The Ballad of Reading Gaol

In May of 1895, the most dazzling man of letters of the nineteenth century was sentenced to two years with hard labour for ‘acts of gross indecency with another male person.’ On his release he moved to France, where he wrote the Ballad: an anguished plea for prison reform, and a passionate expression of sympathy for his fellow prisoners, those “souls in pain”. Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol was a success from its first publication, and to this day some of its lines are among the most famous in the English language.

In this powerfully illustrated edition Two Rivers Press presents Wilde’s Ballad alongside Peter Hay’s original images and adds a newly-commissioned Afterword by Peter Stoneley which draws on unpublished material in the prison archives.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol
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