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With his typical humor, Wilde once said, "Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Known equally for his lavish lifestyle, flamboyant dress and biting wit, Dublin-born Oscar Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day. He gained fame as one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London and is especially remembered for An Ideal Husband and his final masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest. His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is as much a classic work of Gothic fiction as it is a timeless morality story about a man whose eternal beauty cannot mask his inner ugliness.
Married with two children, Wilde was put to trial and imprisoned for "gross indecency" with other men. The night of his release from prison, he set sail for France by the night ferry, never to return. He died destitute in Paris at the age of 46.