Oscar Wilde - Gay in the 19th century

You say you've got a new question about the 19th century, Amy? What's that? You never hear anyone talk about being gay ... like, ever?

Well, that makes sense, actually. In the 19th century, where as we all know you are now living, being gay is considered illegal. Therefore, the LGBTQ community needs to remain hidden.


Yes, how unfair. How sad. But that's the way it was in those times. 
Okay, I hear you. That's the way it IS in the eighteen hundreds.

Let me tell you about Oscar Wilde, the famous author, playwright, poet and critic.


"We are all in the gutter; but some of us are looking at the stars."
"I can resist everything except temptation."
"I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I'm saying."

In 1867, the year you currently exist in, Oscar Wilde is a teenager in Ireland. His father is a doctor who treats the poor in the city of Dublin. His mother is a successful poet.
Over the span of his life, Oscar will write a novel, nine plays and many short stories and poems.

In 1884, he will marry the daughter of a wealthy family and they will have two sons. 

In 1887 Oscar will work as the editor of Woman's World magazine. It is here and over the next seven years when he will produce most of his greatest works, including: Lady Windermere's Fan; Salome; A Woman of No Importance; and The Importance of Being Earnest. 

In 1888 he will publish The Happy Prince and Other Tales - stories written for his sons.

In 1891 he will complete his first novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. It is at this time he will become involved in a relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, preceding the demise of his marriage in 1893.

In 1895, after completing two collections of short stories and five plays - at the height of his career - Oscar will be found guilty of being gay and will spend two years in jail.

In 1897, now poor, he will move to France where he will write one of his best known poems: The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and reunite with Lord Alfred Douglas for a short period.

At age 46, Oscar Wilde will succumb to meningitis.

And now you know.