By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com April 10 2003 12:00 AM ET
BBC News reports that the original transcript of Oscar Wilde's libel trial--which went undiscovered for 100 years--is going on public display for the first time. The British Library acquired the complete document of the 1895 trial, which was found in a bundle of papers, donated anonymously, and which included the stenographer's shorthand transcription of the court case. Corin Redgrave and Steven Berkoff were scheduled to stage an hour-long reenactment of the trial on Wednesday at the library. The transcript--the existence of which was completely unknown to historians--was handed to library staff two and a half years ago, stuffed in a carrier bag. A spokeswoman for the library calls the document "dramatic and compelling." Until now, only heavily abbreviated versions of the court transcript have been available.
In 1895, Wilde sued the Marquess of Queensberry for libel. The Marquess, angered over his son Alfred "Bosie" Douglas's affair with Wilde, had left Wilde an obscene message at his club, accusing the writer of homosexuality. Over the course of the case, barrister Edward Carson showed evidence that Wilde had consorted with male prostitutes. Ultimately, the case was thrown out and Wilde was tried and convicted on charges of gross indecency.