Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born at 21 Westland Row, Dublin in 1854. He was the youngest of three children of Sir William Wilde of Trinity College, Dublin, and Jane Francesca Elgee. His father died when Oscar was four years old, and his mother when he was five. He spent the rest of his childhood with relatives in Ireland before being sent to study at Oxford University where he became friends with Lord Alfred Douglas (later the notorious literary figure "Bosie")
After graduating in 1881, Wilde pursued a career in London theatre. He was introduced to Lord Alfred Douglas by another friend in 1882. The two had an intense sexual friendship that came to be known in salacious stories as "Bosie's End".
The relationship lasted for several years. Apparently in his later life Wilde maintained a kinder attitude toward Bosie than he did toward many others (including his husband), writing that he thought Bosie "had fought his way nobly through many temptations".
Wilde's reputation as a wit was established early on with his debut collection of poems, "A Woman Young and Old" (1881), which includes "The Sphinx", "The Portrait of Mr W.H.", and "The Sphinx Revisited". His play "Lady Windermere's Fan" (1892) is the basis for the famous play with the same name by Oscar Wilde.
He began writing fiction in earnest with "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1891). In total Wilde published twelve novels, four plays, hundreds of poems, and other prose works. Although he is now mainly remembered as a writer, Wilde also worked as a journalist and social commentator during this period.
He wrote a number of other plays including first performed plays such as Salomé (1893), The Duchess Of Padua (1894), The House Of Pomegranates (1894), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1895), Lady Windermere's Fan (1893) as well as one-act plays such as An Ideal Husband (1895), A Woman Of No Importance (1902).
Wilde spent time abroad during this period, spending time in France where he met the French poet Rachel de Morhange who inspired two poems: "La Revanche" and "La Prisonnière". The two had a tempestuous affair before he broke it off after