Wilde, glamorous and notorious, more famous as a playwright or prisoner than as a poet, invites readers of his verse to meet an unknown and intimate figure. The poetry of his formative years includes the haunting elegy to his young sister and the grieving lyric at the death of his father. The religious drama of his romance with Rome is captured here, as well as its resolution in his renewed love of ancient Greece. He explores forbidden sexual desires, pays homage to the great theatre stars and poets of his day, observes cityscapes with impressionist intensity. His final masterpiece, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, tells the painful story of his own prison experience and calls for universal compassion. This edition of Wilde's verse presents the full range of his achievement as a poet.
Oscar Fingall O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford where, a disciple of Pater, he founded an aesthetic cult. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and his two sons were born in 1885 and 1886.
His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and social comedies Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), established his reputation. In 1895, following his libel action against the Marquess of Queesberry, Wilde was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for homosexual conduct, as a result of which he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), and his confessional letter De Profundis (1905). On his release from prison in 1897 he lived in obscurity in Europe, and died in Paris in 1900.