A chronology of Oscar Wilde's life and works

by Jörg W. Rademacher (up-dated: 18/02/2019)

1854 16th October Birth of Oscar Fingal O’fflahertie Wills Wilde at 21 Westland Row, Dublin, as second son of an eye and ear specialist and a famous woman writer.
1855   The family moves to 1 Merrion Square North.
1857 2nd April Birth of his sister Isola Francesca Emily.
1864-1871   The two Wilde brothers attend Portora Royal School, Enniskillen.
1864 January Father William Wilde is knighted;
  December The Wildes are sued for libel in Dublin.
1867 23rd February Death of Isola Francesca Emily, Glebe, Edgeworthstown, Ireland.
1871-1874   Wilde student at Trinity College Dublin, winning prizes among which the Berkeley Gold Medal for Greek;
1871 10th November death of Emily and Mary Wilde, his half-sisters in Monaghan, Ireland.
1874   Oscar wins a scholarship for Magdalen College, Oxford where he studies Greats from 1874 through 1878.
1875   Travels to Italy with his tutor at TCD, John Pentland Mahaffy.
1876 19th April Death of Sir William in Dublin.
1877 March-April Travels to Italy and Greece with Mahaffy;
  May present at the opening of the Grosvenor Gallery, London;
  13th June death of Henry Wilson, his half-brother, in Dublin;
  July Publishes his article on the Grosvenor Gallery in the Dublin University Magazine.
1878 10th June Winner of the Newdigate Prize at Oxford with his poem “Ravenna”;
  26th June Public reading of “Ravenna” in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford;
  19th July Wilde completes his degree in Greats at Oxford University with a “Double First”.
1879   Lady Wilde moves to London;
  Autumn Oscar Wilde shares rooms in London with the painter Frank Miles.
1880   Removal to Keats House, Tite Street, Chelsea, shared with Miles; September: private printing of Vera; or the Nihilists, a play.
1881   Meets Constance Mary Lloyd in London.
  June Private printing of his Poems; 17th. December: first performance of “Vera” cancelled, allegedly for political reasons;
  24th December Leaves for New York to start a speaking tour of the United States.
1882   Successful tour of the US and Canada.
1883 January-May Paris, completion of “The Duchess of Padua”, a drama in verse – rejected by the actress who had commissioned it; meeting with Victor Hugo;
  August-September In New York for the first performance of Vera, which flops;
  Autumn Speaking tour of Great Britain and Ireland;
  26th November Engaged to be married with Constance Lloyd in Dublin.
1884 29th May Wedding with Constance Lloyd in London;
  June Honeymoon in Paris; reading of À Rebours, a novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans.
1885 January Removal to 16 Tite Street, Chelsea, “The House Beautiful”;
  May “The Truth of Masks. A Note on Illusion” issued as “Shakespeare and Stage Costume” in The Nineteenth Century;
  5th June Birth of his first son Cyril. As a journalist, like brother Willie (born 26th September 1852), Wilde publishes articles for The Pall Mall Gazette and Dramatic Review:
1886   First meets Robert Ross;
  7 August Passing of the Criminal Law Amendment Act [1885-1967], in which the initiator Henry du Pré Labouchère (1821-1912) had asked for sexual contacts between men to be punished by up to two years of imprisonment, originally it was to have been seven years. (Complete Letters, p. 788; The Labouchère Amendment – labouchere_amendment_S.pdf [Access: 2 November 2018]).
  3rd November Birth of his second son Vyvyan Oscar Beresford.
1887-1889   Editor of the magazine The Woman’s World.
1888 May Publication of The Happy Prince and other Tales, illustrated by Walter Crane and Jacomb Hood.
1889 January “The Decay of Lying. An Observation” as “The Decay of Lying. A Dialogue” and “Pen, Pencil, and Poison. A Study in Green” as “Pen, Pencil, and Poison. A Study”, both in The Fortnightly Review;
  July “The Portrait of Mr. W. H.” in Blackwood’s Magazine;
  30th August Commission for The Picture of Dorian Gray.
1890 20. June The Picture of Dorian Gray (13 chapters) issued in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine;
  June-August controversial debate in the British press on ethics and æsthetics in Wilde’s novel;
  July “The Critic as Artist” (I) as “The True Function and Value of Criticism; with some Remarks on the Importance of Doing Nothing: a Dialogue” (I) in The Fortnightly Review; September: “The Critic as Artist” (II) in The Fortnightly Review.
1891   First meets Lord Alfred Douglas;
  26th January Anonymous production of “The Duchess of Padua” – “Guido Ferranti” in New York;
  February “The Soul of Man under Socialism” in The Fortnightly Review;
  March Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray issued in The Fortnightly Review;
  April The Picture of Dorian Gray re-issued in book form, extended to 20 chapters, revised and subject to self-censorship, title page and binding by Charles Ricketts;
  May Publication of Intentions, a volume of essays;
  July Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and other Stories, book design and decoration by Ricketts and Charles Shannon;
  Summer Wilde writes “Lady Windermere’s Fan”;
  November The House of Pomegranates, book design by Ricketts and Charles Shannon;
  November-December Wilde writes “Salome” in French when visiting Paris.
1892 20th February “Lady Windermere’s Fan” first performed at the St. James’s Theatre, London, in a production by George Alexander;
  June “Salome” stopped while being rehearsed with Sarah Bernhardt in the title role when Her Majesty’s Censor, a civil servant working for the Lord Chamberlain, bans the play because of its biblical subject matter;
  August-September Wilde writes “A Woman of No Importance”.
1893 February Salome is published in French;
  19th April “A Woman of No Importance” first performed at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, in a production by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree;
  June-October Wilde writes “An Ideal Husband” in Goring-on-Thames;
  November Lady Windermere’s Fan published; binding designed by Shannon who would do the other comedies, too.
1894 February Salome issued in English, with illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley;
  May In Florence with Lord Alfred Douglas; they meet André Gide;
  June The Sphinx, a poem, issued, book design by Ricketts;
  August-September Wilde writes “The Importance of Being Earnest”;
  October A Woman of No Importance issued.
1895 3rd January “An Ideal Husband” first performed at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, in a production by Lewis Waller;
1895 January “Oscariana”, epigrams chosen by Constance Wilde, published by Arthur L. Humphreys (1865-1946), in a print run of 50 copies (“Complete Letters”, p. 604);
  January-February On a trip to Algiers with Lord Alfred Douglas; again they meet André Gide;
  14th February “The Importance of Being Earnest” first performed at the St. James’s Theatre, in a production by George Alexander – a resounding success;
  28th February At the Albemarle Club, Wilde receives the card of the Marquess of Queens-berry, Lord Alfred Douglas’ father, that is, bearing the inscription “To Oscar Wilde, posing [as a] Somdomite” (sic); Wilde sues Queensberry for criminal libel;
  March Travels to Monaco with Lord Alfred Douglas;
  3rd to 5th April Trial for criminal libel against, and acquittal of, the Marquess of Queensberry; Wilde arrested in the Cadogan Hotel, London;
  24th April Auction of Wilde's possessions in 16 Tite Street, Chelsea; “The House Beautiful” is sold off by Mr. Bullock, at low prices, with all things being dispersed (Jörg W. Rademacher, Oscar Wilde. A Writer Trapped by His Own Words. An Exhibition Catalogue, Coesfeld: Elsinor, 2017, p. 67);
  26th April Regina vs. Wilde opens;
  1st May A hung jury; a second trial is imperative;
  May A. L. Humphreys re-issues “Oscariana” in a print run of 200 copies and publishes “a privately printed edition of Wilde's ‘The Soul of Man Under Socialism’” (50 copies) (“Complete Letters”, p. 604);
  25th May Wilde convicted of indecency and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour; detained first at Newgate, then in Pentonville;
  12th June R. B. Haldane, a member of the Gladstone Committee for prison reform, chooses to see Wilde in prison and makes sure he is provided with books (Oscar Wilde: Trial and Punishment, 1895-1897, p. 9);
  21st June the Marquess of Queensberry places a petition in the Bankruptcy Court claiming his costs for the first trial;
  4th July transferred to Wandsworth, following the visit by R. B. Haldane;
  26th August first creditors’ meeting;
  21st September first visited in prison by his wife Constance;
  24th September public hearing in the Bankruptcy Court in Wilde’s presence, seven weeks’ adjournment granted;
  12th November Wilde declared bankrupt in another trial in which “Step by step with the Bankruptcy Reveiver I had to go over every item of my life.” (Complete Letters, p. 688);
  21st November Transferred to Reading Gaol.
1896 3rd February Death of Lady Wilde in London;
  11th February Salome first performed in a production by Lugné-Poe at the Théâtre de l’Œuvre, Paris;
  19th February Constance Holland (formerly Wilde) visits Oscar in Reading Gaol, telling him of his mother’s death; last meeting of the couple.
1897 January-March Writing of the epistle to Lord Alfred, which, suffering many cuts, is edited by Robert Ross as De profundis in 1905;
  19th May Released from prison, Wilde goes into exile, from which he doesn’t return;.
  May-September Mainly lives at Berneval-sur-Mer near Dieppe;
  September Wilde moves to Naples;
  September-December Lives in Naples with Lord Alfred Douglas; writing of the “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”;
  December Finally separated from Lord Alfred Douglas.
1898 February The Ballad of Reading Gaol published in book form, with C.3.3 named as author;
  7th April Death of Constance Holland in Genoa.
1899 February Wilde visits Constance’s grave at Genoa; The Importance of Being Earnest issued in book form;
  13th March Death of Willie Wilde in London;
  July An Ideal Husband issued in book form.
1900 April-May Last trip to Italy: to Palermo and Rome;
  30th November Following his conversion to the Catholic faith, Wilde dies in the Hôtel d’Alsace, Rue des Beaux Arts, Paris.

Compiled on the basis of my own illustrated biography of Oscar Wilde (Munich: dtv, 2000) and with the help of Oswald Sero, Der Fall Wilde und das Problem der Homosexualität. Ein Prozeß und ein Interview (Leipzig: Max Spohr, 1896), of H. Montgomery Hyde, Famous Trials 7. Oscar Wilde (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1962), The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde, edited by Peter Raby (Cambridge: CUP, 1997), of Oscar Wilde, Œuvres, edited by Jean Gattégno (Paris: Gallimard, “Bibliothèque de la Pleiade”, 1996), of Oscar Wilde, Trial and Punishment 1895-1897 (London: Public record Office, n.d.), of Oscar Wilde, Complete Letters, edited by Merlin Holland and Rupert Hart-Davis (London: Fourth Estate, 2000), of Merlin Holland, Irish Peacock & Scarlet Marquess (London: The Fourth Estate, 2003), of Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. The 1890 and 1891 Texts, edited by Joseph Bristow (Oxford: OUP, 2005), and of Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. An annotated, uncensored edition, edited by Nicholas Frankel (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011) as well as of Oscar Wilde, The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Gray, edited by Nicholas Frankel (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012).