Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900) was an Irish writer. He is famous for titles like The Picture of Dorian Gray as well as his affection for boys, which landed him in prison in 1895. Specifically, he was convicted of charges of sodomy that were brought in response to a lawsuit he filed against the Marquis of Queensbury. He sued the Marquis for libel in connection with a note the the Marquis wrote accusing Wilde of "posing as a somdomite" [sic]. Wilde and the marquis' son, Lord Alfred Douglas, then in his early 20s, were lovers. The Marquis hired detectives to investigate Wilde's sex life. Wilde lost his suit. Based on information presented at the trial, Wilde was charged immediately with sodomy. Wilde was convicted on charges related to Douglas, though the most sensational portions of the trial related to testimony that he consorted with older adolescents and young men of the working class (who he paid or otherwise befriended). Because "gentlemen" did not, by the standards of the day, socialize with working people, the Crown led he jury to assume that the contacts Wilde had with these young men had to be sexual in nature.
Wilde penned what some have described as his most poignant poem, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," while incarcerated at heavy labor on the sodomy conviction. Wilde had to leave the country after his release, for the always-more-tolerant Paris. After his release, Wilde and Douglas spent time together in Greece and Paris. Wilde was nearly destitute and their relationship became very troubled, leading to periods of separation and reconciliation. Wilde died alone in a Paris boarding house three years after his release from Reading Gaol.
The impact of Wilde's highly publicized trials was immense, both in England and on the Continent. This was the first time anyone had openly defended homosexual love in a court of law. The phrase "the love that dare not speak its name" comes from Wilde's trial, and it was a key piece in the birth of what would become the homosexual rights movement.
- Born 16 October 1854 in Dublin
- 1884 Marriage with Constance Lloyd, with whom he had two sons, Cyril (*1885) and Vyvyan (*1886).
- 25 May 1895, sentenced to prison on a charge of sodomy
- 1897 released from prison due to his illness
- Died 30 November 1900 in Paris
- The Portrait of Mr. W. H. 1889
- The Picture of Dorian Gray 1891
- The Importance of Being Earnest 1895
- The Major Uranians
- Encyclopedia of Homosexuality
- The article on Oscar Wilde from the Encylopedia of Homosexuality(.PDF format, click to download): http://www.williamapercy.com/wiki/images/Wilde.pdf