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Oscar Wilde was born in 1854 to William Wilde and Lady Jane Francesca Wilde prominent intellectuals in Dublin Ireland Though not of the aristocracy the Wildes were nonetheless well off and sent Oscar to the finest schools as he grew up Oscar seems especially influenced by his mother a brilliantly witty raconteur and he was frequently invited while still a child to participate in their intellectual circle of friends Wilde entered Trinity College Dublin in 1871 and enjoyed an accomplished career garnering awards and studying the classics as well as theories of aestheticism In 1874 he transferred to Oxford in England and studied under the divergent tutorials of John Ruskin a Renaissance man of many scholarly talents and Walter Pater an influential proponent of the new school of aestheticism Wilde negotiated their conflicting philosophies while he experimented with flashy clothing and discovered his homosexual tendencies Upon graduating from Oxford Wilde had a brief flirtation with Catholicism even meeting with the Pope but his independent ideas prevented his exclusive attachment to religion In 1881 he published his first volume of verse Poems and was a well-known enough entity to be satirized by a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera He moved to the avant-garde neighborhood of Chelsea in London but his fathers death and the familys snowballing debts forced him to embark on a lecture tour of the United States in 1882 Upon arriving at customs Wilde boldly made his now-famous statement I have nothing to declare except my genius On tour he dressed up as a dandy and advocated the philosophy of the Aesthetic the idea that art should exist solely for arts sakeor as he wrote elsewhere it should be useless While on tour Wilde also produced his first unsuccessful play in New York Vera In 1884 Wilde married a shy and rich Irishwoman Constance Lloyd and the two moved in to a posh London house Wilde briefly edited Womans World magazine while he wrote
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