In the spring of 1918 in London, an extraordinary trial took place, a trial that was as much a reflection of the passions and paranoias of its day as the Dreyfus court-martial, the Scopes trial, the Lindbergh kidnapping case, the McCarthy hearings, and the O.J. circus were of theirs. It was called the Billing trial. And in the witness stand, eighteen years after his death, was Oscar Wilde. The Billing trial's beginnings can be traced to the moment British authorities finally permitted a staging of Wilde's play Salome. American beauty Maud Allan was to dance the lead. Allan, whose daring performances were popular among aficionados of the exotic and the risqué, had danced the part of Salome elsewhere, but a production of this remnant of fin de siecle eroticism in wartime England was not greeted with universal approval. So outrage was Noel Pemberton Billing, a member of Parliament and self-appointed guardian of family values, that he denounced Allan in the right-wing newspaper Vigilante as a member of the Cult of the Clitoris. Billing was convinced the Cult of Wilde -a catchall for anyone guilty of degeneracy and perversion, in his eyes-had infected the land. Of that, Billing maintained, he had proof: a black book containing the names of 47,000 members of the British establishment who without doubt were member of the Cult of Wilde was in the hand of the Germans. Threat of exposure was costing England the war. Maud Allan sued Billing for libel, and the trial that followed held the world in thrall. Newspaper headlines shifted their focus from the French front and turned to the proceedings at the Old Bailey. Was there or was there not a black book? What names did it contain? The Billing trial was both hugely entertaining-never had scandal and social prominence been so deliciously juxtaposed-and deadly serious. As in Oscar Wilde's own trial in 1895 (which also to place at the Old Bailey), libel was hardly the issue; the fight was for control over the county's moral compass. In Oscar Wilde's Last Stand biographer and historian Philip Hoare gives us the full drama of the Billing trial, gavel to gavel, and brings to life this unique, bizarre, and spell-binding event. He has, as Simon Callow wrote in his review in the London Sunday Times, Identified one of the key moments in the formation of the modern world, and he has documented it with dazzling brilliance. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory #
Synopsis: Describes how a performance of Wilde's Salome+a7 led to a denunciation by Noel Pemberton Billing, MP and self-styled guardian of public morality, of the play and its star, Maud Allan, his claims of sexual perversion and conspiracy, and the libel trial that followed. 12,500 first printing. Tour.
Review: Even though Oscar Wilde--playwright, wit, critic, and convicted sodomite--died exiled and disgraced in 1900, his memory and influence remain central to British culture. In 1918 the specter of Wilde manifested itself in what social historian Philip Hoare calls "the trial of the century." This shocking libel case was brought by American actress Maud Allan, who had just appeared in a production of Wilde's Salome, against Noel Pemberton Billing, an arch-conservative M.P., who accused her of being a member of "the cult of the clitoris": his catch phase for a sexual and social degeneracy that he saw as destroying England. Billing also claimed that the German government (with whom, you will recall, England was at war) had "a black book" containing the names of 47,000 prominent members of the British society who were "in the cult of Wilde"--a euphemism for quot;degenerate" homosexuals--and who were potential blackmailees, subversives, and traitors. As in the Wilde trials 23 years earlier, the real issue here was an attack by conservatives and moralists against social and sexual freedom.
As in his earlier work, Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant and Noel Coward: A Biography, Hoare proves himself to be an incisive social critic and a vigorous historian who illuminates the paradoxes of the recent past with insight and passion. But the real power of Oscar Wilde's Last Stand (that Hoare makes clear again and again) is its understanding that Wilde--social rebel and martyr to artistic and sexual freedom--remains, in so many ways, under attack by conservative social forces even today. --Michael Bronski END
Title: Oscar Wilde's Last Stand
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Publication Date: 1998
Book Condition: New
Edition: First US Edition.
Book Description Arcade Publishing. Condition: Good. Former Library book. A sound copy with only light wear. Overall a solid copy at a great price! All orders guaranteed and ship within 24 hours. Before placing your order for please contact us for confirmation on the book's binding. Check out our other listings to add to your order for discounted shipping. Seller Inventory # BOS-P-13e-00041
Book Description Arcade Publishing. Hardcover. Condition: Good. A copy that has been read, but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. The spine may show signs of wear. Pages can include limited notes and highlighting, and the copy can include previous owner inscriptions. An ex-library book and may have standard library stamps and/or stickers. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G1559704233I3N10
Book Description Arcade Publishing. Hardcover. Condition: Fair. A readable copy. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. Pages can include considerable notes-in pen or highlighter-but the notes cannot obscure the text. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G1559704233I5N00
Book Description Arcade Publishing. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting, but may contain a neat previous owner name. The spine remains undamaged. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G1559704233I4N00
Book Description Arcade Publishing. Hardcover. Condition: Fair. A readable copy. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. Pages can include considerable notes-in pen or highlighter-but the notes cannot obscure the text. The dust jacket is missing. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G1559704233I5N01
Book Description Arcade 1998, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1998. Soft cover. Condition: Very Good. 2nd Printing. b&w photo illust. 'Decadence, Conspiracy, and the Most Outrageous Trial of the Century' Size: Trade Paperback. Seller Inventory # 008200
Book Description Arcade Publishing, Incorporated, New York, NY, U.S.A., 1998. S Trade Paperback. Condition: Very Good. No Jacket. Later Printing. New York, NY, U.S.A.: Arcade Publishing, Incorporated. 1998. Later Printing. S Trade Paperback. Very Good. Seller Inventory # 080518
Book Description Arcade Publishing. Condition: Very Good. Trade paperback. Very good condition; edges, corners, and covers of book show minor wear. No underlining; no highlighting; no internal markings. Stored in sealed plastic protection. In the event of a problem we guarantee full refund. 1998. Trade paperback. Seller Inventory # 226120
Book Description Arcade Publishing, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not include cdrom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority!. Seller Inventory # S_220493316
Book Description Arcade Publishing. Condition: Like New. Book Club. Trade Paperback. Like new; no internal markings; has only lost its Brand New shine. No pricing stickers. No remainder mark. Stored in sealed plastic protection. In the event of a problem we guarantee full refund. 1998. Book Club. Trade Paperback. Seller Inventory # 332441