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Oscar Wilde gets the Google treatment

Poet, drinker, scallywag and Stephen Fry role model Oscar Wilde is the latest personage to get Googled - not in the sense of the verb but in the sense that the search engine has knocked up an image on its home page as a tribute to the man and its work.

Google likes to associate itself with the smart and the talented in the hope of presenting itself as similarly smart and arty and not all at evil. Honest.

Today would have been Wilde's156th birthday had he been super human. He shuffled onto the planet as Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde in 1854.

Wilde's one and only published novel The Picture of Dorian Gray is the subject of Google's latest doodle.

"An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them," Wilde wrote in the work. Perhaps he was anticipating his later arrest and two year prison sentence with hard labour on the charge of sodomy.

His best-known stage play remains the Importance of being Earnest, but others such as A Woman of No Importance and Lady Windermere's Fan are still regularly performed. He also wrote many short stories and poems.

Wilde died penniless in Paris, on November 30 1900 aged just 45, something we can't see happening to the Google founders or, indeed, current head honcho Eric Schmidt.