Oscar Wilde on Trial


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The Criminal Proceedings, from Arrest to Imprisonment

Joseph Bristow

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The most authoritative account of a pivotal event in legal and cultural history: the trials of Oscar Wilde on charges of “gross indecency”

Among the most infamous prosecutions of a literary figure in history, the two trials of Oscar Wilde for committing acts of “gross indecency” occurred at the height of his fame. After being found guilty, Wilde spent two years in prison, emerged bankrupt, and died in a cheap hotel room in Paris a few years after his release. The trials prompted a new intolerance toward homosexuality: habits of male bonding that were previously seen as innocent were now viewed as a threat, and an association grew in the public mind between gay men and the arts.

Oscar Wilde on Trial assembles accounts from a variety of sources, including official and private letters, newspaper accounts, and previously published (but very incomplete) transcripts, to provide the most accurate and authoritative account to date of events that were pivotal in both legal and cultural history.

Joseph Bristow is a distinguished professor of English at UCLA. He is the coauthor of Oscar Wilde’s Chatterton: Literary History, Romanticism, and the Art of Forgery.

Oscar Wilde on Trial represents a major contribution to Wilde studies. Joseph Bristow has amassed and synthesized an extraordinary amount of material and presented it lucidly and cogently.”—Simon Stern, coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities

“There is no doubt that Oscar Wilde on Trial will be the most thorough, the most comprehensive, and the most revealing account of the trials that has yet appeared.”—John Stokes, author of Oscar Wilde: Myths, Miracles, and Imitations
ISBN: 9780300222722
Publication Date: October 11, 2022
672 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
25 b/w illus.
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