From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Oscar Wilde Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Oscar Wilde had gray eyes.12

Wilde visited poet Walt Whitman during his tour of the U.S. in 1882. Afterward Wilde claimed to have made out with the elder poet, boasting that, "The kiss of Walt Whitman is still on my lips."13

Wilde became a member of the Freemasons while at Oxford.14

Wilde's letters to Lord Alfred Douglas were embarrassingly introduced at court during Queensberry's libel trial. Despite his discomfort, Wilde never lost his trademark wit. After defense lawyer Edward Carson read one such letter, Wilde retorted: "When I wrote it, it was beautiful. You read it very badly."15

Rumors have circulated that Wilde actually died of syphilis, most prominently in the Richard Ellmann's respected biography of the poet. However, most doctors conclude that an ear infection and meningitis were the actual causes of his death.16

Wilde's tomb at Père Lachaise cemetery is decorated with a sandstone sphinx. Shortly after it was installed in 1912, a visitor took a hammer and hacked away the sphinx's male genitals. In 2000, the artist Leon Johnson staged a performance at the tomb in which a sterling silver prosthetic schlong was reattached to the sculpture. Really.17

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...