Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) was an Irish writer best known for his masterpiece play The Importance of Being Earnest, as well as the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde is also famous for the persecution he faced from his contemporaries with regard to his homosexuality. After a public feud in 1895 with the Marquess of Queensberry led to numerous revelations, Wilde was convicted of gross indecency and imprisoned for two years. Upon his release, Wilde fled to France where he died of meningitis at the young age of 46.

"It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously."

-Oscar Wilde

In the clip below, actor and comedian Stephen Fry reflects on Wilde's influence on his life and work, from his Big Think interview: