• RRP: £16.99
  • You Save: £0.45 (3%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Fanny and Stella: The You... has been added to your Basket
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by the book house
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: This item will be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon and is eligible for free delivery within the UK
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England Hardcover – 7 Feb 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£16.54
£8.18 £0.01
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£16.54 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Frequently Bought Together

  • Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England
  • +
  • The Secret Life Of Oscar Wilde
Total price: £30.02
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (7 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057123190X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571231904
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 3.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 241,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Rich and absorbing ... McKenna has done a tremendous job of recreating Victorian London's gay subculture, weaving newspaper reports, police documents and contemporary diaries into a jolly rollicking narrative. It would be an understatement to call it a colourful book ... Fanny and Stella is a cracking read. (Sunday Times)

Uproarious ... McKenna relates their astonishing story with meticulously researched relish ... McKenna captures their arrest with the same joie de vivre as Stella and Fanny lived their tumultuous lives: a blur of petticoats, shrieks and confusion ... It's a wonderful, gripping and moving story, including a pithy epilogue revealing what happened next to the major players. Tim Burton or Baz Luhrmann must make this into a film. (The Times)

Very seductive. McKenna is rightly confident of the appeal of his funny, dramatic and secretly quite significant story. (Financial Times)

McKenna does an excellent job of dusting [Fanny and Stella] down for the 21st century, testing the limits of his documentary source material and showing what happens when the biographer allows himself the licence to go inside his subject's head.
His writing has much of the performative element that characterised Stella and Fanny's appearances on the streets of London and in provincial halls. Showy as a feather boa, McKenna's text takes pleasure in its own silly excess ... Purists and puritans may balk at the book, both its tone and its way of proceeding. But everyone else will have a ball.

(Kathryn Hughes Guardian)

Gripping and novelistic history ... McKenna has unearthed plentiful evidence. (Sunday Telegraph)

[An] often jaw-dropping tale... Faced with such terrific material, McKenna could easily have told the story straight (as it were). In the event, he puts in a performance easily as theatrical as his heroines in their pomp. While the basic research can't be faulted, he also gives us the inner thoughts of everybody concerned ... A largely irresistible story, complete with a big courtroom finish that I won't spoil. (Daily Mail)

Both a fun and well-researched history. (BBC History Magazine)

You would need to be a very dull - or prim - dog indeed not to find this a terrifically entertaining story. Neil McKenna has thrown himself into it with unfettered glee. If the opportunity arises to describe an anal fistula - and it does, frequently - he does not shirk it. [McKenna is] a sufficiently crisp, colourful and funny writer. (Evening Standard)

A Fascinating slice of social history ... McKenna conjures the grubby glamour and camp excesses of Fanny and Stella's lives. He has a lot of fun with his subject while remaining sypathetic to those involved. (Metro)

Wonderful ... This is a great read. It will be made into a movie as sure as Neil McKenna is the greatest gay biographer of our era. (QX Magazine)

A most extraordinary tale through which author Neil McKenna paints a picture of a society that was a long, long way from the home life of our own dear Queen ... A fascinating reminder that Victorian society was nowhere near as respectable as it liked to believe. (Sunday Express)

McKenna does a masterful job of recreating the lives of Fanny and Stella ... McKenna once again shows himself adept at meticulous research. He delivers a brilliant dissection of the plotting by authorities that led to the trial of Fanny and Stella. With his polished sense of narrative, McKenna's new book is a page-turner, rendered in felicitous, witty prose that makes the tragicomic lives of the two cross-dressers an unforgettable tale. In telling it, he provides a panoramic picture of a stratum of underworld queer English life in pre-Wilde days that is an important contribution to gay historiography ... This fascinating account richly merits a place on your bookshelf. (Gay City News)

Book Description

Fanny and Stella, by Neil McKenna, is the gripping story of the trial that shook Victorian England - a tale of cross-dressing, cross-examinations and the invention of camp.

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book though the style of writing left something to be desired I felt with some misplaced apostrophes and some very purple prose. Though the purple prose did in a way fit the subject matter. The book shows a different side to Victorian society with men dressing up as women and appearing in public. In the case of Fanny and Stella they also dressed as women to act in theatrical performances.

Ernest Boulton - Stella - could easily pass for a woman and few people seeing her dressed as a woman could believe that she was actually a man. In fact when she was dressed as a man many people were convinced she was actually a woman. Fanny and Stella - as they are referred to throughout this book - were arrested in 1870 on suspicion of homosexuality and corrupting public morals. However the police seem to have made something of a mess of the case since there wasn't actually a law prohibiting men appearing in public dressed as women - or vice versa. Medical evidence of homosexual activity was difficult to acquire and rarely reliable and unless two men were caught in the act it was virtually impossible to prove conclusively.

The gentleman who was accompanying Fanny and Stella to the theatre at the time of their arrest appeared in court as a prosecution witness but in the end he proved to be much more of a help to the defence as he was aware they were both men even though they were dressed as women. This is a strange story which helps to throw some light on the wilder shores of human behaviour as well as showing that the tabloid press were just as scurrilous then as they are now.

The book, which is based largely on the trial transcript and evidence contains comprehensive notes on the text, illustrations and an index.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I'm just half way through Fanny and Stella but I'm enjoying it so much I don't want it to end. It's a laugh-out-loud funny book with a huge heart. You cannot help but adore Fanny and Stella for their audacious behaviour, their outrageous courage and their fearless take on life. Yet theirs is also a sad story of people who weren't accepted for that they were and dared to outwit society with their costumes and trickery. Neil McKenna has written a gem of a book and is a must-read for gay men and women and everyone in between. It's lyrical and beautifully written yet it also manages to be a page-turner. Buy it, read it and you will be taken on a wonderful trip back to Victorian London and a world of outrageous (in the nicest possible way) behaviour you'd never have thought possible.
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This is an extraordinary book - spirited, funny, vivid, highly readable; trying to describe it makes me feel a bit like one of the more bamboozled characters who encounter Fanny and Stella, aka Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton, in their daily and nightly adventures. Using Fanny and Stella's arrest and trial as the central pillar of the narrative, the book manages not only to tell to tell the story of their early lives and relationship, but to portray a huge cast of characters - family, friends, clients, lovestruck admirers, police, doctors, lawyers, landladies -, to explore sexual and social mores of the time and to bring a period of Victorian society vividly to life. There's a terrific amount of research in here, worn lightly; there's also a steady sympathy for human experience. As some other reviewers have said, it's unflinching in its account of the various police and medical ordeals Fanny and Stella were put through; more unusually for non-fiction, it also imagines its way into their emotions and thoughts, as well as those of many secondary characters. As a read, it's great company, brimming with stories and unexpected facts, by turns flamboyant, steely, reflective, funny, and quite often all of them at once.
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed Fanny & Stella immensely for it's drama, comedy, humanity and shocking revelations about sexual behaviour in mid-Victorian London. Neil McKenna has done a superb job in bringing out the flighty, sympathetic characters of the two leading ladies and their circle of friends. We think of those times as being inhibited. Well, for many, it was non-stop shenanigans which would have made today's Soho look bland. At times I laughed out loud.
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I did manage to finish the book, but I have to admit to gritting my teeth to get through to the end. The story in itself is fascinating, and an insight into a time long past. In parts I felt some elements of the story were told, retold, and then retold again. Where other elements of the story where completely missing. Spoiler alert: Why did the Crown persist so long in it's prosecution? What were the motives of the Police in instigating their surveillance long before the arrests? Who were the prime movers and what were their motives in pursuing this to the bitter end? Still regardless of that it made for an interesting read. Not sure it's one I'll be passing on to my Mum any day soon though.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting story that is spoiled by the author's decision to narrate it in a sort of comic mock Victorian style, sometimes heavily indignant, at other times as a tale of low romance. I found it deeply irritating (or as the author might say "She found it deeply irritating. Deeply, deeply irritating. Indeed, it irritated her immensely") and only continued to the end to find out what became of poor Fanny and Stella. A shame a better historian didn't get to the material first.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse


Feedback