Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest. As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years' hard labour after being convicted of "gross indecency" with other men. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry. He never returned to Ireland or Britain. Members of The Libertines have been known to mention Wilde as an influence, especially Peter Doherty.
The artwork for Doherty's debut solo album, Grace/Wastelands was based on Wilde's French play, 'Salomé', and a track on the album was also named after the play. An early Libertines song, written by Doherty and Barat also made reference to Wilde's work with lyrics referencing the novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' (They’re just narcissists / Well wouldn’t it be nice to be Dorian Gray? / Just for a day / They’re just narcissists /Oh, what’s so great to be Dorian Gray /Everyday?). The lyrics to Doherty's second single, Broken Love Song, contain a quote from Oscar Wilde's "The Ballad of Reading Gaol".
Both Doherty and Barat have also mentioned Wilde in interviews, with Barat saying he would like to spend Christmas "...with Oscar Wilde in the Dordogne..." and Doherty calling him "...an amazing writer and amazing inspiration...".