Oscar Wilde

wilde1October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900

Ever hear the term “The Gay Nineties”? Well, the British counterpart to the American decade of decadence at the end of the 19th century was deemed the “Naughty Nineties.”

Enter Oscar Wilde.

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish-born (you don’t say?) writer who was known for his wit and flamboyant personality. His literary masterworks include his lone novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray and his most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest. But enough of the boring stuff…Wilde spent the first half of the so-called “Naughty Nineties” in London embroiled in an affair with Lord Alfred Douglas. A fact the Douglas family was none too thrilled about. Wilde was publicly outed – practicing homosexuality was illegal at the time – and sentenced to 2 years of hard labor in prison. Prison life vastly disagreed with Wilde’s sense of aesthetics and art and all things opulent and his health rapidly declined. Upon his release, he fled to France where he lived out the rest of his brief life in exile. Ever witty, it was long rumored that his last words on his deathbed were “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has to go,” although it has been disputed whether it was his actual final utterance or not (the quote most certainly was said, just not right before he died.) Either way, the wallpaper won. Oscar Wilde died of cerebral meningitis at the age of 46.

Burial

Père Lachaise Cemetery – Paris, FRANCE

wilde3

Specific Location

Division 89; Along the north side of Avenue Carette, Oscar’s large, graffiti-covered tomb is unmistakable.

UPDATE: …and now, apparently, behind some sort of Plexiglas shield. No fun, Père Lachaise, no fun at all.

pere_wilde

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