The Sins of the Cities of the Plain 1881
A new book about the most elusive character in Victorian gay history.
John Saul, aka Jack Saul, aka Dublin Jack was a male prostitute who became infamous through his role in the Cleveland Street scandal of 1889, when a male brothel employing telegraph messenger boys was raided by the police. Clients included Lord Arthur Somerset, Equerry to the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Euston, Mr George Cavendish-Bentinck MP, and numerous top military personnel. Rumours that Prince Albert Victor Edward, 'Prince Eddy', Heir Presumptive and grandson to Queen Victoria was a regular visitor, elevated the scandal into an affair that the establishment became anxious to suppress at all costs.
Jack Saul is notorious for another reason. In 1881 he wrote his 'memoirs' The Sins of the the Cities of the Plain, one of the most outrageous works of pornography ever written. Oscar Wilde possessed a copy, but now only one remains - in the forbidden books section of the British Library. In spite of this, the true identity of the author has remained a mystery for over a century, some asserting that the name was a cleverly-adopted pseudonym.
Now, for the first time, after much original research and access to hitherto unused archives, Glenn Chandler (the creator of Taggart) has tracked down the real "Jack Saul" and unearthed the boy behind the mask. He was an Irish youth of humble origins who became caught up in two of the major 'gay' scandals of the late Victorian era. He also claimed to have been on highly intimate terms with Ernest Boulton and William Frederick Park, otherwise known as Fanny and Stella, the two transvestites who were put on trial in 1871 for conspiracy to commit sodomy. In this, the first ever biography of a rent boy in Victorian London, Chandler reveals not only the true story of Saul's role but provides the first in-depth account and much new fascinating information about what really went on behind the front door and velvet curtains of No 19 Cleveland Street.
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Link to Justin O'Hearn's website and his excellent essay on Jack Saul and Victorian pornography.
What just a few Amazon reviewers have said about the first edition...
Glenn Chandler has done a fine job in fleshing out the often obscure details of Jack's life...entertaining and informative
Guy Mannering, Amazon Top Reviewer (5 Stars)
Glenn Chandler has done gay and social history a great service in tracing Saul's true identity and extraordinary life...a thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating history. More please!
Cosmo (5 Stars)
Definitely an eye opener...a fascinating history lesson of a young rent boy surviving in Dublin and London in the late 19th Century
Amazon Customer (5 Stars)
A meticulous piece of research
David (5 Stars)
The author puts flesh and blood on the legend of Jack Saul through some impressive research
A Purchaser (5 Stars)
A detailed and intriguing study of one of the Victorian era's disreputable characters...full of scandal and salacious facts
Andrew Douglas (Five stars)