Three Trials of Oscar Wilde (1895)

Old Bailey, the main courthouse in London, had never presented a show quite like the three trials that captivated England and much of the literary world in the spring of 1895. Celebrity, sex, witty dialogue, political intrigue, surprising twists, and important issues of art and morality--is it any surprise that the trials of Oscar Wilde continue to fascinate one hundred years after the death of one of the world's greatest authors and playwrights?

The events that would bring Oscar Wilde to Old Bailey began four years earlier in the summer of 1891 when Wilde, then thirty-eight years old, met a promising twenty-two-year old poet named Lord Alfred Douglas ("Bosie") at a tea party. The two became extremely close. Douglas took great pleasure in the interest shown in him by Wilde, already a major literary figure. Douglas called his elder companion "the most chivalrous friend in the world." Wilde saw in Douglas not only a lively intellect, but a young man with an Adonis-like appearance. Wilde made no secret of his interest....