Festschrift for Tadhg Foley
‘Disgusted by the Details’: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and the Dublin Castle Scandals of 1884 James H. Murphy 177
‘Disgusted by the Details’: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and the Dublin Castle Scandals of 1884 James H. Murphy In his 1993 book Talk on the Wilde Side: Toward a Genealogy of a Discourse on Male Sexualities, Ed Cohen investigated the ways in which the trials of Oscar Wilde were reported. Cohen writes that Wilde and his opponent Lord Queensbury were presented very differently in newspaper reports. Wilde was seen as a dandy and as anti-bourgeois whereas Queensbury was seen as a neutral male.1 Thus where Queensbury was reported to have his arms folded, Wilde’s were described as limply crossed.2 Because the sexual allegations could not be directly repeated for the sake of public propriety they were signalled by the absence of normative maleness. In addition, the very fact that Wilde was consorting with unemployed, working-class men in a context which was inappropriate to his age and social position was taken as a sign of an ‘indecent’ relationship.3 The evidence against Wilde in his second trial, as reported, mostly concerned his relationship with these young men. He arranged to meet them in restaurants or in hotels or in rented rooms. Wilde’s presence with them at prestigious locations, such as the Café Royal and Savoy Hotel, and his physical movements between them became a shorthand in the public mind for his guilt. When the public read of Wilde travelling on foot or in a carriage to a particular location with a man different from him in age or social position it...
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