In the next few weeks, I am presenting two further revised versions of my paper attempting to explore the curious (to my mind) absence of homosexuality from the Naturalist stage. Naturalism sought to use the latest scientific discoveries to fearlessly reveal the social problems afflicting contemporary society, with a particular emphasis on sexual taboos. In all of these respects, homosexuality would seem to be an ideal subject for Naturalism but, with very few exceptions, it does not seem to have been represented. This paper attempts to account for this.
I've given the paper a few times already. A truncated version was given at the TaPRA conference in September 2014, and longer versions to the London Theatre Seminar on 9 October and to University of Manchester's drama postgraduate seminar on 2 December.
This revised version will be given an outing (ho ho) at Edinburgh University on Friday 27 February at 4.30 and at the University of Sussex on 11 March at 4.00. Sussex have created the rather delightful poster (pictured) to publicise the event. It shows Boulton and Park, two celebrated and notorious Victorian cross-dressers who went under the names of 'Fanny and Stella' and whose arrest in 1870 was a public scandal that, if you'll forgive me, dragged in the seated gentleman Lord Arthur Pelham-Clinton, who was living with Boulton (seated on the floor) when the scandal broke. The day after he was sub-poenaed to appear at the trial, Lord Arthur was pronounced dead. The official cause was scarlet fever but there are competing theories that he killed himself or that he fled abroad. Fanny and Stella were eventually acquitted since there was no proof of immorality (i.e. anal sex) and wearing women's clothes was not a crime.