OSCAR WILDE: BIOGRAFIA E OPERE
Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854.His father was an important surgeon of the city. He was educated at Trinity College, and then he won a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford. There he was immediately attracted by the Aesthetic Movement, and the major influence on him was that of John Ruskin (a famous painter), one of his teachers at university. Oscar Wilde quickly won a reputation as a brilliant talker, a dandy and he transformed his life into a work of art. He went to London and there he became famous. He had extravagant habits such as carrying flowers when walking, wearing a green carnation in his buttonhole and dressing in bright colours, in contrast with the severe black suits of the middle class of his time. He became the spokesman of the Aesthetic Movement and then in 1881 he went to the U.S.A.. In 1883 he returned to England to marry Costance Lloyd, they then had two children. He had a successful career between 1890 to 1895.
OSCAR WILDE: BIOGRAFIA BREVE
In spite of the violent reaction aroused by his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray ( 1891 ), his literary prestige increased thanks to the success of his so-called “society plays “ , which , from 1892 to 1895, brought him wealth and fame. But the wheel of fortune was about to turn. In March 1895 , at the peak of his career, he sued the Marquis of Queensberry, who had accused him of a homosexual relationship with his son, Lord Alfred Douglas . Unfortunately the accusations were proved true, and Oscar Wilde was arrested, tried and sentenced to two years of hard labour. Actually, he was condemned long before being sentenced, since, while he was still on trial, public opinion turned against him, his plays and books were withdrawn and he became the target of fierce ostracism. His financial ruin was complete.
OSCAR WILDE OPERE
While in prison he suffered every sort of humiliation ( only towards the end of his imprisonment he was allowed to read and write). For a while he also became attracted to the Bible, but it was only a Temporary interest. When he was released he was a broken man; he adopted the name of Sebastian Melmoth ( the surname being inspired by Maturin’s Gothic novel The Wanderer, while the forename recalled not only the Christian martyr transfixed with arrows but also the arrows printed on his prison uniform). He spent some time in Naples and Switzerland, writing against the brutality of prison life. Then he settled in Paris Where, almost forgotten by everyone, he died on November 30, 1900, from an attack of meningitis, after embracing Roman Catholicism just before dying.
OSCAR WILDE: IL RITRATTO DI DORIAN GRAY
The rebel and the dandy
Oscar Wilde adopted "the Aesthetic ideal", as he affirmed in one of his famous conversations: "My life is like a work of art". He lived in the double role of rebel and dandy.
The Wildean dandy is an aristocratic whose elegance is a symbol of the superiority of his spirit; he uses his wit to shock, and is an individualist who demands absolute freedom. Since life was meant for pleasure, and pleasure was an indulgence in the beautiful, Oscar Wilde's interest in beauty -clothes, words or boys- had no moral stance. He affirmed in the preface of his novel, "There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all." In this way he rejected the didacticism that had characterised the Victorian novel in the fist half of the century.
The name of Wilde is closely connected with Aestheticism and even more with Decadentism. Yet he stood apart from the other " decadents", since he did not isolate himself from the world, but did his best to be publicly popular and successful.