What Is Oscar Wilde Famous For?

Oscar Wilde draws fame for his writing and poetry, demonstrating exceptional talent as a playwright and novelist, writing script for the world-renowned play "The Importance of Being Earnest" and novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray." Oscar Wilde was born on October 18, 1854 to accomplished parents; his father, William Wilde, served as a prominent eye surgeon in the family's native Ireland, while his mother, Jane Elgee, earned a reputation as an outstanding poet, ultimately passing her literary talents to her son.

Oscar Wilde proved intelligent and book-smart in school, initially taking an interest in classical history. However, he demonstrated talent as a writer early on, producing his first award-winning poem, "Ravenna," in 1878 while enrolled in Oxford University. Wilde added successful works to that humble beginning, producing "Poems," a collection of his earliest poems, in 1881. After touring and traveling, Wilde introduced "The Happy Prince and Other Tales," a collection of children's stories, to audiences in 1888.

Two years later, Wilde published "Intentions," an essay collection exploring the complex field of beauty. That same year brought completion of "The Picture of Dorian Gray," Wilde's popular novel exploring the life of a privileged and troubled handsome young man. Following imprisonment for homosexuality in the late 1800s, Wilde produced few notable works, with the exception of "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," a poem describing his experiences in prison.