The Sins of The Cities of The Plain

The Sins Of The Cities Of The Plain

The Sins of the Cities of the Plain; or, The Recollections of a Mary-Ann, with Short Essays on Sodomy and Tribadism is a pornographic book written anonymously under the pseudonym "Jack Saul", one of the first exclusively homosexual pieces of pornographic literature ever written in English. It was first published in 1881 by William Lazenby who printed 250 copies; a further edition was produced by Leonard Smithers in 1902. It has been suggested that it was largely written by James Campbell Reddie and the painter Simeon Solomon, who had been convicted of public indecency in 1873 and disgraced. Set in the form of a series of confessional essays, it tells the tales of Jack Saul, a young rentboy or "Mary-Ann", stated to have been sold to one of his clients, Mr Cambon, for approximately ₤20 an installment. The author's name is that of a male prostitute who later featured in the Cleveland Street scandal, and other participants in that affair appear as characters. Although the book appears to be mainly fiction, Henry Spencer Ashbee, who catalogued it, suggested that the characters Boulton and Park might have been known to the author in real life. Boulton and Park were a real life duo of Victorian transvestites who appeared as defendants in a celebrated court case of 1871. In the story Jack Saul in the guise of "Miss Eveline" recounts how he meets Boulton ("Miss Laura") and Park dressed up as women at Haxell's Hotel in the Strand with Boulton's lover and "husband" Lord Arthur Clinton trailing along behind. Later on Jack spends the night at Boulton and Park's rooms in Eaton Square and the next day has breakfast with them "all dressed as ladies".

Pornographic bookseller Charles Hirsch claimed that this was one of the "socratic" books that he had sold to Oscar Wilde in 1890.

Read more about The Sins Of The Cities Of The Plain:  List of Chapters, Editions

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