Talk:Oscar Wilde

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Good article Oscar Wilde has been listed as one of the Language and literature good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.

Portrayals in the media[edit]

(out of place comment by someone too lazy to do it properly: I just noticed there's no mention of his Children's Book, "The Selfish Giant" in the main article. Could someone do that please?

Normal comments resume now: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:18, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm somewhat surprised that there is no section on portrayals of Wilde in the media in this article. Many, if not most, articles on well-known people who have been essayed in film, on television or on radio have that information listed. It's especially surprising in the case of Oscar Wilde, given that he has been the central character of at least three feature films (The Trials of Oscar Wilde, Oscar Wilde and Wilde), a play (Oscar Wilde), and a dramatised television series (Oscar). iMDb lists several more appearances of the character of Wilde in film and television, played by everyone from Robert Morley to Tim Curry [1]. Shouldn't there be a section of the article on this, as there is with other people portrayed in the media? Grutness...wha? 12:03, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

What you are looking for is here Biographies of Oscar Wilde and we do have a link to that article from this one. MarnetteD | Talk 13:06, 11 June 2011 (UTC)
I should add that if you dig into the edit history of this article circa 06 or 07 you will find a fairly long Pop Culture section but Wikipedia's move away from those around 07-08 pared it down to what we have now. Notability is always a spot of contention with these but at least the info is there if you are willing to take some time to search for it. MarnetteD | Talk 13:12, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

Hmmm. I can understand that for a character like Wilde a pop culture section might soon get unmanageable and go too far into the trivia, but not having any mention of it at all in the article seems surprising. I saw the biographies section and its link to the separate article, but it dealt entirely with books on the subject (perhaps understandably). Perhaps adding a paragraph to that section on other media to at least give some indication that the article Biographies of Oscar Wilde also deals with films and television may be appropriate? Grutness...wha? 01:56, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Well, at least one film is mentioned in the biographies section, there is definitely far more interest in that medium concerning wilde then him on film. Though called Biographies, the section deals with a sort of histiography of Wilde, there are films and plays mentioned in the sub-article. I would tend to agree with MarnetteD and be very reluctant to insert a section with that title. At the least there would have to be a scholarly, secondary source. Though I remian open to finding ways to incorporate this information in the family of Wilde articles. Best, --Ktlynch (talk) 09:15, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Infobox nationality and ethnicity[edit]

I recently altered the infobox to include the ethnicity parameter as declaring Oscar Wilde as being of Irish nationality is wrong as he was born in the United Kingdom and thus a British national. I added the ethnicity parameter to however highlight that he was of Irish ethnicity. As the lede can be assumed to state that he is of Irish ethnicity rather than nationality, i thought it wouldn't be controverisal

I was wrong it seems, and it appears there is a consensus (so i'm told) that he's of Irish nationality despite the fact thats impossible as there was never an Irish state for him to be a citizen/national of. Due to this ambiguity of the lede, i assumed there would be no harm in giving more clear and concise information in the infobox where we can state that he was both Irish AND British (something thats not impossible) thus satisfying both camps.

And yes i appreciate that he was an Irish nationalist, however did he actually abandon his British citizenship and adopt a different one for him to no longer actually be a British national? Mabuska (talk) 00:07, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

According to whom? His biographers agree he was Irish. Ireland was colonised at the time, it was still a country. Best, --Ktlynch (talk) 21:04, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Try telling a Scotsman he's not Scottish and a Welshman he's not Welsh, and you'll get two lovely black eyes. Myrvin (talk) 20:03, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Ireland was not an independant sovereign country with its own parliament when Oscar Wilde lived. From the start of the 19th century it was a region of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, just like England, Scotland, and Wales all of which were under one parliament and that makes him a British national by birth. WP:MOSBIO states we should state their nationality according to the nationality laws of their country, and well in the UK that is British regardless of the persons personal opinion or his biographers.
He is Irish in ethnicity as he was born in Ireland, but he can't be an Irish national or citizen as it didn't exist as a country on its own right in the sense that the Republic of Ireland exists today. Reason why i'm not challenging the use of "Irish" in the lede is because according to WP:MOSBIO you can state ethnicity in the lede if its relevant to the topic of the article, and whilst its not marked upon much in the article, Oscar Wilde was a passionate Irish nationalist, so it can be deemed relevant. This however doesn't override his actual nationality, which can be easily stated in the infobox, with Irish used where it actually applied to him in the real world of his time - the ethnicity part. Mabuska (talk) 00:21, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I have made it clear in the infobox that he was British Nationality [as was case] and stated after Ireland in Place of Birth "United Kingdom" with a link to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland page. I left his ethnicity as Irish. Son of the Isles (talk) 21:05, 6 January 2013 (UTC)


Is there some reason why the "Irish writer" of the lead becomes "the most charming English aesthete" in America: 1882? Myrvin (talk) 14:17, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Good spot, I changed it to most charming of the English aesthetes", which I think was what was originally intended. He represented the movement as it developed in that country, but he himself was not from England. Best, --Ktlynch (talk) 20:34, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I went back in the history abit, it seemed "English" was added in sometime in the last year. It could be dropped again. Best --Ktlynch (talk) 20:38, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Hiatus between accounts of 2nd and 3rd court cases[edit]

The article needs at least another sentence to explain how we get from Wilde being found not guilty, being released and going into hiding to being in court for a third time. Carson's conversation with the Solicitor General starts doesn't fully cover it.Costesseyboy (talk) 22:44, 5 July 2011 (UTC)


The article states correctly that "Wilde requested, among others: the Bible in French, Italian and German grammars, some Ancient Greek texts". The reason for this was his ambition to learn the German language. He did not however find the time or inclination to do so.

An earlier pasasage in the article about Wilde learning German as a child is, as far as i know, not correct.

Faithfully yours,

Robert Prummel (talk) 13:11, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Wilde learned German as a boy but it was later largely forgotten though lack of use (though he undoubtedly sometimes read its literature). This is cited to Ellmann's biography. The line you quote refers to much later, in the final period of his imprisonment when, planning his exile so took up again his study of the language. "German" was recently added to the languages tab in the infobox, this is not correct since that refers to languages in which he wrote. Best, --Ktlynch (talk) 23:01, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

A bit of a jump?[edit]

The lede seems to jump rather precipitately from Wilde's civil action against Queensberry to his own conviction and imprisonment. A recent edit, now deleted, seemed to bridge the gap quite nicely. Views? --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:38, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

As User:MarnetteD points out, we've sacrificed some brevity but it's now fixed. --Old Moonraker (talk) 13:50, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
My apologies for not responding here sooner - I didn't see this thread when you opened it yesterday OM. I know I might be too pedantic about this but I feel that it is important to note that there were three trials. All too often the two "gross indecency" trials get lumped into one and some media even leave the impression that he was sent straight to gaol/jail (per WP:ENGVAR :->) at the end of the libel trial. Thanks for your work on this and while we may have worked towards a version that we are happy with if anyone feels that it can be improved on please do so. MarnetteD | Talk 15:56, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Echoing: this fix need not be the last word.--Old Moonraker (talk) 16:18, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Early baptism[edit]

It seems that we may need to address this speculation that Wilde had a baptism at an early age. All I can say is that I cannot remember any of the biographers - either those that knew him like Frank Harris, those that interviewed those who knew him like Hesketh Pearson, or those that came later like Ellman - mentioning this. I have not read anything by his grandson Merlin Holland mentioning this either. Though I would be interested if he has had any reaction to it recently. I have also read the complete letters and yes several of them refer to his admiration for the church but none mention this early conversion - and yes "complete" only means those that were found through 2000 the year of the reissue.

The main mentions on the net of this possibility seem to all use the same (or variations of) this statement;

Whether Oscar Wilde converted on his deathbed may be an irrelevance. Apparently Wilde’s mother, an unbeliever, had arranged his baptism at the age of four or five by Rev. L.C. Fox of Dublin to spite Oscar's father. Because it was done privately, it was never registered.

But there does not seem to be any empirical evidence to back this up.

My studies lead me to believe that this early baptism, while not 100% impossible, is highly unlikely. However, this is all WP:SPECULATION and WP:OR on my part. If any editors have other research or thoughts that they can bring to this please add it to this thread and we will begin working towards some consensus regarding this and any relevance that it might have to the article. Thanks ahead of time for your input. MarnetteD | Talk 22:37, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

The Catholic church is usually very scrupulous about registering baptisms by its priests as they keep all records of subsequent life events (confirmation, marriage(s) etc.) associated with the original baptismal record. If Wilde had been baptised by a Catholic priest, then the record should exist. However, they also agree that any baptised Christian (even an Anglican for example) can baptise another person provide they use a simple formula like "I baptise you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spririt". The priest who baptised Wilde on his deathbed would have made it conditional as he had no knowledge of any previous baptism or means of finding a Church record and doctrinally baptism can only be administered once. He may even have assumed that Wilde could have had a Church of Ireland baptism as an infant which would have been valid in Catholic eyes. Dabbler (talk) 00:53, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
The scrupulousness of baptismal record keeping is beside the point, scads of reliable sources note both Wilde's recollection of the baptism and the priests recollection. Richard Ellman says he thinks the childhood baptism in fact did take place. Patrick Horan says the baptism was never registered. Numerous reliable sources report it (indeed many of the most notable biograpies) and it is appropriately in the article. Mamalujo (talk) 22:26, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
"Scads" and "numerous" are just words that you are using and not actual evidence or quotes from these biographies.. The Horan that you link to says that this "supposedly" happened and he does not go any further as to whether he has any other evidence of it or even that he agrees that it occurred. As to Ellman he theorized that this early baptism took place not that he had any evidence to confirm it. He also theorized that Wilde had syphilis without any evidence and that has been refuted by subsequent scholars. MarnetteD | Talk 23:51, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
This whole section needs to be struck off and my apologies to Mamalujo for having typed it in the first place. My memory is completely at fault here and again apologies to all. Don't forget to raise a glass of your favorite libation this Sunday to celebrate Oscar's 157th. MarnetteD | Talk 04:07, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
I should add that, depending on what other editors think, there might be some place to mention the speculation over this baptism if WP:UNDUE can be avoided but a category like "Catholic Poets" should not be added because it is WP:SPECULATION that a baptism ever occurred and then WP:SYNTHESIS that somehow made Wilde a catholic poet. MarnetteD | Talk 00:05, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm not saying that the baptism did or didn't take place - the article doesn't either. (It already is in the article - under his death) It merely addresses it in the same fashion as do most biographies that touch on the subject. As to the category. I'm perfectly happy with leaving that category out, it's not that big a deal. Although, I have seen Wilde listed in more than one anthology of Catholic poets and often seen some of his works referred to as deeply Catholic. THe dipute is fair because most of his life he was a dilletante to the faith. Mamalujo (talk) 00:16, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
My point about the record keeping is that any baptism performed by a Catholic priest should have been recorded and while absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, it is an indication whether or not it ever really took place or was it a "false memory" implanted in Wilde when he was a child. Is there any evidence that he, in any significant way, lived a "Catholic life" or just had a Catholic death? Dabbler (talk) 11:14, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't matter if a childhood baptism occurred or not. We don't use the standards of a particular religion to determine whether or not to put an article on a person in a religion category - eg. we do not include everyone with a Jewish mother in "Jews." Dabbler is right in that we would need to find evidence that he identified or practiced as Catholic throughout his life. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 17:35, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
I've not the biographies on hand (going to the library tomorrow), but many mention this incident: it wouldn't have been recorded since it apparently took place in private, which any Catholic priest can do if he so wishes. It is frequently referenced in critical appraisals of his work, regarding, for example, the desire to change identities in The Importance of Being Earnest. Plenty of other evidence suggests that Wilde retained a deep interest in the Catholic church and faith throughout his life and that he was deeply influenced by its teachings. One doesn't make deathbed conversions on a whim, he had intended to do so many years before, reproached from at the gravity of it, but later sincerely came back toward it, especially after his conviction. I agree that we shouldn't use torah law to judge people, but Wilde was influenced in a significant way by Catholicism. As a wikipedian I have often found disputes over categories silly; I'm not sure such endless cross-categorisation ('left-handed gay jews, etc.) helps anyone. Wilde was fairly Catholic though, he was also French, Irish, Athenian, etc.,--Ktlynch (talk) 01:04, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

I just found that Oscar Wilde was apparently baptised into the Anglican church at St. Mark's Church, Dublin on 26 April 1854. The record is claimed to be held in the successor church St. Ann's Church, Dawson Street also in Dublin. I suspect that the date given is erroneous, possibly 1855 as it is before Wilde's birthdate.Dabbler (talk) 19:14, 8 December 2011 (UTC) For an English lawyer's critique of the Wilde trials see 'Feasting with Panthers' in my book, Intolerance, Wildy, Simmonds and Hill, 2008. ISBN 9780854900251. Lake Rudyard. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lake rudyard (talkcontribs) 11:23, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Neutrality of language[edit]

In the entry about Oscar Wilde, "succumbed to Ross" is not a neutral statement. I refer particularly to the word "succumbed." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Maclennan123 (talkcontribs) 17:51, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Done a change. Myrvin (talk) 18:22, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Don't agree it's non-neutral, you'll find that language in numerous sources. Best, --Ktlynch (talk) 12:08, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
But not in the source quoted - unless it's elsewhere. Myrvin (talk) 12:29, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Logic and Syntax[edit]

Here is Wikipedia on Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray":

The first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray was published as the lead story in the July 1890 edition of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, along with five others.[77] The story begins with a man painting a picture of Gray. When Gray, who has a "face like ivory and rose leaves" sees his finished portrait he breaks down, distraught that his beauty will fade, but the portrait stay[s] beautiful, inadvertently making a Faustian bargain.

Let me simply note that a portrait cannot make "a Faustian bargain." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Maclennan123 (talkcontribs) 23:53, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Tweaked. What's possibly needed, in addition, is some reference to what happens to the image to explain what the bargain is, e.g., "the portrait stays beautiful, inadvertently making a Faustian bargain in which only the painted image grows old". Don't forget WP:BOLD! --Old Moonraker (talk) 10:21, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
No dissent? Added. --Old Moonraker (talk) 05:27, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks to Moonraker[edit]

Good change for section about Dorian Gray, Moonraker. Thanks for making it. MacLennan123Maclennan123 (talk) 21:41, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

And User:Myrvin! --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:47, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Logic and Syntax Again[edit]

From Wikipedia: Constance's [Wilde's] annual allowance of £250 was generous for a young woman (it would be equivalent to about £19,300 in current value).

[B]ut the Wildes' tastes were relatively luxurious and, after preaching to others for so long, their home was expected to set new standards of design.[51]

Strictly speaking, a home cannot be "expected tlo set new standards of design." People, in this case the Wildes, set the new standards. MacLennan123Maclennan123 (talk) 10:31, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Well, the design of their home can set a new standard; or their home can be a standard...I don't see the problem, where is the syntatical problem? --Ktlynch (talk) 13:45, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
The grammatical problem with ". . . after preaching to others for so long, their home was expected . . . " is that it means their home had been preaching.
How about something like " . . . the Wildes' tastes were relatively luxurious, and they had preached (or been preaching) to others for so long on the subject of design, that people expected their home to set new standards [of design]."
Awien (talk) 17:46, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
In the absence of objection, made the change. Awien (talk) 11:49, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

"Somdomite" wikilink[edit]

It's only a point of wiki-pedantry (of which manifestations of pedantry there are few more pedantic) but somdomite shouldn't be wikilinked to sodomite in the transcription of Queensberry's note. See "[i]tems within quotations should not generally be linked" in WP:MOSLINK#General points on linking style. The issue seems to be that to assume this is what the writer meant is an interpretation by a WP editor. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:57, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Good call, Old Moonraker; I've made the change as suggested. "Sodomy" is linked just beside in the main text. It's also doubtful whether it needs to be at all. There is also a risk of confusion and excess, give the quotation already has a reference, a "[sic]" and an explanatory footnote. Best, --Ktlynch (talk) 15:02, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for both fixes. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:16, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Quiz challenge[edit]

Can anybody else spot what is wrong with "Bound in a rich, enamel, parchment cover (embossed with gilt blossom) and printed on hand-made Dutch paper, Wilde would present many copies to the dignitaries and writers who received him over the next few years"? --John (talk) 08:05, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Given Wilde's penchant for extravagant styles of dress, obviously there's nothing wrong with the sentence at all, apart from the need for a reference. --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:45, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
It's quite a hilarious image once you see it. --John (talk) 09:25, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Is it the wording " would present many"? I mean what did he do - give each dignitary and writer 5 or 6 copies? I have a vision of Wilde bring a crate of books with him to each event. If not then "the suspense is killing me I do hope it will last" MarnetteD | Talk 15:34, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
As OM saw, the way the sentence is constructed implies that the subject of the sentence is Wilde, thus he was "Bound in a rich, enamel, parchment cover..." and so on. I became much better at spotting these ambiguities since I taught it in a course a couple of years ago. This is the most hilarious one I have removed, as (per OM again), given Wilde's character, it is almost possible to imagine that he may have dressed up like this. --John (talk) 16:11, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Ah thanks for filling me in. Perhaps he wore the "rich enamel parchment" at Alfred Taylor's brothel :-). Not only am I seven hours behind you both when it comes to editing but "slow on the uptake" on this particular, delightful, absurdity. It does still read to my eyes like he presented more than one copy to each person, but that is just me. As ever thanks to you both for your vigilance of this article. MarnetteD | Talk 17:02, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Edit war about The Ballad of Reading Gaol[edit]

This needs to be discussed. I have already stated that my own opinion that 'harsh reality' is a cliché. I don't see that 'lengthy' has any advantage over 'long' either. William Avery (talk) 22:08, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

I concur with your assessment WA. The version before the edits of the IP from NY also fits better with the overall tone of the article. MarnetteD | Talk 22:12, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
This is a change proposed by one anonymous IP poster who has been changing the previous consensus wording. Until I hear some reason why this should be changed, I will not agree to the change. Dabbler (talk) 22:14, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
It's pleasant to stumble upon an imaginatively written, while still informative, phrase in Wikipedia. Retain the original, please. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:45, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
Agree with the consensus here to retain the original. It's quite clear that the editor is working in good faith, I would like to see him join discussions here about how to improve the article in bigger ways. Best, --Ktlynch (talk) 13:25, 15 May 2012 (UTC)


I read this section in detail fo rthe first time and have some criticisms.

  • The first paragraph seems almost wholly negative, considering this is still one of Wilde's most popular plays.
  • I have been speaking English for over 60 years and even I don't know what "cultivés" are. The word is not in my Chambers.

It needs to be rewritten and the first paragrapgh moved down. Also, someone with a copy of The Cambridge Companion should check that it says all this about the play. If not, most of the first paragraph is OR. Myrvin (talk) 19:59, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Awards and Honors[edit]

In 2011, Oscar Wilde was honored by the University of Oxford, his alma mater, as one of its 100 most distinguished members from 10 centuries. Other honorees include Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Saint Thomas More, John Locke, Adam Smith, Christopher Wren, Lawrence of Arabia, J.R.R. Tolkien and living University members Rupert Murdoch, Bill Clinton, Stephen Hawking and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. For the cover of the 2011 Prospectus, Oxford University named 100 streets in Oxford historical center after these distinguished graduates. Soandso Street was renamed for Oscar Wilde

I am pasting this section which I've removed here in case anyone one wants to discuss it. It's not really appropriate for Wikipedia since it's not based on scholarly research. Best, --Ktlynch (talk) 20:50, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Good to see your name again K - I hope that you are well. Since the item is unsourced removal was the right thing to do. If it can be sourced it might merit a small mention but we certainly wouldn't need to mention the other recipients as they are not relevant to this article. Is/was there a street named Soandso ? One other thing - per WP:ENGVAR it is "Honours". Cheers. MarnetteD | Talk 22:17, 5 March 2013 (UTC)


I saw "Wilde" once, that´s about the extent of my knowledge on this subject, but I find it a little strange that this article don´t have a "Legacy" section. Is there a reason besides that nobody wrote one? Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 18:00, 3 June 2013 (UTC)


The article has a great deal of excellent information, but I find it rather tendentious overall - it concentrates on Wilde the penitent felon and downplays the hedonist. For example, it speaks of his "weeping" when refused a Catholic retreat on his release from jail, but ignores the fact that his first action in France was to have sex with an underage girl in a brothel ("an experience he likened to cold mutton - "the first girl I had these many years, and it will be the last!") And there are sentences like this: "He spent much time wandering the Boulevards alone..." Yes indeed, and what do you think he was doing on those boulevards? He wasn't out there for the fresh air. Wilde was a mix of the spiritual and the carnal, and this article seriously unbalances the reality. PiCo (talk) 03:46, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Bizarre tone[edit]

I made a quite proper edit, removing the word "vicious" from the expression "vicious homosexuality". This entry on Wilde is not meant to recreate the late 19th century as a sort of prose poem, or to use homophobic expressions unless those expressions are taken from quoted material. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, in case anybody hasn't noticed. An editor, who plainly feels ownership of the page has reinstated, without evidence as far as I can tell, the assertion that Wilde was accused of involving young men in "vicious homosexuality". I do not know what vicious homosexuality is, and I do not know what anybody could ever have meant by it. If somebody can find where the expression was used, I would say, by all means put it back in quotes. Then we would know.

I might add that I think the entire tone of this entry is quite out of keeping with an encyclopedia. I'm not sure if this tone has been picked up by plagiarising old biographies of Wilde but, if so it shouldn't. IMO, somebody would do us all a favour by re-writing the whole thing as an encyclopedia entry. Bluehotel (talk) 19:41, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

In a similar vein, I would add that the article makes bizarre generalizations, such as that Wilde's young men were "uneducated" and "knew nothing of literature". Says who? Some of them might have been, most of them might have been, or all of them might have been. But how would anybody know? If somebody knew, for example, Ross, and said so, then the article should quote them as saying so, and not make generalizations that amount to original research a century after the fact. This article reads like a very old man's musings from about 1920. Bluehotel (talk) 19:47, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

No it wasn't proper. First, wikipedia is WP:NOTCENSORED. Your entire reasoning shows a desire to sanitize the article using 20th and 21st century sensibilities. You seem to think that using reliable sources is plagiarizing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The article is sourced to a wide range of biographies written over a number of years. You would do well to read them. To get a sense of how things were in the 1890s read what the judge said when handing out Wilde's sentence. The article is written in an encyclopedic manner and has been worked on by dozens (if not hundreds) of editors over the years. You may not like the wording - I do not like it either and I thank heavens that we have moved beyond it - but no one will be able to understand how far we have come unless it is explained how things were. MarnetteD|Talk 20:43, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Please note that, per WP:BRD you need to form a WP:CONSENSUS for the changes that you wish to make. At the moment that does not exist. Your next steps are WP:3O or WP:RFC. MarnetteD|Talk 20:43, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
It should also be noted that this has achieved Good article status by meeting Good article criteria. That would not have happened if it had the "bizarre" tone that you have ascribed to it. MarnetteD|Talk 20:48, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Then let's give other editors the opportunity to consider this matter. You are not the custodian of this page. Much of the language of this article is written in the mind-set of the very attitudes that led to Wilde's persecution. Let us give an analogous use of language. Would Wikipedia, for example, include hate speech language such as "During his life people thought that Richard Wright was an upitty n****r". No it wouldn't. As for what Wilde is remembered for, there can be no question that he is remembered jointly for his writing and for his position as a gay man who was as out as it was possible to be without going to jail, and indeed he did go to jail. He is unquestionably an icon of the gay liberation movement of the 20th century, and this vastly exceeds his stature as the author of Dorian Gray.

But let us allow other people to have their say, rather than you being alerted on your mobile and reverting things at a few minutes notice. Bluehotel (talk) 06:58, 11 August 2014 (UTC)