Explores the lasting cultural and political impact of the events of this remarkable yearOscar Wilde’s libel suit against the Marquess of Queensberry and its disastrous repercussions dominated British newspapers during the spring of 1895, but as this innovative study reveals, the Wilde scandal was by no means the only event to capture the public’s imagination that year. Freak weather, a flu epidemic, a General Election, industrial unrest, ‘sex novels’ and New Women, trials of murderers and fraudsters, accidents, anarchists, bombers, balloonists and bicyclists were all topics of interest and alarm. Had Jack the Ripper returned? Did the Prime Minister have a dreadful secret? Were Aubrey Beardsley’s drawings corrupting the nation’s morals? Were overpaid foreign players corrupting English football? Could cricket save a degenerate nation from moral ruin?Drawing on strikingly diverse primary sources, Nicholas Freeman examines the recurrent preoccupations of a turbulent year, showing how 1890s’ Britain is at once far removed from our own day and yet strangely familiar.
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1895 Drama, Disaster and Disgrace in Late Victorian Britain