A life in dates
1854 16 Oct., born Dublin, second legitimate son of William Robert Wilde, physician and surgeon and Jane Elgee, Irish nationalist poet, known as Speranza. Christened, in Protestant ritual, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde. 1855 The Wilde family moves to fashionable No 1 Merrion Square, Dublin, where Lady Wilde starts a salon. 1856 Birth of sister, Isola. 1864 Father knighted.
Oscar and his older brother Willie sent to Portora Royal School, Enniskillen.
1867 Isola, Wilde's much loved sister dies. 1870 Wins Carpenter Prize for Greek Testament studies. 1871 10 Nov., Enters Trinity College, Dublin. 1873 Awarded a Trinity College, Dublin Foundation Scholarship. 1874 Wins Berkeley Cold Medal for Greek; takes scholarship examination for Magdalen College, Oxford and wins Demyship.
Oct., goes up to Oxford; attends Ruskin's lectures and joined in his roadbuilding activities at Hinksey.
1875 Joins a Masonic Lodge; comes close to conversion to Roman Catholicism.
Travels to Italy during his vacation.
1876 Death of Sir William Wilde.
Gains First Class in Honours in Moderations (second year examinations).
1877 Prolonged vacation in Greece with Professor Mahaffy of T.C.D., returning via Rome. Visits the Palazzo Rossi, Genoa to see Guido Reni's painting St. Sebastian.
Rusticated for six months because of late arrival back in Oxford. Spends 10 days in London, reviews the Grosvenor Gallery then returns to Dublin. July, first article published, 'The Grosvenor Gallery', in Dublin University Magazine. Meeting with Walter Pater, on return to Oxford.
Works on long poem, The Sphinx, begun 1874.
1878 His poem Ravenna won the Newdigate Prize.
Gains a First in Greats (Final examination).
1879 Failing to get a Classical Fellowship at Oxford, Wilde concentrates on London's intellectual and political society, developing a friendship with Lillie Langtry and getting to know Ellen Terry, Sarah Bernhardt, and other leading actresses. Shares bachelor quarters with Frank Miles in Salisbury Street, Strand.
Lady Wilde moves to London.
1880 With Miles moves to the more fashionable address of Tite Street, Chelsea, which had been redesigned by E.W. Godwin.
Sept., sends Ellen Terry a copy of his first play Vera.
1881 Satirized as Reginald Bunthorne in Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera.
First volume of Poems published in England and America.
Rehearsals of Vera cancelled because of politically sensitive situation.
1882 Jan - Dec., lecture tour of Great Britain and Canada. (Lectures on 'The England Renaissance', 'The House Beautiful' and 'The Decorative Arts'.) 1883 Feb. - May, went to Paris, where he met painters (Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Giuseppe de Nittis, Jacques-Émile Blanche and John Sargent), writers (Victor Hugo, Edmond de Goncourt, Alphonse Daudet, Paul Bourget, Émile Zola, Maurice Rollinat and Paul Verlaine) and actors in a crowded social life and writes The Duchess of Padua.
Aug., production of Vera in USA.
Sept., begins lecture tour of USA.
Nov., engaged to Constance Lloyd while lecturing in Dublin.
1884 29 May, marriage to Constance Lloyd. Honeymoon in Paris. Wilde reads Huysman's A Rebours on its first appearance. 1885 The couple settles in a house in Tite Street, decorated by E.W. Godwin.
20 Feb., Whistler's Ten O'Clock Lecture, attacking Wilde, who replies in two articles in The Pall Mall Gazette.
5 June, birth of Cyril Wilde.
1886 Meets Robert Ross, then 17, In Oxford.
According to Ross, this was Wilde's first homosexual affair.
3 Nov., birth of Vyvyan Wilde.
1887 Nov., assumes editorship of The Lady's World, changing the journal's title to The Woman's World and raising its quality.
Writes many reviews.
1888 Attends meetings of socialist Fabian Society.
May, publishes The Happy Prince and Other Tales.
1889 Meets W.B. Yeats.
Jan., 'Pen, Pencil and Poison' appears in Fortnightly Review and 'The Decay of Lying' in The Nineteenth Century.
Gives up editorship of The Woman's World.
1890 July and Sept., 'The Critic as Artist' published in The Nineteenth Century.
June, The Picture of Dorian Gray published in Lippincott's Magazine.
1891 The Duchess of Padua presented in USA, under the title Guido Ferranti, without an author's name.
Visits Paris, meets Mallarmé, as well as Rothenstein and Conder.
Publishes two volumes of stories, a book of critical essays Intention, The Picture of Dorian Gray (in expanded book form), and 'The Soul of Man under Socialism' in the Fortnightly Review.
Writes Lady Windermere's Fan and much of Salomé (in French).
Late June, introduced to Lord Alfred Douglas by Lionel Johnson.
July, first meeting with Aubrey Beardsley.
Oct.-Dec., visits Paris.
1892 Production of Lady Windermere's Fan.
Salomé banned from public performance in England.
1893 Production of A Woman of No Importance. 1894 An ideal Husband finishes.
A Florentine Tragedy and most of La Sainte Courtisane written.
The Sphinx published, illustrated by Ricketts.
Aug.-Oct., writing The Importance of Being Earnest while at Worthing with Constance and their sons.
Some of Wilde's letters to Lord Alfred Douglas come into the hands of Douglas's father, the Marquess of Queensberry.
Sept., publication of Robert Hichens's scandalous novel, The Green Carnation, based on the Wilde circle.
1895 3 Jan., production of An Ideal Husband opens.
14 Feb., Queensberry's plans demonstration against Wilde, at the first performance of The Importance of Being Earnest, foiled by the actor-manager, George Alexander.
28 Feb., insulting note from Queensberry found by Wilde at the Albemarle Club.
1 Mar., urged on by 'Bosie' (Lord Alfred Douglas), Wilde brings a libel charge against Queensberry.
3 Apr., libel case opens at the Old Bailey.
5 Apr., Queensberry acquitted; warrant issued for the arrest of Wilde. His name is subsequently removed from advertisement hoardings outside the theatres where his plays are being performed.
24 Apr., Bailiff's sale of Wilde's possessions at Tite Street.
26 Apr., the trial opens.
25 May, sentenced to two years' imprisonment with hard labour. Taken to Newgate, thence to Wandsworth, where he injures his ear in a fall.
8 Sept., Constance decides against a divorce.
21 Nov., transferred to Reading Gaol.
1896 11 Feb., Lugné-Poë presents Salomé at Théâtre de l'Oeuvre in Paris.
19 Feb., Constance visits her husband, bringing news of Lady Wilde's death on 3 Feb.
July, appointment of a new, more humane governor at Reading. Oscar is allowed writing materials. He begins to write De Profundis in the form of a long letter to Alfred Douglas.
1897 19 May, released from prison.
20 May travels to Dieppe, where he hands Robert Ross the manuscript of De Profundis for copying and begins life as Sebastian Melmoth with £800 raised by Ross from subscriptions.
May-Oct., writes and revises The Ballad of Reading Gaol (later expanded).
Sept.-Dec., with Alfred Douglas in Naples.
1898 13 Feb., Leonard Smithers publishes The Ballad of Reading Gaol, which goes into many reprints.
Apr., Constance dies, following an operation on her spine. (She and the boys had adopted the surname Holland).
1899 Wilde meets Augustus John whilst in Paris. Publications of The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband. 1900 1 Jan., Queensberry dies leaving £ 20,000 to Alfred Douglas, who refuses financial help to Wilde. Some mouths later, George Alexander offer to make voluntary payments on performances of Wilde's plays and to bequeathe the copyright to Wilde's sons. Visits Rodin's pavilion at the Exposition Universelle.
30 Nov., Oscar Wilde dies in Paris, having been baptised into the Catholic Church. Alfred Douglas pays for his funeral. Buried at Bagneux Cemetery Paris.
1905 Ross publishes De Profundis in abridged form. 1906 Through Ross's efforts the Wilde estate discharged from bankruptcy. 1909 Wilde's remains moved to Père Lachaise.
De Profundis presented by Ross to the British Museum.
1912 A monument by Epstein erected at his grave.
"And alien tears will fill for him
Pity´s long broken urn
For his mourners will be outcast men
And outcasts always mourn"