10. Oscar Wilde
In 1894,the Marquis of Queensberry delivered his calling card to a porter at the Albemarle Club, a members-only bohemian writers’ haunt in London; it read: “To Oscar Wilde, posing as a somdomite [sic].” Incensed, Wilde approached a solicitor in order to press libel charges against the Marquis. When the case made it to court, Wilde realized he was the one on trial, and during his cross-examination he was repeatedly asked about the licentious subject matter in his novels. The author gamely replied, “There is no such thing as an immoral work; books are well-written, or badly written.”
Wilde never thought he would be tried at Old Bailey, but the verdict was decidedly “guilty,” and he served two years in prison.