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Oscar Wilde: Sodomy and Heresy


Oscar Wilde: Sodomy and Heresy


Oscar Wilde is notably celebrated as an artist persecuted for his homosexuality, a martyr for the cause of gay rights.

He was prosecuted for “acts of gross indecency with other male persons,” (sodomy) subsequently found guilty, and sentenced to two years hard labor at Reading Gaol prison.

At this time, homosexuality was both a crime, and a grave societal taboo in Britain.

At his sentencing, the judge remarked: “It is the worst case I have ever tried. I shall pass the severest sentence that the law allows. In my judgment it is totally inadequate for such a case as this. The sentence of the Court is that you be imprisoned and kept to hard labor for two years.”

Wilde served his two years, then spent the last three years of his life in exile.

He died at the age of 45 and was buried in Paris.

* Contains bonus material: The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde’s only novel. Translated into virtually every modern language, it has not been out of print since 1890.

Brimming with powerful homoerotic imagery and symbolism, its intensity sustained by roguish irony and moments of exquisite beauty, Wilde’s masterpiece is one of the most profoundly debauched creations in literary history. It has thrilled readers for over one hundred years.


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