One of the best-known works of poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, and perhaps the closest to a gothic one, is The Picture of Dorian Gray, of which so much was made at Wilde's trial. Dorian Gray was influenced by Joris-Karl Huysman's seminal work, A Rebours, (the book which is given to Dorian to seduce him, just as The Picture of Dorian Gray was given by Wilde to Alfred Lord Douglas). It also bears many parallels with Disraeli's Vivian Grey.

Wilde was also an admirer of Swinburne, Pater, Ruskin and Keats, of whom he wrote The Grave of Keats. He also knew the Le Fanu family, and played with their children in Dublin. Of James, he once remarked: Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty.

Wilde's mother, Lady Jane Speranza Wilde, read Le Fanu's Carmilla to Bram Stoker, a work which influenced his Dracula. Wilde's father, Sir William Wilde, was an Egyptologist whose expertise added color to Stoker's The Jewel of the Seven Stars. Stoker and Wilde once courted the same woman, Florence Balcombe. She married Stoker.

Wilde was the great-nephew of Maturin. After his release from Reading Gaol, he went to France, where he lived under the alias Sebastian Melmoth, a reference to Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer.

Wilde is the model for the plagiaristic vampire in Viereck's House of the Vampire, and was one of the aesthetes Gilbert and Sullivan drew on for the character Bunthorne in Patience. (The others were Walter Crane and James Whistler.) In James' novel The Tragic Muse, the character Gabriel Nash is based on Wilde.

His epitaph in the Père Lachaise cemetery of Paris quotes his Ballad of Reading Gaol, For his mourners will be outcast men/And outcasts always mourn.

Each man sees his own sin in Dorian Gray.

Prophetically, Wilde wrote: Most personalities have been obliged to be rebels. Half their strength has been wasted in friction. Byron's personality, for instance, was terribly wasted in its battle with the stupidity, and hypocrisy, and Philistinism of the English. Such battles do not always intensify strength: they often exaggerate weakness. Byron was never able to give us what he might have given us. Shelley escaped better. Like Byron, he got out of England as soon as possible. But he was not so well known.

Wilde was less lucky than either Byron or Shelley. He was prosecuted for sodomy and received a harsh sentence of hard labour.

The Marquess of Queensberry, who initiated the conflict to break up Wilde's relationship with his son (Alfred, Lord Douglas), may have used blackmail as leverage to force the government to prosecute. Lord Douglas' elder brother, Lord Drumlanrig, had been the lover of Sir Rosebery, prime minister at the time of Wilde's trial. Drumlanrig committed suicide. It is speculated that the bitter Queensberry threatened Rosebery with exposure if he did not back Wilde's prosecution.

Gothic Labyrinth
Gothic Labyrinth