Entry updated 19 December 2020. Tagged: Author.
(1849-1912) UK editor (from 1871) and author; brother of F Herbert Stead. He edited Borderland, a journal dealing with psychic phenomena, during 1893-1897, and founded and edited The Review of Reviews in 1890. His contribution to The Rajah's Sapphire (1896) uncredited with M P Shiel may not extend further than supplying the plot to Shiel. He is perhaps most notorious for an article, "Maiden Tribute to Modern Babylon" (9 July 1885 The Pall Mall Gazette), which, perhaps pruriently, details the deflowering of a child prostitute, but which did have some effect in raising the age of consent. His sustained defences of women, including prostitutes, shaped his controversial four months in Chicago, Illinois, where he made highly unpopular speeches and attended the 1893 World's Fair, a visit prefigured in From the Old World to the New; Or, a Christmas Story of the World's Fair, 1893 (1892); his appearance at the Fair is not registered in Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day (2006), though he is mentioned elsewhere in the book. The summatory If Christ Came to Chicago!: A Plea for the Union of All Who Love in the Service of All Who Suffer (1894) fails to entirely escape unctuousness, but its depiction of a religious co-operative Utopia on socialist lines has points of interest. Blastus, the King's Chamberlain: Being the Review of Reviews Annual for 1896 (1895; vt Blastus the King's Chamberlain: A Political Romance 1898) is a tale of Near Future political intrigue, the second half of which is set in 1900. The Despised Sex [see Checklist for subtitle] (1903) is constructed as a 1902 report sent – by a visitor to England – to Dione, the queen of Xanthia, a matriarchy in central Africa, for whom Britain is a kind of Lost World.
William Thomas Stead
born Embleton, Northumberland: 5 July 1849
died at sea, following the wreck of the Titanic: 15 April 1912
- Blastus, the King's Chamberlain: Being the Review of Reviews Annual for 1896 (London: "Review of Reviews" Office, 1895) [Blastus: hb/]
- Blastus the King's Chamberlain: A Political Romance (London: Grant Richards, 1898) [vt of the above: Blastus: hb/]
- The History of the Mystery; Or, the Story of the Jameson Raid (London: "Review of Reviews" Office/The Masterpiece Library, 1896) [Blastus: pb/uncredited]
- From the Old World to the New; Or, a Christmas Story of the World's Fair, 1893 (London: "Review of Reviews" Office, 1892) [pb/]
- If Christ Came to Chicago!: A Plea for the Union of All Who Love in the Service of All Who Suffer (Chicago, Illinois: Chicago, Laird & Lee, 1894) [hb/]
- The Rajah's Sapphire (London: Ward, Lock and Bowden, 1896) uncredited, with M P Shiel [see entry text: hb/]
- The Despised Sex: The Letters of Callicrates to Dione, Queen of the Xanthians, Concerning England and the English, Anno Domini 1902 (London: Grant Richards, 1903) [hb/]
about the author
- Robert Frankel. Observing America: The Commentary of British Visitors to the United States, 1890-1950 (Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2007) [nonfiction: G K Chesterton: H G Wells: hb/Bruce Gore]
- W Sydney Robinson. Muckraker: The Scandalous Life and Times of W T Stead: Britain's First Investigative Journalist (London: Robson Books, 2012) [nonfiction: hb/]
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