From Oscar Wilde to Portland’s 1912 Scandal

Peter Boag

in Same-Sex Affairs

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780520236042
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930698 | DOI:
From Oscar Wilde to Portland’s 1912 Scandal

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This chapter explores the emergence of the modern male homosexual and his location within the middle classes. It reviews the changing public representations of homosexuality in the Northwest from the time of the sensationalized coverage of the Oscar Wilde scandal in 1895 through to Portland's 1912 scandal. A brief consideration of the dominant social group's deployment of the homosexual identity among working-class men is also presented. The 1895 Oscar Wilde scandal and trials had an effect on the Northwest. One of the most popular and forceful explanations for middle-class homosexuality espoused during the 1912 scandal harked back to the degeneration theory made familiar during the Wilde episode. The events that transpired in Portland in late 1912–13 are significant in a national context.

Keywords: Oscar Wilde; Portland; middle classes; 1912 scandal; male homosexual; homosexual identity

Chapter.  11846 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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