Another lesser known aspect and one for which only vague and partial information is available concerns Oscar’s state of health and, in particular, the chronic otitis which had, for many years, plagued this extraordinary author. Oscar Wilde became affected by syphilis at a very young age but it is very unlikely that this was responsible for his ear condition, as has been suggested by some. Indeed, it is more likely to have been a chronic aspecific purulent otitis brought about and becoming more severe, as the result of malnutrition, the extreme cold, the terrible hygiene conditions and the lack of appropriate treatment, during the two years spent in prison in Reading.
His health decimated, Wilde was released in 1897 and went to Paris. Under the name Sebastian Melmoth, he lived the last three years of his life alone and penniless. Oscar Wilde died on November 30, 1900 in the Hotel d'Alsace in Paris.
His last words are said to be, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go."
In April 1895, Wilde sued Bosie's father, the Marquis of Queensberry, for libel, after the Marquis has accused him of being homosexual. Wilde lost and, after details of his private life were revealed during the trial, was arrested and tried for gross indecency. He was sentenced to two years of hard labour. While in prison he composed a long letter to Douglas, posthumously published under the title 'De Profundis' .
Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray is perhaps the most prominent example of aestheticism in nineteenth century literature. Wilde’s characters, Dorian Gray and Lord Henry both live the lives of an aesthete. Wilde himself is anti-Victorian morality, and through this work, rejects the idea of Art as didactic. It is obvious that Wilde, and his art, are heavily influenced by Immanuel Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgement.
During the following years in London, Wilde published many works, including a collection of fairy tales, "The Happy Prince and Other Tales" in 1888 and "The Picture of Dorian Gray" in 1891. In addition, he lectured in the United States and Canada, worked for the "Pall Mall" Gazette from 1887 to 1889, and subsequently edited the magazine "Woman's World." Wilde wrote a new book nearly every year until 1895, primarily satirical social comedies. The most well known are "Lady Windermere's Fan" (1892), "A Woman of No Importance" (1893), "An Ideal Husband" (1895) and "The Importance of Being Earnest" (1895); this last piece satirizes the upper classes and is considered his best work.
In 1878, Oscar Wilde moved to London with a degree from Oxford and a burning desire to achieve stardom. He had been taught by his mother to view life as a performance, and he made a spectacle of everything, sometimes hailing a cab just to cross the street. He once wrote, "I awoke the imagination of my century so that it created myth and legend around me."
More crucial to his later fame, Oscar Wilde began to practice his aesthetic mode of life. Wilde kept his hair long and affected a highly stylized dress and manner. His rooms were well appointed. His collection of blue china was famous. Wilde’s pose was what he leveraged for his initial forays into fame. Wilde had many acolytes. But he also had his detractors, who at one point trashed his room.
While at Magdalen College, Wilde became particularly well known for his role in the aesthetic and decadent movements. He began wearing his hair long and openly scorning so-called "manly" sports, and began decorating his rooms with peacock feathers, lilies, sunflowers, blue china, and other objets d'art.
From 1864 until 1871, Wilde attended school and thereafter studied classics at Trinity College, Dublin. In 1874, he went to Magdalen College, Oxford for another four years.
Already during his studies, Wilde turned his attentions to writing and oriented himself according to the aesthetics of Walter Horatio Pater and John Ruskin.
Oscar Wilde's rich and dramatic portrayals of the human condition came during the height of the prosperity that swept through London in the Victorian Era of the late 19th century. At a time when all citizens of Britain were finally able to embrace literature the wealthy and educated could only once afford, Wilde wrote many short stories, plays and poems that continue to inspire millions around the world.
"The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things."
"All art is quite useless."