Relationship with Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas

In June of 1891, Wilde met Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas. Lord Douglas was the third son of the 9th Marquess of Queensberry and an undergraduate student at Oxford at their first meeting. As both were literary talents, they were drawn to each other and started an affair.

Despite Lord Douglas's position as a noble, Wilde would indulge in his lover, eventually outspending the amount that he made. The two would often meet up together and would even go on trips. In January 1895, they went to Algiers together. Wilde began writing more frequently to try and make up his debt due to the expensive relationship. One of the products of this time would eventually become The Importance of Being Earnest.

The 9th Marquess of Queensberry knew of Wilde and his son's closeness and repeatedly sent threats. When he sent Wilde a note calling Wilde a "posing Somdomite," which is a misspelling of Sodomite. Wilde responded to Queensberry's words by accusing the Marquess of libel and sparking legal trials.

Oscar Wilde's trials in 1895 caused a rift in their relationship as Wilde was imprisoned and spent a few years abroad after he was released. Yet, Wilde continued to write letters to Lord Douglas throughout the years. The two reunited in August 1897 in Rouen, but parted ways for good a few months later.


Articles and Sources:

Harris, Frank. Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions. United States, Brentano's, 1916.

Wilde, Oscar, and Merlin Holland. Oscar Wilde: A Life in Letters. Carroll & Graf, 2007.


Associated Place(s)

Event date:

Summer 1891 to Autumn 1897

Parent Chronology: