Oscar Wilde's Last Stand

Oscar Wilde's Last Stand

Decadence, Conspiracy, and the Most Outrageous Trial of the Century

Book - 1998
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Baker & Taylor
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.

Perseus Publishing
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year that Sir Ian McKellen called a shocking tale of heroes and villainsilluminating and upsetting in equal measure.”

The first production of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé in 1918, with American exotic dancer Maud Allan dancing lead, ignited a firestorm in London spearheaded by Noel Pemberton Billing, a member of Parliament and self-appointed guardian of family values. Billing attacked Allan in the right-wing newspaper Vigilante as a member of the Cult of the Clitoris,” a feminine version of the Cult of the Wilde,” a catchall for the degeneracy and perversion he was convinced had infected the land. He claimed that a black book was in the hands of their enemies the Germans, a book that contained the names of thousands of the British establishment who without doubt were members of the cult. Threat of exposure was costing England the war.

Allan sued Billing for libel, and the ensuing trial, brought to life in this authoritative, spellbinding book, held the world in thrall. Was there or was there not a black book? What names did it contain? The trial was both hugely entertaining and deadly serious and raised specters of hysteria, homophobia, and paranoia that, like Oscar Wilde himself, continue to haunt us. As in Wilde’s own trial in 1895, libel was hardly the issue; the fight was for control over the country’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 fascinating event.


Book News
The story of the 1918 Billings trial in London. Actress Maude Allan, starring in Wilde's play SalomT , sued MP Noel Pemberton Billings for libel after he denounced her in his paper. The author argues that the trial was, along with the advent of World War I, a portentous sign of the nature of the modern world to come. Billings, in his claim that 47,000 members of the British establishment were being blackmailed by the German agents because of their sexual private lives and their memberships in the so-called "Cult of Wilde", was initiating the last gasp of the Victorian age. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Baker
& Taylor

Documents the case in which dancer Maud Allan brought action against a right-wing MP for libellous remarks concerning her performance of Wilde's Salome

Publisher: New York : Arcade Pub. : Distributed by Little, Brown and Co., 1998, c1997
Edition: 1st North American ed
ISBN: 9781559704236
1559704233
Characteristics: vi, 250 p., [24] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm

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