Oscar Wilde sentenced to two years hard labour

(198 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

The Irish writer Oscar Wilde was at the height of his fame, with his most polished play, The Importance of Being Earnest running in London's St James's Theatre, when he became entangled in a series of legal trials that would lead to his imprisonment and fall from public favour. The Marquess of Queensbury (famous for codifying the modern rules of boxing) had a son, Lord Alfred Douglas, who had become Wilde's lover, and encouraged him to dabble in the London underworld of gay prostitution. Queensbury suspected this affair, and blamed Wilde for it, culminating in him leaving a calling card at Wilde's club on 18 February 1895, with the words 'Oscar Wilde, posing sodomite'.

Against his better judgement, Wilde took Queensbury to c…

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Editors. "Oscar Wilde sentenced to two years hard labour". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=5411, accessed 29 September 2016.]