El retrato de dorian grey

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"I'll be a poet, a writer, a dramatist. Somehow or other I'll be famous, and if not famous, I'll be notorious." Oscar Wilde (1854−1900) As it turned out, both fame and infamy befriended Oscar Wilde from the second he flirted with fashionable Victorian society. This Irishman, who was adopted by the English, was at first fêted solely for his overt, flamboyant nature and the scintillating, quickbanter with which he regaled his audience − leaving the writer beneath the frills and gaiety too often forgotten. His genius as a raconteur and coiner of epigrams alternately rocked and shocked London's literary luminaries, long before he found success as a poet and writer. Then, at the peak of his career, Wilde's private life came under intense scrutiny, and the society that had adored and courtedthis remarkable man, tragically, turned against him. Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde began his life in Dublin on 16th October, 1854. He was the second of three children born to Sir William Ralph Wills Wilde, a prominent eye surgeon, scholar and noted archaeologist; and Lady Jane Wilde (neé Elgee), celebrated contributor of fiery nationalistic articles for the radical newspaper, The Nation,hostess of an influential Dublin salon and an ardent feminist. Oscar was blessed by a happy, laid−back childhood. Pampered and loved by both his talented, albeit eccentric, parents, it was his mother whom he worshipped and who was to nurture his creativity as he grew into adulthood. Educated in Portora Royal, a public school near Enniskillen, Oscar had a natural affinity for the classics and excelledin his Greek studies. He went on to earn himself the Berkeley Gold Medal for Greek at Trinity College, Dublin, and he won a scholarship to Magdalen College in Oxford shortly after his twentieth birthday. Wilde declared "I was the happiest man in the world when I entered Magdalen for the first time." It was throughout his four year idyll at Oxford that Oscar took his first sips from the cup ofnotoriety, as word spread rapidly from don to don that in their midst stood a gifted conversationalist but an eccentric dresser. Wilde left Oxford in 1878 boasting a double first and the coveted Newdigate Prize for English poetry, for his poem Ravenna. London was calling and so this brilliant young scholar and dandy wasted no time in flinging himself unashamedly into its limelight. Oscar became themost quoted man in London and quickly earned himself a reputation amongst the literati for his ascerbic wit, intellect and audacity. Wilde was not renowned for being a handsome man, rather he was bulky and overgrown in stature at six feet, three inches. Indeed, one Lady Colin Campbell, who despised him, referred to him rather unkindly as "the great white caterpillar." Variously described asslack−jowled, thick−lipped and colourless with his hair either lank or coiffed into an excessive mass of curls atop his head, perhaps this explained Oscar's penchant for dressing to shock. He donned "frothy" clothes unbefitting a Victorian gentleman's wardrobe − Byronesque shirts, rich velvet coats and knee−breeches, stockings, floppy neckties and buckled shoes. This fascinating man gained social acclaimin record time, receiving countless invitations from the most influential members of society. His epigrams and mannerisms soon became the subject of savage satire in Punch magazine and a play entitled The Colonel, but it was through Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta, Patience, that Oscar was most derisively characterised. Wilde, though, remained impassive, in fact his ego was boosted evenfurther by the widespread notoriety he gained. Luckily for Wilde, the play's success saved him from penury, and when the producers chose to take the production across the Atlantic, Oscar was invited to explain The Principles of Aestheticism to the American classes. On Christmas Eve 1881, he duly set sail for the New World. On his arrival on 2nd January, 1882, a customs official asked Oscar, "Have...
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