Sodom On The Thames: Sex, Love, And Scandal In Wilde Times by Morris B. KaplanSodom On The Thames: Sex, Love, And Scandal In Wilde Times by Morris B. Kaplan

Sodom On The Thames: Sex, Love, And Scandal In Wilde Times

byMorris B. Kaplan

Paperback | January 6, 2012

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Sodom on the Thames looks closely at three episodes involving sex between men in late-nineteenth-century England. Morris Kaplan draws on extensive research into court records, contemporary newspaper accounts, personal correspondence and diaries, even a pornographic novel. He focuses on two notorious scandals and one quieter incident.

In 1871, transvestites "Stella" (Ernest Boulton) and "Fanny" (Frederick Park), who had paraded around London's West End followed by enthusiastic admirers, were tried for conspiracy to commit sodomy. In 1889–1890, the "Cleveland Street affair" revealed that telegraph delivery boys had been moonlighting as prostitutes for prominent gentlemen, one of whom fled abroad. In 1871, Eton schoolmaster William Johnson resigned in disgrace, generating shockwaves among the young men in his circle whose romantic attachments lasted throughout their lives. Kaplan shows how profoundly these scandals influenced the trials of Oscar Wilde in 1895 and contributed to growing anxiety about male friendships.

Sodom on the Thames reconstructs these incidents in rich detail and gives a voice to the diverse people involved. It deepens our understanding of late Victorian attitudes toward urban culture, masculinity, and male homoeroticism. Kaplan also explores the implications of such historical narratives for the contemporary politics of sexuality.

Morris Kaplan is Professor of Philosophy at Purchase College, State University of New York. He is the author of Sexual Justice: Democratic Citizenship and the Politics of Desire.
Title:Sodom On The Thames: Sex, Love, And Scandal In Wilde TimesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.27 inPublished:January 6, 2012Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801477921

ISBN - 13:9780801477928

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Table of Contents

Eros in the Archives: An Introduction
Prologue: A Walk on the Wild Side
Part One: Sex in the City
Part Two: Love Stories
Part Three: West End Scandals
Part Four: Wilde's Time
Epilogue: "Sex-mania"
Telling Tales: Some Conclusions

Suggestions for Further Reading

Editorial Reviews

"Sodom on the Thames is a fascinating book about several notorious trials dealing with homosexuality. The first, about cross-dressing, was as early as 1871. Others concern a male brothel in London in 1889–1890 and, most famously, those of Oscar Wilde in 1895. Since these trials occurred in Britain, class plays a crucial role on both sides of the street—it drives both the prosecution of the well-off and their protection. Morris B. Kaplan juxtaposes the public world of the courtroom in intriguing ways to the private homoerotic Eton world of William Johnson Cory, Reginald Brett, and their friends. The reader learns much about sexuality and even love, the differences of the past, and the similarities to the present, perhaps most evident in a 'modern' figure, the rather heroic John Saul, a 'professional sodomite.'"—Peter Stansky, Stanford University