For the first time Merlin Holland presents the original transcript of the famous Wilde v Queensberry trial, containing previously unseen details and exchanges. With extensive footnotes and a new introduction, this definitive account is a dramatic read that will delight Wilde enthusiasts and the general reader.
One of the most famous love affairs in literary history is that of Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas. As a direct consequence of this relationship, Wilde underwent three trials in quick succession in 1895, marking the beginning of the end of his celebrated career.
In the first of these, he sued the Marquess of Queensberry for criminal libel for leaving his card at Wilde's club on which had been written 'For Oscar Wilde posing sodomite'.
Wilde's case collapsed on the third day, when Queensberry's counsel, Edward Carson, started to introduce the evidence of young male prostitutes or 'renters', whom the defence had unearthed in London's homosexual underworld. Wilde was arrested the same evening and tried twice (the first ended in a hung jury) for 'gross indecency'.
Now, for the first time, the transcript of the trial that redirected Wilde's history is reproduced, containing the actual exchanges that took place in the courtroom, raising new questions about Queensberry's intentions towards his son, as well as casting new light on Wilde's demeanour throughout the ordeal.