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#1 - Chapter 1

Green Carnation

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Summary

The Green Carnation, first published anonymously in 1894, was a scandalous novel by Robert Hichens whose lead characters are closely based on Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas - also known as 'Bosie', whom the author personally knew. It was an instant succès de scandale on both sides of the Atlantic. The book features the characters of 'Esmé Amarinth' (Wilde), and 'Lord Reginald (Reggie) Hastings' (Douglas). The words put in the mouths of the hero and his young friend in the story are mostly gathered from the sayings of their originals. Robert Hichens spent nearly a year "in the company of the men" and was able to accurately recreate the atmosphere and relationship between Oscar and Bosie. The book was withdrawn from circulation in 1895, but by that time the damage had been done. Wilde soon stood three consecutive trials for Gross Indecency and was sentenced to two years at hard labor. The Green Carnation was one of the works used against him by the prosecution.

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