Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on 16 October 1854, in Dublin, Ireland, the second of three children born to writer Jane Francesca Agnes née Elgee (1821-1896) and surgeon Sir William Robert Wills Wilde (1815-1876). Wilde's mother was a prominent poet and nationalist; his father a successful ear and eye surgeon and noted philanthropist, knighted in 1864. Oscar had an older brother named William and a younger sister, Isola. After his initial years of schooling at home, in 1871 he entered Trinity College, Dublin, then went on to study the classics at Magdalen College, Oxford, England from 1874-1878. It was here that he came under the influence of writer and critic Walter Pater (1839-1894) and helped found the Aesthetic Movement, "art for art's sake". Wilde excelled in his studies, winning many prizes and awards including Oxford's Newdigate Prize for his poem "Ravenna" (1878);
After school Wilde settled in London and continued to write poetry; his first collection simply titled Poems was published in 1881. That same year he set off on a long tour of America and Canada to deliver lectures on aestheticism. He arrived back in Europe in 1883 and while not further lecturing lived in Paris, France. In 1884 Wilde married Constance Mary Lloyd (1858-1898) with whom he would have two sons; Cyril (1885-1915), who was killed during World War I, and Vyvyan (1886-1976), who would become an author, penning his memoir Son of Oscar Wilde (1954) and publishing Oscar Wilde: A Pictorial Biography in 1960. The Wildes settled in Chelsea, London where Oscar continued to write and work for such magazines as the Pall Mall Gazette and became editor of Woman's World in 1887.