Wilde Sues the Marquis of Queensberry

Wilde's trials, mentioned in another timeline event, are spurred when he sues the Marquis of Queensberry for libel. The Marquis of Queensberry, the father of his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, had left a card at Wilde's club reading "For Oscar Wilde / Posing Somdomite". The phrasing of the card is a key point of the trial. There is a wide variety of meanings that one could take from this especially since there is some debate on whether the verb is meant to be transitive or intransitive, but the Marquis clarified in court that he meant it to read "posing as a sodomite". He is quoted, saying, “If I was quite certain of the thing I would shoot the fellow on sight, but I can only accuse him of posing”. The Marquis was taken to court and never testified, despite being the one on trial. The trial instead focused on Wilde and proving he had a propensity for those types of activities. The defense subjected Wilde to hours of grueling examining, focusing first on Wilde's writing and having no success there, then on the men he had real relations with. Ultimately, Wilde lost the case, but the information discovered was what spurred his later two trials for "sodomy" and "gross indecency."

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

Apr 1895

Parent Chronology: