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Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 - 30 November 1900) was an extremely popular Irish writer and poet who wrote in different forms throughout his career and became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, plays and the strange circumstances of his imprisonment, followed by his early death.

At the turn of the 1890s, Wilde refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). The opportunity to construct aesthetic details precisely, and combine them with larger social themes, drew Wilde to write drama. He wrote Salome (1891) in French in Paris but it was refused a license. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London. Wilde reached the height of his fame and success with The Importance of Being Earnest (1895).

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