cecily Cardew.Gwendolen Fairfax - a young lady, loved by Jack Worthing.Lady Bracknell - a society lady, Gwendolen’s mother.Cecily Cardew - a young lady, the ward of Jack Worthing.Miss Prism - Cecily’s governess. The Reverend Canon Chasuble - the priest of Jack’s parish.Lane - Algernon’s butler.Merriman - Jack’s servant.
Jack and Algernon are wealthy gentlemen. Jack (known to Algernon as Ernest) lives a respectable life in the country providing an example to his young ward Cecily. Algernon lives in luxury in London and has invented an imaginary invalid friend (Bunbury) whom he visits in the country whenever an unappealing social engagement presents itself. Jack has also invented a character - a wayward younger brother called Ernest whom he uses as pretext for going up to London and enjoying himself.
Jack wants to marry Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen, but must first convince her mother, Lady Bracknell, of the respectability of his parents. For Jack, having been abandoned in a handbag at Victoria station, this is quite a difficult task.
Algernon visits Jack’s house in the country and introduces himself to Cecily as Ernest, knowing that Cecily is already fascinated by tales of Ernest's wickedness. He further wins her over and they become engaged. Shortly after, Jack arrives home announcing Ernest’s death. This sets off a series of farcical events. Cecily and Gwendolen have a genteel stand-off over which of them has a prior claim on ‘Ernest’. Jack and Algernon vie to be christened Ernest. Eventually, Jack discovers that his parents were Lady Bracknell’s sister and brother-in-law and that he is, in fact, Algernon’s older brother, called Ernest. The two sets of lovers are thus free to marry.
During these events the characters of Canon Chasuble and Cecily’s governess Miss Prism have also fallen in love, and in the best tradition of the well-made play the story ends with all the loose ends tied up and everyone set to live happily ever after.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel written by Oscar Wilde, first appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890. Wilde later revised this edition, making several alterations, and adding new chapters; the amended version was published by Ward, Lock, and Company in April 1891. The story is often miscalled The Portrait of Dorian Gray.
The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is greatly impressed by Dorian's physical beauty and becomes strongly infatuated with him, believing that his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Talking in Basil's garden, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new kind of hedonism, Lord Henry suggests that the only thing worth pursuing in life is beauty, and the fulfilment of the senses. Realising that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian cries out, wishing that the portrait Basil has painted of him would age rather than himself. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, subsequently plunging him into a series of debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin being displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered one of the last works of classic gothic horrorfiction with a strong Faustiantheme. It deals with the artistic movement of the decadents, and homosexuality, both of which caused some controversy when the book was first published. However, in modern times, the book has been referred to as "one of the modern classics of Western literature."
The novel begins with Lord Henry Wotton observing the artist Basil Hallward painting the portrait of a handsome young man named Dorian Gray. Dorian arrives later, meeting Wotton. After hearing Lord Henry's world view, Dorian begins to think that beauty is the only worthwhile aspect of life, and the only thing left to pursue. He wishes that the portrait of him which Basil is painting would grow old in his place. Under the influence of Lord Henry, Dorian begins an exploration of his senses. He discovers an actress, Sibyl Vane, who performs Shakespeare in a dingy theatre. Dorian approaches her, and soon proposes marriage. Sibyl, who refers to him as "Prince Charming," rushes home to tell her skeptical mother and brother. Her protective brother, James, tells her that if "Prince Charming" ever harms her, he will kill him.
Dorian then invites Basil and Lord Henry to see Sibyl perform in Romeo and Juliet. Sibyl, whose only previous knowledge of love was through the love of theatre, suddenly loses her acting abilities through the experience of true love with Dorian, and performs very badly. Dorian rejects her, saying that her beauty was in her art, and if she could no longer act, he was no longer interested in her. Once he returns home, Dorian notices that Basil's portrait of him has changed. After examining the painting, Dorian realizes that his wish has come true - the portrait's expression now bears a subtle sneer, and will age with each sin he commits, while his own outward appearance remains unchanged. He decides to reconcile with Sibyl, but Lord Henry arrives in the morning to say that Sibyl has killed herself by swallowing prussic acid. Over the next eighteen years Dorian experiments with every vice, mostly under the influence of a "poisonous" French novel, a present from Lord Henry. Wilde never reveals the title but his inspiration was likely drawn from Joris-Karl Huysmans's À rebours (Against Nature) due to the likenesses that exist between the two novels.
One night, before he leaves for Paris, Basil arrives to question Dorian about the rumours of his indulgences. Dorian does not deny the debauchery. He takes Basil to the portrait which is revealed to have become as hideous as Dorian's sins. In a fit of anger, Dorian blames the artist for his fate, and stabs him to death. He then blackmails an old friend named Alan Campbell, who happened to be a chemist, into destroying the body. Wishing to escape his crime, Dorian travels to an opium den. James Vane happens to be nearby, and hears someone refer to Dorian as "Prince Charming." He follows Dorian out and attempts to shoot him, but he is deceived when Dorian asks James to look at him in the light, saying that he is too young to have been involved with Sibyl eighteen years ago. James releases Dorian, but is approached by a woman from the opium den, who chastises him for not killing Dorian and tells him that Dorian has not aged for the past eighteen years.
While at dinner one night, Dorian sees Sibyl Vane's brother stalking the grounds and fears for his life. However, during a game-shooting party the next day James is accidentally shot and killed by one of the hunters. After returning to London, Dorian informs Lord Henry that he will be good from now on, and has started by not breaking the heart of his latest innocent conquest, a vicar's daughter in a country town, named Hetty Merton. At his apartment, he wonders if the portrait has begun to change back, losing its senile, sinful appearance, now that he has changed his immoral ways. He unveils the portrait to find that it has become worse. Seeing this he begins to question the motives behind his act of "mercy," whether it was merely vanity, curiosity, or the quest for new emotional excess. Deciding that only a full confession would truly absolve him, but lacking any guilt and fearing the consequences, he decides to destroy the last vestige of his conscience. In a fit of rage, he picks up the knife that killed Basil Hallward, and plunges it into the painting. Hearing his cry from inside the locked room, his servants send for the police, who find Dorian's body, suddenly aged, withered, and horrible, beside the portrait, which has reverted to its original form; it is only through the rings on his hand that the corpse can be identified
"The story concerns a statue, golden and bejewelled, which has been erected above a town, in memory of a rich and happy prince. A swallow, off to hibernate in Egypt, stops for the night at the foot of the statue, and feels tears on her head. Looking up she sees that the statue of the prince is weeping over the world's misery and poverty, which in life he was never able to see. Three times he implores the swallow to pluck jewels from his body and to take them to poor and needy citizens, then to strip the gold from his body and throw it to the starving children in the street below. All the time it is growing colder. The prince is blind and ugly now. The swallow is too weak of fly to Egypt, but anyway she loves her prince too much to leave his feet. Stretching up to kiss his lips, she dies; and the statue's lead heart cracks. The mayor and citizens who erected the statue come and take it down since its decorative value no longer exists, and with some disgust they move the swallow's body away, the lot to be burned. As the flames rise, alarmed voices exclaim that the broken, leaden heart will not burn. A choir of angels above the flames tells the citizens that the leaden heart and the dead bird are the most precious things in the city."
“The Birthday of the Infanta,” a very famous painting by Diego Valesquez. Valesquez was a Spanish painter. He painted the royal family of King Philip. This painting shows his daughter, the Infanta, her courtiers, the fantastic or little person, and her parents reflected in the mirror. You also see the painter! It is one of the most famous paintings in the western world.
The story that fascinated Mr. Wilde was the relationship between the Infanta and the Fantastic. The Fantastic was a little person who hadn’t grown big like ordinary people. In those days, the royals were very cruel to the little people. They treated them almost as if they weren’t human. They kept fantastics in court to make them laugh. They thought touching the hump on their deformed backs might give them good luck. Today, we wouldn’t allow such inhumanity to happen! But Oscar Wilde used this awful practice to help us see more about how humans can think and fail to feel.
“The Canterville Ghost” is a parody featuring a dramatic spirit named Sir Simon and the United States minister (ambassador) to the Court of St. James's, Hiram B. Otis. Mr. Otis travels to England with his family and moves into a haunted country house. Lord Canterville, the previous owner of the house, warns Mr. Otis that the ghost of Sir Simon de Canterville has haunted it ever since he killed his wife, Eleonore, three centuries before. But Mr. Otis dismisses the ghost story as bunk and disregards Lord Canterville’s warnings. When the Otises learn that the house is indeed haunted, they succeed in victimizing the ghost and in disregarding age-old British traditions. What emerges is a satire of American materialism, a lampoon of traditional British values, and an amusing twist on the traditional gothic horror tale.
The story takes place in an old English country house, Canterville Chase, which has all the accoutrements of a traditional haunted house. Descriptions of the wainscoting, the library paneled in black oak, and the armor in the hallway characterize the Gothic setting and help Wilde clash the Old World with the New. Typical of the style of the English Decadents, the gothic atmosphere reveals the author’s fascination with the macabre. Yet he mixes the macabre with comedy, juxtaposing devices from traditional English ghost stories such as creaking floorboards, clanking chains, and ancient prophecies with symbols of modern American consumerism. Wilde’s Gothic setting helps emphasize the contrast between cultures.