It is not a well known fact that the charismatic and controversial literary genius Oscar Wilde was actually an active Freemason whilst he studied at Oxford… so let me introduce in full: Bro. Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, born on October16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland.
Brother Wilde was a writer, poet, and playwright. He came from a family of intellectuals and soon became fluent in French and German. Wilde studied classics at Trinity College in Dublin, from 1871 to 1874, winning the Berkeley Gold Medal, the highest award available to classics students at Trinity. He received a scholarship to Magdalen College in Oxford, where he studied from 1874 to 1878. He graduated with a double first, the highest grade available at Oxford. His father, Sir William Wilde, an active Freemason himself, was instrumental in getting Oscar into Oxford.
In February 1875, John Edward Courtnay Bodley, a fellow undergraduate at Balliol College approached Wilde to join the Apollo University Lodge of the Freemasons.
Wilde’s Masonic career only lasted for the four-year period where he studied at Magdalen College, Oxford. It began and ended there, but he was an enthusiastic member and took it quite seriously. The Craft of Freemasonry fascinated and enthralled him and his participation of course would have pleased his Father.
Oscar took his Freemasonry seriously and was a keen and active participant in Lodge affairs. Within 2 months he had been passed to the second degree on 24 April and made a Master Mason the 25 May 1875. In November of the same year Oscar also joined the Churchill Lodge. He became Inner Guard in 1876 and Senior Deacon in 1877. The event was reported in the Oxford Chronicle for Saturday, 12 May 1877
His first play in 1880, Vera or the Nihilists, has clear Masonic connotations.
The influence of the Masonic ritual appears to be a combination of the Mark degree, and hints at ritual from various Orders. By this time, September 1880, Wilde had divested himself from both Roman Catholicism and Freemasonry.
He passed on November 30, 1900.
The Masonic Playlist:
“On kaunis maa (How Fair Are Earth and Living!)”
by Bro.Jean Sibelius