The Picture of Dorian Gray OSCAR FINGAL O'FLAHERTIE WILLS WILDE (1854-1900) was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest "celebrities" of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest. As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry, never to return to Ireland or Britain.