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Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England Paperback – 16 Jan 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (16 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571231918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571231911
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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 understaement to call it a colourful book ... Fanny and Stella is a cracking read. (The Sunday Times)

Neil McKenna's 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)

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. ... Showy as a feather boa, McKenna's text takes pleasure in its own silly excess. (Kathryn Hughes Guardian)

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)

McKenna provides what is certainly the definitive account of the Boulton/Park story ... McKenna lays bare a fascinating tapestry of interrelated personal histories. (History Today)

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] rollicking account of the trial of two middle-class Victorian cross-dressers. (The Sunday Times ~ Must Reads)

[McKenna's] examination of the case is excellent ... It's a book that's worth reading. (Mail on Sunday)

Neil McKenna's lively account of a mid-Victorian scandal. (Literary Review)

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)

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.

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