Updated:
Original:
Year
1895

Writer Oscar Wilde arrested in England

Writer Oscar Wilde is arrested after losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry.

Wilde had been engaged in an affair with the marquess’s son since 1891, but when the outraged marquess denounced him as a homosexual, Wilde sued the man for libel. However, he lost his case when evidence strongly supported the marquess’s observations. Homosexuality was classified as a crime in England at the time, and Wilde was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to two years of hard labor.

Wilde was a well-known author by this time, having produced several brilliant and popular plays, including The Importance of Being Ernest (1895). Born and educated in Ireland, he came to England to attend Oxford, where he graduated with honors in 1878. A popular society figure known for his wit and flamboyant style, he published his own book of poems in 1881. He spent a year lecturing on poetry in the U.S., where his dapper wardrobe and excessive devotion to art drew ridicule from some quarters.

After returning to Britain, Wilde married and had two children, for whom he wrote delightful fairy tales, which were published in 1888. Meanwhile, he wrote reviews and edited Women’s World. In 1890, his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published serially, appearing in book form the following year. He wrote his first play, The Duchess of Padua, in 1891 and wrote five more before his arrest. Wilde was released from prison in 1897 and fled to Paris, where his many loyal friends visited him. He started writing again, producing The Ballad of Reading Gaol, based on his experiences in prison. He died of acute meningitis in 1900.

Tags
terms:
Crime

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece

The German air force launches Operation Castigo, the bombing of Belgrade, on this day in 1941, as 24 divisions and 1,200 tanks drive into Greece. The attack on Yugoslavia was swift and brutal, an act of terror resulting in the death of 17,000 civilians—the largest number of ...read more

Peary’s expedition reaches North Pole?

On April 6, 1909, American explorer Robert Peary accomplishes a long elusive dream, when he, assistant Matthew Henson, and four Eskimos reach what they determine to be the North Pole. Decades after Peary’s death, however, navigational errors in his travel log surfaced, placing ...read more

Mormon Church established

In Fayette Township, New York, Joseph Smith, founder of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism, organizes the Church of Christ during a meeting with a small group of believers. Born in Vermont in 1805, Smith claimed in 1823 that he had been visited by a ...read more

First modern Olympic Games

On April 6, 1896, the Olympic Games, a long-lost tradition of ancient Greece, are reborn in Athens 1,500 years after being banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I. At the opening of the Athens Games, King Georgios I of Greece and a crowd of 60,000 spectators welcomed athletes from ...read more

First modern Olympics is held

On April 6, 1896, the first modern Olympic Games are held in Athens, Greece, with athletes from 14 countries participating. The International Olympic Committee met for the first time in Paris in June 1894 and chose Greece as the site of the inaugural modern Olympiad. The ancient ...read more

Black Hawk War begins

Determined to resist the growing presence of Anglo settlers on traditional tribal lands, the Sauk warrior Black Hawk is drawn into war with the United States. Called Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak by his people, Black Hawk was born in 1767 in the village of Saukenuk in the present-day ...read more

Battle of Shiloh begins

The Civil War explodes in the west as the armies of Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston collide at Shiloh, near Pittsburgh Landing in Tennessee. The Battle of Shiloh became one of the bloodiest engagements of the war, and the level of ...read more