Edward Carpenter's Autobiography
The Edward Carpenter Archive
by Simon Dawson


Forward to Chapter 5 - Bradway and Towards Democracy


I SOMETIMES think myself singularly fortunate in the way in which my dreams of life (the wildest and most unlikely) have from time to time been realized; but in this connection I have noticed two things that have generally happened - one is that the new life-purpose would come, to begin with, with great force, making me believe it was going to be realized at once, and that then it would seem to fail and almost be abandoned, and then again, some years after, it would be realized. The second thing is (and this is in accordance with the general law of the "cussedness of things ") that just in the moment of the realization of the first endeavour, another ideal would make itself felt, which would in some degree supersede the former.

It had come on me with great force that I would go and throw in my lot with the mass-people and the manual workers. I took up the University Extension work perhaps chiefly because it seemed to promise this result. As a matter of fact it merely brought me into the life of the commercial classes and for seven years I served - instead of the Rachel of my heart's desire - a Leah to whom I was not greatly attached. Nevertheless this period was of interest and useful to me. I had never been in the Northern Towns. I was profoundly ignorant of commercial life. The manners, customs, ideas, ideals, the types of people, the trades, manufactures, the dominance of Dissent, the comparative weakness of the Established Church, the absence of art, literature and science, the dirt of the towns, the rough heartiness and hospitality - all formed a strange contrast to Cambridge and Brighton.

I spent the two winters '74-'75 and '75-'76 at Leeds - lecturing there, and at Halifax and Skipton - living in Leeds, in lodgings - and seeing a good deal of the people (mostly ladies) who were actively engaged in promoting the Extension lectures. My subject was Astronomy. It was a curious subject for these towns where seldom a star could be seen. As far as the heavens were witness I might have told any fables. My own knowledge was derived almost entirely from books, and my pupils' knowledge was practically limited to books. Occasionally I used to drag an evening class onto Woodhouse Moor, at Leeds, to look at the actual subjects of our discussions, but the latter generally withdrew themselves from observation! I don't know whether this kind of learning was of much use; but it was on the same lines as most modern learning. I think the study of books educates the constructive imagination - and teaches people to figure to themselves things and situations they have never seen. That is perhaps the chief use of it. The bulk of the pupils at this time and during my later connection with the University Extension were of the "young lady" class. These were the main Support of the movement, and they might be said to fall into three groups - namely the best scholars from girls' schools, especially some very intelligent ones from the Friends' Schools; girls living at home and having nothing particular to do; and elder women in the same plight. These formed the great majority of the afternoon classes, and a considerable fraction of the evening classes; the remainder being elderly clerks and a few extra-intelligent young men, and a very small sprinkling of manual workers.

Though for the most part incapable of any mathematical processes, I found my students open to simple geometrical reasoning and consequently able to follow a great deal of formal Astronomy. They took a real interest in the work, which carried them on and which made the teaching a pleasure - a great pleasure in comparison with my experience of the tuition of "poll" men at Cambridge, whose dulness and distaste for their work were crushing.

The modern Women's Movement was just beginning to take shape at that time. And there was at Leeds three women - all remarkable characters in their way - who were very much in evidence in connection with the University Extension. They were Miss Lucy Wilson, Miss Heaton, and Miss Theodosia Marshall. Miss Wilson was Local Secretary to the University Extension; Miss Heaton and Miss Marshall both aspired after the dignity and influence of the position. As may be imagined there was no love lost between the three, and the cabals and conflicts were unending and most amusing. At one time there were two other lecturers from Cambridge living in Leeds besides myself, namely H. S. Foxwell (of St. John's, Cambridge) and B. S. Thompson (of Christ's). We used to meet every day for dinner at each other's lodgings and had no end of fun comparing notes of local scandal. Coming from a distance and being in the position in which we were, we were naturally the recipients of confidences from all sides. The three ladies were constantly asking one or other of us out to tÍte-a-tÍte breakfasts, lunches, or afternoon teas - pouring out their grievances against one another, and drawing us into deadly plots. These we duly compared - not without hatching comical counterplots of our own.

But Miss Wilson was not to be dislodged; she was firm in her seat. Extremely good-looking and capable, and a good organizer, she yet had two defects. Like many "advanced" women she was very doctrinaire; and having swallowed a principle (like a poker) would remain absolutely unbending and unyielding; and, in the second place, she hated men. On one occasion she got up a "Women's Rights" Meeting in Leeds. It was one of the first of these meetings - certainly the first I had been to. It was well attended - by women; Miss Wilson made a clever speech, full of keen thrusts at the male portion of mankind. I dare say it was well deserved. It was very slashing. There were a few of us "lower animals " huddled near the door. At some final witticism there was a yell of applause. We shut our eyes, assured that our last hour had come - but were ultimately spared for another day.

On another occasion a rather amusing thing happened. One of the lecturers - not either of those already mentioned, but one living at Halifax though also lecturing in Leeds - got himself engaged to be married. This in itself was perhaps an offence to Miss Wilson. But what was worse - and certainly foolish of the young man - he went and fixed his wedding (in the South of England) for a date in the middle of the term, and then asked leave to miss a lecture in order to attend it Of course Miss Wilson refused. Then in a day or two he wrote again. The affair was very pressing, he said. and he must go. Miss Wilson called her committee together. They were inclined to yield to the over-hasty marriage arrangement - foreseeing no doubt that it was inevitable. But Miss Wilson was absolute. She would not yield - a great principle was at stake. "What if all lecturers," etc. Of course her word prevailed, and a refusal was sent. Then the inevitable happened. The fellow went off without leave, only leaving me, poor unfortunate! to read his lecture to his gently smiling class. After that there was a scene between me and Miss Wilson on which the curtain had better be drawn! "What business had I, to give my services and help to the rebellious lecturer?" etc. Sufficient to say that we both survived it, and were quite good friends afterwards.

On the whole it was an interesting time. It was at Leeds that I came to know the three sisters Ford of Adel Grange, whose friendship I have valued ever since; and it was at Leeds that I resumed acquaintance, to deepen into intimacy, with C. G. Oates, of Meanwood Side - a companion of Cambridge days. But my health was not of the best - a certain overstrain and tension of the nerves, dating from Cambridge worries, and carried on and increased by other causes, was continually pulling me down, and rendering my life at times quite painful. It was at this time too that my brother Charlie died in India (March 1876) quite suddenly, as I have already explained, through a fall from his horse. He was just, as it happened, on his way home on furlough after a long absence, and the shock to my mother and those at home was very great. And even I - though I had seen comparatively little of him - felt it a good deal.

In September 1876 my lecturing beat was changed from the Leeds district to Nottingham, York and Hull. I lodged at Nottingham (with a fatuous landlady) for that term and rather enjoyed the brighter air of Nottingham and brighter spirits of the people, after Leeds. The Casey family with their simple rather foreign habits (Mrs. Casey half-English, half-German, Mr. Casey half-Irish, half-French) were my chief refuge during that and later visits to Nottingham. To my Astronomy course, I added Light and Sound. The limelight lantern became my companion, and experiments - though they increased the labour of preparation - made the lectures easier and more successful. By nature an abominably bad speaker, I had at first found lecturing extremely difficult and a great strain. My nervous disorganization increased the difficulty. Words would not come. I suffered and if possible my audiences suffered more! But by degrees, by very slow degrees, I improved; practice and hard work over my notes in preparation made a vocabulary more ready to my tongue; and at last, by about the end of my seven years, I could get through an hour's talk without absolutely disgracing myself

In this connection I may tell a story. One term (a little later on, I think) I was lecturing at Barnsley. The place was a little local theatre, unused at the time; but about the middle of the term it was taken by a traveling company, and we had to move into another building. The last evening of our occupation, some scenery was already up, and I, having affixed my star diagrams to the shifts and side-scenes, was lecturing from the stage when a belated stranger, a rough navvy or collier - no doubt attracted by the theatrical bills already out - came stumping down the middle gangway and ultimately dropped into a seat. He remained quiet for a good time; and then - his patience fairly giving out - he rose up and spoke. "Look 'ere," he said, "I've been sittin' 'ere 'alf an hour - and I haven't understood a word of what you've been saying, and I don't believe you do neither."

I felt for the poor man - I deeply sympathized. He had come in no doubt on the expectation of a theatrical treat - got in too without paying at the door, which was nuts, as they say - and now - what had he come to?

There was a scene. Everybody jumped round on their seats. The local Secretary - a tiny little man, a Frenchman, a dentist - approached the bold stranger.

"You must sit down," he said.

"Shan't sit down!"

"Den you must go out of de room.

"Shan't go out of the room."

"Den I shall have to make you.

The situation was too ludicrous - this tiny Gallic David and this huge and beery Goliath! What might have happened we know not. Fortunately the stranger took the better part, and said -

"I'm sure I don't want to stay 'ere any longer" - and left us with contempt to our Astronomy.

In the Spring term, January to April, 1877, I lodged at York - again an improvement in climate. The lectures there were largely supported by Unitarian, Quaker, and other dissenting groups flourishing in the very shadow of the Cathedral. There were the Spences, the Smithsons, the Wilkinsons, and the excellent 'Mount' school ('Friends') managed by Miss Rous - whose girls were good pupils and great chums of mine.

In the end of April that year I went out to America. This was the accomplishment of a long-slumbering intention. Ever since, in my rooms at Cambridge, I had read that little blue book of Whitman, his writings had been my companions, and had been working a revolution within me - at first an intellectual revolution merely - but by degrees the wonderful personality behind them, glowing through here and there, became more and more real and living, and suffusing itself throughout rendered them transparent to my understanding.

I began in fact to realize that, above all else, I had come in contact with a great Man; not great thoughts, theories, views of life, but a great Individuality, a great Life. I began to see and realize correspondingly that 'views' and intellectual furniture generally were not the important thing I had before imagined; that character and the statement of Self, persistently, under diverse conditions were all-important; that the body in Man (and this the Greek statuary had helped me to realize), and the quality corresponding to body in all art and behaviour, was radiant in meaning and beautiful beyond words; and that the production of splendid men and women was the aim and only true aim of State-policy. By day and night the presence of this Friend, exhaled from his own book, had been with me - thus working, transforming, drawing me wonderfully to seek him. America too, the United States, began of necessity to compel my interest, and to form an additional attraction across the Atlantic. I wrote to Whitman more than once, and in 1876 obtained from him the complete (Centennial) Edition of his works published in that year. Indeed I made every preparation to go out to the States that summer, but circumstances rendered the voyage impossible.

This year, however, 1877, gave me the long-desired opportunity. I have recorded in another place [Footnote 1] the main outlines of my visit to Whitman on this occasion, so on that subject I need not say anything further here, except that Whitman as a concrete personality entirely filled out and corroborated the conception of him which one had derived from reading Leaves of Grass. The Rev. W. H. Channing, who was then acting as Unitarian Minister at Leeds, insisted on giving me letters of introduction to various friends of his on that side - Emerson, O. W. Holmes, Russell Lowell, Charles Norton of Harvard and others - of which I made use. Emerson was very charming and friendly. I stayed one night at his house and dined with him and his wife and his daughter Ellen. His failure of memory for names was considerable, and at times painful, and there was the fixed look of age often in his eye; but otherwise he was active in body and full of fun and enjoyment of intellectual life. His eyes greyish-blue, the corners of his lips often drawn upward - altogether a wonderful birdlike look about his face, enhanced by his way of jerking his head forward - the look sometimes very straight and intense, then followed by a charming placid smile like moonlight on the sea. His domestic life seemed admirable. I took a turn in the garden with him in the afternoon and a drive afterwards - saw the 'Minute Man' and the 'old Manse' where his grandfather lived. Then in his library he talked much about books and authors - handling his books in a caressing loving way - and showed me his Upanishad translations, and his verses "If the red slayer thinks he slays," etc. He expressed his admiration for Carlyle and Tennyson; his want of the same for Matthew Arnold; and his plain contempt of Lewes' Life of Goethe. His conversation generally seemed very literary in character and I could not get him to express any views or ideas about America's place and progress. When I spoke of Walt Whitman he made an odd whinnying sound:

"Well, I thought he had some merit at one time: there was a good deal of promise in the first edition - burt he is a wayward fanciful man. I saw him in New York and asked him to dine at my Hotel. He shouted for a 'tin mug' for his beer. Then he had a noisy fire engine society. And he took me there and was like a boy over it, as if there had never been such a thing before." Emerson also took exception to Whitman's metre.

0. W. Holmes did not please me so well - a good-natured little spiteful creature, one might say, with shovel underlip and bright grey-blue eyes under a low brow, a dapper active man of seventy - his vanity qualified by geniality and humour. No ideas whatever about America. "As to Whitman, well, Lord Napier said He was the one thing that interested him in the States. And then Lord Houghton at dinner one day came plump out in his favour - but Willie Everett made such a fierce attack in reply that conversation was silenced." And he knew that Rossetti and others in England thought much of him; but he could only say that in America he was not known. Then he told the story about him and Lowell and Longfellow sitting in judgment on Walt Whitman! [Footnote 2]

One of the men who interested me most in Boston neighborhood was Professor Benjamin Pierce - Astronomical Professor at Harvard - a fine capable man. We had a long talk on Astronomy, very helpful, and he gave me a fine set of drawings published by the Observatory.

One day at New York I met Bryant the poet. It was at his editorial office. Though eighty-four years old he was walking down there daily and getting through much work. He was infirm and aged-looking of course, but still wonderfully active; forehead narrowing above, and high like a sort of promontory, straight brow, and eyes sunken but opening out on you occasionally, straight nose inclining to a hook, and high bridge, white hair like a thin fall of spray over neck, ears and mouth. A very literary person - and manners extremely undemonstrative, even unsympathetic.

But it was Whitman I came out to see, and he in interest and grandeur of personality out-towered them all.

The other thing that fascinated me in America was Niagara. I stayed there four days all alone, looking at the Falls all the time, feeling their earth-shaking roar under my feet by day and in bed at night, and watching that strange calm sentinel, that column of white spray which, like a great spirit, exhales itself into the immense height of the sky over the roaring gulf, and which, rainbow-tinted in the sun, or glistening mysterious in the moon by night, seems to overlook the land for far and wide around. It was the only thing I saw which seemed quite to match Whitman in spirit.

For the rest the broad, free life - Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Albany, and the rivers and steamboats - the rough freedom and ease and independence - rougher and better a good deal than exists now - the hearty welcomes and general friendliness were pleasant and inspiring.

On my way down the Hudson I stopped at Esopus and stayed with John Burroughs a night or two. We took a long walk in the primitive woods back of his house, while he talked of Whitman and bird-lore - a tough reserved farmer-like exterior, some old root out of the woods one might say - obdurate to wind and weather - but a keen quick observer close to Nature and the human heart, and worth a good many Holmes and Lowells.

I was alone all this time, and felt lonely, among all these people; but as it was the same in England there was nothing remarkable about it! I returned in July to my life of lodgings and lectures; and in September was put on another lecturing round - to Sheffield, Chesterfield, and part of the time York and Barnsely.

This itinerant life in lodgings was a little dull and unfruitful it must be confessed; the only relief from the importunities of lodging-landladies being the futile hospitalities of commercial villa-dom. Both experiences however had their comic side. At Nottingham my landlady - a widow of course - used to aggravate me much, when I first came downstairs of a morning, by jumping out upon me from a side-door with "What'll you have for dinner to-day? This query, unannounced by any morning greeting or salutation, and flung at me every day even before I had had breakfast, was a complete poser. If I suggested anything, the suggestion was met by insuperable difficulties. She made no suggestions. And there we used to stand staring at each other in a kind of dismay which at that early hour in the morning was sadly demoralizing! On one occasion I wanted a box made - for some of my books - and I asked this foolish widow to recommend me a joiner for the purpose. She mentioned some man's name; and I, to make sure, queried: "Is he a good workman? would he make a strong and serviceable article?" "He made my husband's coffin, Sir," she replied with an air of triumph! And once more I was completely silenced - for I really could not ask whether it had lasted well or otherwise.

My first experiences of lodging in Sheffield were about equally bad. I took a lodging at the top end of Glossop Road. It was a good part of the town, but the weather was awful. For three successive days it rained blacks mingled with water! The sky was dark. Lamps had to be lighted indoors. Then my lodging-place people were most doleful - three timid little old maids, like bunnie-rabbits. No. 1, the youngest and most presentable, waited on me; No. 3 I never saw, she lived in the kitchen below; No. 2 haunted in the passage or on the stairs half-way between. No.1 would come in and ask me what I would have for dinner. "Chop and potatoes," I would say. Then she would put her head out of the door and say to the one in the passage "The gentleman says he will have chop and potatoes." I could hear the one in the passage say to No. 3 in the kitchen "The gentleman says he will have chop and potatoes." Then a sort of echo came up from below in a deep tone "Chop and potatoes." Then No. 1 would begin again with the second course. "Rice pudding." "The gentleman says he will have rice pudding." And so it went on, also for three days, everything that I said was circulated round the house and echoed back again from below! It was too much. If this was Sheffield I could stand it no longer - and I fled away and took rooms at Chesterfield - dullest alas! of earthly places, but with a rather better climate. Perhaps I rather liked the quietude of Chesterfield - where it was hardly necessary to know anybody. There were good country walks out towards the moors, and once or twice I got as far as Barlow, half-way to Millthorpe - Of which place, needless to say, I had then never heard. I penetrated, during my stay in Chesterfield, into the cottage of a plasterer, a dear old man, S. Ashmore, and became familiar in his household - the only permanent alliance I made in Chesterfield.

The next winter - 1878-9 - I really did manage to settle in Sheffield, in Holland Terrace, Highfields - three old maids again for landladies! - but rather better conditions generally. I lectured at Nottingham and Hull and Chesterfield, so had a good deal of traveling, and added a new course of lectures - "Pioneers of Science" - which was popular on account of its more discursive character: a brief history of scientific progress illustrated by biographies of the great men. The courses on "Sound" and "Light" went on as well; also that on "Astronomy" - which last was a popular subject in Sheffield. Omne ignotum pro magnifico. The evening students were very enthusiastic. Many of them bought telescopes, and we had outdoor meetings at night, with all sorts of optical gear, for the purpose of observing the heavenly bodies. One elderly enthusiast was quite sure he had discovered a comet, and was not satisfied till he had written to Greenwich Observatory, and even then (seeing that they could not find it) he was not satisfied. The Sheffield students too formed a Students' Association, and discussed subjects among themselves, organized excursions, and hunted up fresh pupils - all very good. From the first I was taken with the Sheffield people. Rough in the extreme, twenty or thirty years in date behind other towns, and very uneducated, there was yet a heartiness about them, not without shrewdness, which attracted me. I felt more inclined to take root here than in any of the Northern towns where I had been.

But during all this lecturing period my health had been bad, and getting worse instead of better and now I was approaching a crisis in regard to it. The state of my nerves was awful; they were really in a quite shattered condition. My eyes, which even in Cambridge days had been weak, kept getting worse. There was no disease or defect - I had been to three first-rate oculists and they all agreed about that. It was simply extreme sensitiveness - probably the optic nerve itself. A strong light from a lamp or candle was quite painful. I could hardly read more than an hour a day - certainly not two hours. It caused a pain in the nerve, which seemed to mount to and disorganize the brain. I was conscious that the refusal of my eyes to read was in all probability a kindly indication that I would be much better without reading - but this would mean giving up the lectures - so here I was again!

As long as the lectures went on I was in perpetual suffering with my eyes, and anxiety - sometimes being really unable to prepare the work before me. Then on this came the strain of lecturing - traveling to a place with a great box of apparatus, arriving there three or four hours before the time of the meeting, getting all one's apparatus and experiments ready (in some wretched schoolroom with no assistance), having often in those days to make my oxygen gas myself for the lantern; to rush out when all was ready for a cup of tea, to return in time to take an hour's preliminary class, and then to give the lecture; all this was terribly exhausting. But it by no means ended there. After the lecture some local manufacturer and patron would carry one off to his residence for the night, there to meet a few friends at supper, and to talk and be talked to till the small hours of the morning. When one got to bed - a vibrating mass of nerves - sleep was out of the question. There were all the pupils and their faces, and their needs and their personalities; there were the tiresome patrons and committee people, in endless dance on my brain. Often and often I never slept a wink - only to get up the next day and go through a similar, round. Often and often when I got back to my lodgings I had to lie on my back on the sofa for hours - not even then to sleep - but simply to rest and soothe the nerve-pain throughout my body. I felt my life was becoming wrecked and I remember at last swearing a great oath to myself that somehow or other I would get out of it and find my health again.

And behind it all there was that other need - which I have already mentioned more than once - that of my affectional nature, that hunger which had indeed hunted me down since I was a child. I can hardly bear even now to think of my early life, and of the idiotic social reserve and Britannic pretence which prevailed over all that period, and still indeed to a large extent prevails - especially among the so-called well-to-do classes of this country - the denial and systematic ignoring of the obvious facts of the heart and of sex, and the consequent desolation and nerve-ruin of thousands and thousands of women, and even of a considerable number of men. I came home in the summer to Brighton - to find my sisters, for the most part unmarried, wearing out their lives and their affectional capacities with nothing to do, and nothing to care for: a little music, a little painting, a walk up and down the Promenade; but the primal needs of life unspoken and unallowed; suffering (as one can now see all this commercial age has been doomed to suffer) from a state of society which has set up gold and gain in the high place of the human heart, and to make more room for these has disowned and dishonoured love. It is curious - and interesting in its queer way - to think that almost the central figure of the drawing-room in that later Victorian age (and one may see it illustrated in the pages of Punch of that period) was a young or middle-aged woman lying supine on a couch - while round her, amiably conveying or consuming tea and coffee, stood a group of quasi-artistic or intellectual men. The conversation ranged, of course, over artistic and literary topics, and the lady did her best to rise to it; but the effort, probably did her no good. For the real trouble lay far away. It was of the nature of hysteria - and its meaning is best understood by considering the derivation of that word. I had two sisters - who each of them for some twenty years led that supine, and one may say tragic, life so I had good occasion - beside what may have lain within my own experience - to understand it pretty thoroughly. Certainly the disparity of the sexes and the absolute non-recognition of sexual needs - non-recognition either in life or in thought - weighed terribly hard upon the women of that period. [Footnote 3]

Another cause, increasing the hardship of disparity, was the growing disinclination of men (of the upper classes) to get married. Partly this arose, no doubt, from their growing realization of the perils and complications of matrimony; but partly also it arose from an increase in the number of men of what may be called an intermediate type, whose temperament did not lead them very decisively in the direction of marriage - or even led them away from it; men who did not feel the romance in that direction which alone can make marriage attractive, and perhaps justifiable. There have of course been, in all ages, thousands and thousands of women who have not felt that particular sort of romance and attraction towards men, but only to their own kind; and in all ages there have been thousands and thousands of men similarly constituted in the reverse way; but they have been, by the majority, little understood and recognized. Now however it is coming to be seen that they also - both classes - have their part to play in the world.

For my part I have always had excellent and enduring alliances among women, and life would indeed be sadly wanting and impoverished without their friendship and society; but since the days when I sat a boy of nine or ten under the table, apparently playing with my marbles, while my elder sisters and their girl friends were talking freely and unconsciously with each other about some ball of the night before, and their partners in the dances, and their conversations - the workings of the feminine mind and nature have always been perfectly open and clear to me. By a sort of intuition (partly no doubt inborn) I never had any difficulty in following these workings. They enshrined no mystery for me. This fact has always caused me to find women's society interesting; but naturally it did not conduce to headlong adorations and marriage! The romance of my life went elsewhere.

Whether such a state of affairs may be desirable or undesirable, whether it may indicate a high moral nature or a low moral nature, and so forth, are questions which (in a land where everything is either moral or immoral) are sure to be asked. But in a sense they are quite beside the mark. They do not alter the fact; and that has always been the same since my earliest days. But it will be evident enough - to any one who takes the trouble to think what these things mean - that to a person of my emotional nature the conditions which brought about - to a comparatively late age - the absence of marriage, or its equivalent, were a fruitful source of trouble and nervous prostration. I realized in my own person some of the sufferings which are endured by an immense number of modern women, especially of the well-to-do classes, as well as by that large class of men of whom I have just spoken, and to whom the name of Uranians is often given.

Certainly any isolation was in a sense my own fault - due partly to reserve and partly to ignorance. When at a later time I broke through this double veil, I soon discovered that others of like temperament to myself were abundant in all directions, and to be found in every class of society; and I need not say that from that time forward life was changed for me. I found sympathy, understanding, love, in a hundred unexpected forms, and my world of the heart became as rich in that which it needed as before it had seemed fruitless and barren. [Footnote 4]

The Uranian temperament in Man closely resembles the normal temperament of Women in this respect, that in both Love - in some form or other - is the main object of life. In the normal Man, ambition, moneymaking, business, adventure, etc., play their part - love is as a rule a secondary matter. The majority of men (for whom the physical side of sex, if needed, is easily accessible) do not for a moment realize the griefs endured by thousands of girls and women - in the drying up of the well-springs of affection as well as in the crucifixion of their physical needs. But as these sufferings of women, of one kind or another, have been the great inspiring cause and impetus of the Women's Movement - a movement which is already having a great influence in the reorganization of society; so I do not practically doubt that the similar sufferings of the Uranian class of men are destined in their turn to lead to another wide-reaching social organization and forward movement in the direction of Art and Human Compassion.


  1. Days with Walt Whitman (George Allen and Unwin, 1906). [Return to main text].
  2. See Days with Walt Whitman, by E. Carpenter, p. 30. [Return to main text]
  3. This is a subject which through the Freudian psycho-analysis has come now [1915] to be much better understood. [Return to main text]
  4. Many examples of this kind of temperament are given in Vol. II of Dr. Havelock Ellis' classical work Studies in the Psychology of Sex - Philadelphia, 1901 and 1915. (See history VII, beginning "My parentage is very sound ", history XVII, etc.) And I will say that in my case the temperament has always been quite natural and associated with perfect healthiness of habit and general freedom from morbidity; and that it has been absolutely inborn, and not induced by any outside example or teaching. It is therefore a part of my nature, and a most intimate and organic part. And I have to thank Mr. Edward Lewis that in his Exposition and Appreciation of E. C. (Methuen, 1915, pp. 200, 299, etc.) he has so clearly and firmly indicated this. [Return to main text]

Forward to Chapter 5 | Return to Top of Page