Oscar Wilde was 27 years of age when left England for America on board the S.S. Arizona. By the time he reached New York eight days later he was 26—this being the age he insisted upon in press interviews. 
A simple mistake for anyone to make who was awful at arithmetic or a victim to vanity; but it takes a declared genius to incorporate the error years later into his works, as we shall see.
It’s debatable whether the name Ernest, used punningly by Wilde in his most famous play The Importance of Being Earnest, was chosen as a late Victorian code word for “gay”.
One the hand, the Wildean academic, John Stokes, suggests here this may be true “since the word ‘Earnest’ bears a euphonious relation to the [gender-variant] term Uranian”—presumably in the sound of its continental equivalents. 
Conversely, the actor, Sir Donald Sinden, who both knew and consulted Lord Alfred Douglas and Sir John Gielgud on the point, once wrote to The Times to dispute the suggestion. 
However, whether the words Ernest and Earnest are homosexual or merely homophonic, one thing is clear: the the name Ernest itself formed part of a gay literary subtext close to Wilde in the 1890s.
Literary Metaphor at the Oscar Wilde Festival in Galway
Focused though I am on Oscar Wilde In America, I like to keep an eye on the bigger picture. However, I know that to see the brushstrokes up close it is sometimes necessary to depart from topical and geographical constraints and visit the works themselves.
So last weekend I attended the Oscar Wilde Festival in Galway, Ireland, where I discovered part of the canvas rendered in two books with contrasting techniques.