THEIR GOOD NAMES Twelve Cases of Libel and Slander with Some Introductory Reflections on the Law

Author: Hyde (H. Montgomery)
Year: 1970
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
Edition Details: 1st Edn.
Book Condition: Vg/G+
Price: 8.00
Hardback. An account of 12 cases of defamation tried in the English and Irish courts during the 19th/20th century. Besides the written and spoken words which normally constitute the grounds for cases of defamation, other forms, such as a motion-picture and a waxwork effigy at Madame Tussaud's, gave rise to some of the actions with which this book deals. The parties in the cases described range from Oscar Wilde's mother Lady Wilde in the 1860s to the popular entertainer Liberace in the 1950s; and the damages awarded by the juries vary from 50,000 in the celebrated 'Soap Trust' action in 1907, to one farthing which was all the jury gave the artist Whistler in 1878 when the art critic Ruskin called him a 'coxcomb' who had the effrontery to ask 200 guineas 'for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face'. Dramatic civil actions with scandalous overtones include 'The Baccarat Case' in 1891 in which the then Prince of Wales gave evidence, and 'The Bath Club Case' in 1927, which turned on the question of the morality of the Liberal statesman W.E. Gladstone. Several cases of criminal libel are also described. These include the trials of a Victorian newspaper editor for having alleged that the Earl of Euston frequented a notorious brothel; the eccentric M.P. Noel Pemberton-Billing for publicly declaring that the dancer Maud Allan was a Lesbian; and Lord Alfred Douglas for having accused Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty with issuing a report on the Battle of Jutland which he knew to be false. In a revealing introductory chapter, the author took a close-look at the state of the British law (at the time) of libel and slander, and examined such controversial aspects of it as the question of malice and whether the law ought not to be amended to provide penalties for libelling the reputation of distinguished individuals no longer alive. Illus., Bibliog and Index. 406pp. 8vo. h/back. Browned edges o/w Vg. in chipped and frayed G+ dw. designed by Craig Dodd.


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