The Libelous Weekly History Thread

Welcome to this week’s History Thread! I’ll be lazy and proclaim this an Open Thread where you can discuss whatever you like.

Today’s picture: April 3rd, 1895 marked the beginning of the trial against John Douglas, Marquess of Queensberry for libel against Oscar Wilde. Wilde was having an indiscreet affair with Douglas’s son Alfred at a time when homosexuality was illegal, and after an escalating series of confrontations, Queensberry left a card (pictured) referring to Wilde as a “somdomite” (sic). Wilde decided to charge Queensberry with libel, which backfired spectacularly, as Queensberry likely intended. During the course of the trial, Wilde’s homosexual predilections were drawn out by Edward Carson, Queensberry’s stuffy, humorless lawyer, and the charge dismissed. Shortly afterwards, Wilde was tried under the Criminal Offences Act and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. The scandal  ruined Wilde’s reputation and literary career; he spent his last few years abroad in France, and died in 1900 of meningitis.