LGBT People Of History Part Ten Oscar Wilde
Born 16th October 1854 in Dublin, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was the son of two intellectuals of Dublin and from an early age was fluent in both French and German. He showed wit and high intelligence from a very early age.
Oscar attended both Dublin and Oxford universities and was instrumental in the rise of philosophy and aestheticism. After university he moved to London where he wrote his only novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ in 1890. He became a huge ‘celebrity’ after having success with his plays ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ and ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ amongst others.
In 1894 Oscar was introduced to Lord Alfred Douglas (‘Bosie’) who was the son of the Marquess of Queensberry. Bosie seemed to have been a spoilt young man and loved to bask in Oscar’s fame. Bosie and Oscar would soon fall in love and be reckless in public attending the many male brothels in London’s dark side. Their love affair would eventually lead to scandal, as the Marquess confronted Oscar and Alfred many times about the nature of their affair. Although their attempts to deter him had worked up until 1895, the Marquess then accused Oscar of ‘posing as a sodomite’. After a hugely publicised trial for slander against the Marquees had failed in which Wilde was his usual witty and flippant self he found himself penniless and under arrest for gross indecency under section11 for homosexual acts. He did have the chance to flee to France but his own inertia and his Mother’s persuasion ended up in him staying in London.
In the April Wilde pleaded not guilty but his attempts were futile and he was found guilty and sentenced to two years hard labour in the May in Reading Gaol, where he wrote perhaps his most moving work – ‘De Profundis’ – a letter to Bosie. After his release in April 1897 his health had deteriorated and he moved to France where he was reunited with Bosie in Rouen. They lived together in Italy for a brief spell until their families threatened to cut their funds off leading to their separation.
Wilde went back to France moving to Paris where he would remain until his death in 1900. On November 29th Wilde was drifting in and out of consciousness having been injected with morphine, due to the meningitis that was slowly taking his life. Wilde was conditionally baptised in to the Catholic Church by a priest from Dublin.
He was laid to rest eventually at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris in a tomb designed by Sir Jacob Epstein- a fitting tribute to a great man. The tomb is visited by thousands and is a place of homage.
This can only be brief look at the life of Oscar Wilde – other important people in his life were Robert (Robbie) Ross, a steadfast friend and lover and Oscar’s wife, Constance.
Oscar Wilde is still one of the most famous LGBT people in history. There have been many portrayals of his life in word and on screen. Perhaps the best of them is by Stephen Fry, an openly gay man whose wit and intelligence mirrors that of Oscar.
Wilde will always be remembered not only in the LGBT world but as a pioneer of literature, wit and flamboyance.
We hope that you have enjoyed this Hub and hope that you will continue to enjoy the many more that we bring. J
Callum and Ian.
Here Are Our Many Other LGBT People Of History
- LGBT People Of History Collection
Here are the links to each of the LGBT People Of History hubs that Ian and I have wrote. As mentioned above, each time a new one is published you will find it on here.
- LGBT People of History 1 - Hadrian
Callum (calpol25) and I have decided to write a few Hubs on famous gay people from the past. We will publish them alternately on our 2 HP sites. Here is the first one. We hope you enjoy reading it. Hadrian Publius Aelius Traianus...
- LGBT People Of History Part Two Alexander The Great
Alexander the Great Alexander the Great - perhaps the most famous leader of pre-Roman times was born in 356BCE. He was born into a stongly patriarchal society in which being a warrior was the pinnacle of achievement. His tutor in his younger...
- LGBT People of History 3 - King Edward II of England
This is the third in our Hubs about Historical LGBT people. We hope you enjoy reading it. King Edward II of England King Edward II of England was the son of King Edward I (Longshanks) of England – a horrible man, who suppressed the...
- LGBT People Of History Part Four Richard The Lionheart
He was born in September 1157 at Beaumont Palace. By the age of 16, Richard commanded his own army he launched many rebellions in Poitou against his father, King Henry II. Richard became King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death on 6th...
- LGBT People of History 5 - James VI and I
Here is our fifth foray into LGBT People of History. Mary, Queen of Scots was perhaps one of the most famous monarchs of history and led a turbulent life. She gave birth to James in 1566. His father was Lord Darnley. Mary was forced to abdicate in...
- LGBT People Of History Part Six Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was quite simply a genius. He was a Renaissance painter and sculptor and delved into almost all fields of human endeavor including music, the sciences, cartography and architecture. He was born in 1452. During his...
- LGBT People of History 7 - Michelangelo
This is the seventh installment of our LGBT People of History series. Michelangelo Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born in 1475. He and Leonardo are considered to be the greatest Renaissance figures. He was a sculptor, painter..
- LGBT People Of History Part Eight Lord Byron
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron had various names throughout his life- he’s usually known as Lord Byron. He was born in 1788 and was one of the first major ‘celebrities’. He led what, at the time, was known as a scandalous life. He was a...
- LGBT People of History 9 - Walt Whitman
Walter ‘Walt’ Whitman was way ahead of his time. Born in 1819, he was a writer, humanist and egalitarian. He was a pioneer of ‘free verse’. His collection of poems, ‘Leaves of Grass’, caused controversy due to its sexual themes.