Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Phoenix of Sodom by Robert Holloway

This new publication is, we think, the first time this text has been published in about 200 years. It is the main source of information about the events surrounding the arrests and trials of The Vere Street Coterie. In 1810, police in London raided the premises of The White Swan in Vere Street and arrested a large number of men, eight of whom were eventually convicted in relation to charges of Sodomy and procurement. In the end six of the convicted men were pilloried and two were hanged. The White Swan was a gay brothel, of sorts. Robert Holloway was a campaigning solicitor close to the landlord of the pub, James Cook (who was pilloried for his part in the affair) and he wrote The Phoenix of Sodom in fiery style. The subtitle is "or the Vere Street Coterie being an exhibition of the gambols practised by the ancient lechers of Sodom and Gomorrah, embellished and improved with the modern refinements in sodomitical practises, by the members of the Vere Street Coterie, of detestable memory." It is a fascinating source document for early gay history in London as it deals not just with the Vere Street Coterie but also with the practices of 'sodomites' in London more widely at the time.

Plenty has been written about this episode in gay history and the brief introduction directs readers to the online article by Rictor Norton and to his book about the period Mother Clap's Molly House: The Gay Subculture in England 1700-1830. This publication, however, is the complete text of an otherwise near impossible to find book: 32pp sewn into card covers with paper label and acetate wrap in a numbered edition limited to 50 copies.

Sales details will appear on the Callum James Books website in due course but, for now, if you would like a copy please go to the Paypal website and click on "Send Money". You do not need to have a Paypal account, merely an appropriate credit or debit card. The book is 9.99GBP plus either 1, 2, or 3 GBP postage for the UK, the EC, or elsewhere in the world respectively. Please make a little note that of the title you are ordering.


Anonymous said...

Methinks the antiquarian site (long gone to God) offered paid PDFs of this.

Anonymous said...

Richard Marggraf Turley (works at Aberystwyth university: is writing a novel based on this event. The prologue has just been published in Planet magazine (I've got the new edition). Apparently, a recording of the author reading from it will be up on the magazine's webpage shortly:

Who links to my website?