Abstract

Highly prominent, scandalous and infrequent trials for the ‘unnatural’ and ‘nameless’ crime of sodomy in the late nineteenth century have attracted a great deal of historiographical attention. Until very recently, significant historical analyses have been based on the proceedings and reportage of no more than three trials of this kind, occurring between 1871 and 1895. Historians of British homosexuality have tended to concentrate upon the ‘Stella and Fanny’ trial of 1871, the Cleveland Street scandal in 1889, and the trials of Oscar Wilde in 1895. These trials, involving men of the highest social visibility and status in late Victorian society, have formed the bases of arguments relating to formations of homosexual identities and perceptions of homosexuality in British society. The ‘Stella and Fanny’ trials of 1870 and 1871 were conducted following the arrest of two cross-dressed actors, Ernest Boulton and William Park. As the case against Boulton and Park emerged, it transpired that Boulton, or ‘Stella’, was probably having a sodomitical relationship with Lord Arthur Clinton, MP. The case attracted widespread newspaper coverage.

Keywords

Dust Europe Arena Defend Prefix 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Weeks, J, 1981, pp. 100–2, and Cohen, E, 1993, Talk on the Wilde Side: Toward a Genealogy of a Discourse on Male Sexualities, Routeledge, London, p. 102.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Montgomery-Hyde, H, 1970, The Other Love: An Historical and Contemporary Survey of Homosexuality in Britain, Heinemann, London, p. 92.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Waller, P, 1983, Town, City and Nation: England 1850–1914, OUP, Oxford, p. 54. The population of domestic animals actually increased in towns to serve the expanding populations. By 1890, London had a population of three and a half million horses. op. cit.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Douglas, M, 1966, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, Ark, London, p. 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 15.
    See Lees, L, 1979, Exiles of Erin: Irish Migrants in Victorian London, Manchester University Press, Manchester.Google Scholar
  6. 38.
    Potter, H, 1993, Religion and the Death Penalty in England from the Bloody Code to Abolition, SLM Press Ltd., London, pp. 40–3.Google Scholar
  7. 47.
    Upchurch, C, ‘Forgetting the Unthinkable: Cross-Dressers and British Society in the Case of the Queen v. Boulton and Others’, in Gender and History, Vol. 12, No. 1, April 2000, p. 154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 51.
    In 1865 The Times’ circulation was 63,000 per edition. For the same year, circulation of Reynolds’ and Lloyds’ was 900,000 per edition. Ellegard, A, 1957, The Readership of the Periodical Press in Mid-Victorian Britain, University of Gothenberg Press, Gothenberg, Sweden, pp. 14–21.Google Scholar
  9. 52.
    Jones, A, 1996, Powers of the Press: Newspapers, Power and the Public in Nineteenth-Century England, Scholar Press, Hants, pp. 122–3.Google Scholar
  10. 56.
    Humpherys, A, ‘The Newspaper Press and the Divorce Court’, in Brake, L, Bell, B and Finkelstein, D (eds), 2000, Nineteenth-century Media and the Construction of Identities, Macmillan, London, p. 225.Google Scholar
  11. 61.
    McCalman, I, 1988, Radical Underworld: Prophets, Revolutionaries and Pornographers in London, 1795–1840, CUP, Cambridge, pp. 235–7.Google Scholar
  12. 70.
    Horn, P, 1997, The Victorian Town Child, Sutton Publishing, Gloucestershire, p. 169.Google Scholar
  13. 90.
    Stenton, M, 1976, Who’s Who of British Members of Parliament, Vol. 1, 1832–1885: A Biographical Dictionary of the House of Commons, OUP, Oxford. See also Adelman, P, Gladstone, Disraeli and Later Victorian Politics, Longman, Essex, for the political context of Clinton’s election as MP.Google Scholar
  14. 91.
    Aronson, T, 1994, Prince Eddy and the Homosexual Underworld, CUP, Cambridge, p. 14. Aronson suggests that Clinton’s death was a hushed-up suicide. The timing of his death was, in Aronson’s assessment, just too convenient for everyone with interests in suppressing this case.Google Scholar
  15. 93.
    See Fry, G, 1969, Statesmen in Disguise: The Changing Role of the Administrative Class of the British Home Civil Service 1853–1966, Macmillan, London, chapter 1;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. MacDonagh, O, 1977, Early Victorian Government 1830–1870, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, chapter 11.Google Scholar
  17. 94.
    Koss, S, 1981, The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain: Volume One: The Nineteenth Century, Hamish Hamilton, London, p. 9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sean Brady 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sean Brady

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations