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Oscar Wilde: A Writer for the Nineties: Exhibition Catalogue
Catalogue of an Exhibition at the Princeton Univ. Library in 1995. The 1890s in Great Britain were characterized by endings and beginnings, traditionalism and iconoclasm, decadence and regeneration. At the center of it all stood Oscar Wilde, whose work and life made him the embodiment of his contradictory age. Born in Dublin in 1854, Wilde became an Irishman who conquered England, a Protestant who loved Catholicism, a married man who loved other men, a socialist who courted West End audiences, and a romantic in an age of realism. In 1895 two of Wilde’s play-- An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest -- opened to critical and popular acclaim. But the Marquess of Queensberry, father of Wilde’s lover Lord Alfred Douglas, had Wilde arrested for homosexual acts, and he was convicted and sentenced to two years’ hard labor. In 1897 Wilde left for Europe, never to return to the scene of his earlier successes, and had to omit his name from published works. One hundred years later the name “Wilde” has been restored to his work.