Tamurile (swas) wrote in the_aesthetics,

The Queensbury Trials; Oscar in the stands - reading of the trials + discussion with Merlin Holland

This morning I went to listen to the audio-reading of the Queensbury Trails, after which there would be time to talk to Merlin Holland. It was due to start at 11 am. Unfortunately, the entire event was organised by NDR (North German Radio) in celebration of some anniversary, and about 75% of the seats were booked for NDR employees, who only started arriving around 11. This annoyed me slightly, as I had already been present since 10:30 am. What was worse, though, was that these NDR geezers did not seem interested in Oscar Wilde at all - in fact, they appeared to be far more interested in talking importantly about the NDR and discussing the who-s-who and the free lunch afterwards! In fact, during the reading, I could hear snores from several directions!! When they had finally all arrived and greeted eachother extravagantly, the leader of the NDR gave a boring non-relevant speech. And then, at 11:40, the audio-reading started.

Read were excerpts from the Queensbury trails (the libel case of Oscar Wilde versus Lord Queensbury), taken from the trial-transcript by Merlin Holland. The chosen fragments gave a very good impression of the whole : starting off with the literary discussion of Oscar's work, and whether or not art has a moral, to the Camelion journal and its dubious, "homosexual" content, to Oscar's personal affairs with Taylor and his rentboys. Oscar was portrayed excellently by German actor Marcus Kiepe, the relentless Carson by Ulrich Noethen. Oscar played the jury and the audience with his charm and wit and shook off Carson's aquisations easily, until he got overconfident and was ensnared in his own words- the surprise and indignation over ending up being the accused, eventhough the trial was against Queensbury, was evident from his later answers and the intonation of the actor. It was painfully clear that Carson did a very good job in the defence of Lord Queenbury- so good, that it ensued two more trials: Oscar was later prosecuted and sent to jail.

The discussion that followed with Merlin Holland was less interesting. Although he is a charming man who patiently listens to others before giving very well-comtemplated answers in good German, the "discussion" consisted mostly out of persons from the audience who wanted to "share" their opinion of Wilde. A young man claimed that Oscar sacrificed himself for the benefit of homosexuals in England, by setting an example - Mr Holland refuted this vehemently, saying that his grandfather had always stated to only care for his art, and not for 'the greater good of homosexual England'. As much as the gay-communities wish to martyr him, this is simply not correct. As Mr Holland said, Oscar was so convinced of his own genius and intangibility, and possibly, so willing to give into every whim of Bosie Douglas, that he sued Lord Queensbury, and did not do so to sacrifice himself - he was simply convinced he would win. After this non-discussion, Mr Holland patiently signed copies of the Wilde Album (including mine *squee!*). I wish I had more time to talk to him, but it was simply too crowded, so I told him it had been a very interesting morning, thanked him, and left.

Thusfar, Oscar :)
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