The Info List - Edward Carpenter

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Edward Carpenter
Edward Carpenter
(29 August 1844 – 28 June 1929) was an English socialist poet, philosopher, anthologist, and early activist for rights for homosexuals.[1] A poet and writer, he was a close friend of Rabindranath Tagore, and a friend of Walt Whitman.[2] He corresponded with many famous figures such as Annie Besant, Isadora Duncan, Havelock Ellis, Roger Fry, Mahatma Gandhi, Keir Hardie, J. K. Kinney, Jack London, George Merrill, E. D. Morel, William Morris, Edward R. Pease, John Ruskin, and Olive Schreiner.[3] As a philosopher he was particularly known for his publication of Civilisation, Its Cause and Cure in which he proposes that civilisation is a form of disease that human societies pass through.[4] An early advocate of sexual freedoms, he had an influence on both D. H. Lawrence and Sri Aurobindo, and inspired E. M. Forster's novel Maurice.[5]


1 Early life 2 Moving to the North of England 3 Life with George Merrill 4 Later life 5 Influence 6 Works 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links

Early life[edit] Born in Hove
in Sussex, Carpenter was educated at nearby Brighton College where his father was a governor. His brothers Charles, George and Alfred also went to school there. When he was ten, he displayed a flair for the piano.[6] His academic ability appeared relatively late in his youth, but was sufficient to earn him a place at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.[7] Whilst there he began to explore his feelings for men. One of the most notable examples of this is his close friendship with Edward Anthony Beck (later Master of Trinity Hall), which, according to Carpenter, had "a touch of romance".[6] Beck eventually ended their friendship, causing Carpenter great emotional heartache. Carpenter graduated as 10th Wrangler in 1868.[8] After university he joined the Church of England as a curate, "as a convention rather than out of deep Conviction".[9] In 1871 he was invited to become tutor to the royal princes George Frederick (late King George V) and his elder brother, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, but declined the position. The job instead went to his lifelong friend and fellow Cambridge student John Neale Dalton.[10] Carpenter continued to visit Dalton while he was tutor, and was presented with photographs of themselves by the princes.[11] In the following years he experienced an increasing sense of dissatisfaction with his life in the church and university, and became weary of what he saw as the hypocrisy of Victorian society.[6] He found great solace in reading poetry, later remarking that his discovery of the work of Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
caused "a profound change" in him. (My Days and Dreams p. 64) Moving to the North of England[edit]

Edward Carpenter
Edward Carpenter
in 1875

Carpenter left the church in 1874 and became a lecturer in astronomy, sun worship, the lives of ancient Greek women and music, moving to Leeds
as part of University Extension Movement, which was formed by academics who wished to introduce higher education to deprived areas of England. He hoped to lecture to the working classes, but found that his lectures were attended by middle class people, many of whom showed little active interest in the subjects he taught. Disillusioned,[6] he moved to Chesterfield, but finding that town dull, he based himself in nearby Sheffield
a year later.[7] Here he finally came into contact with manual workers, and he began to write poetry. His sexual preferences were for working men: "the grimy and oil-besmeared figure of a stoker" or "the thick-thighed hot coarse-fleshed young bricklayer with a strap around his waist".[12] In Sheffield, Carpenter became increasingly radical.[citation needed] Influenced by a disciple of Engels, Henry Hyndman, he joined the Social Democratic Federation
Social Democratic Federation
(SDF) in 1883 and attempted to form a branch in the city. The group instead chose to remain independent, and became the Sheffield
Society.[citation needed] While in the city he worked on a number of projects including highlighting the poor living conditions of industrial workers. In May 1889, Carpenter wrote a piece in the Sheffield
Independent calling Sheffield
the laughingstock of the civilized world and said that the giant thick cloud of smog rising out of Sheffield
was like the smoke arising from Judgment Day, and that it was the altar on which the lives of many thousands would be sacrificed. He said that 100,000 adults and children were struggling to find sunlight and air, enduring miserable lives, unable to breathe and dying of related illnesses.[13] In 1884, he left the SDF with William Morris
William Morris
to join the Socialist
League. When his father Charles Carpenter died in 1882, he left his son a considerable fortune. This enabled Carpenter to quit his lectureship to start a simpler life of market gardening in Millthorpe, near Barlow, Derbyshire.[14] Life with George Merrill[edit]

Carpenter and Merrill c. 1900.

On his return from India in 1891, he met George Merrill, a working class man also from Sheffield, 22 years his junior, and the two men struck up a relationship, eventually cohabiting in 1898.[7] Merrill had been raised in the slums of Sheffield
and had no formal education. Their relationship endured and they remained partners for the rest of their lives, a fact made all the more extraordinary by the hysteria about homosexuality generated by the Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
trial of 1895. Carpenter remarked in his work The Intermediate Sex:

Eros is a great leveller. Perhaps the true Democracy rests, more firmly than anywhere else, on a sentiment which easily passes the bounds of class and caste, and unites in the closest affection the most estranged ranks of society. It is noticeable how often Uranians of good position and breeding are drawn to rougher types, as of manual workers, and frequently very permanent alliances grow up in this way, which although not publicly acknowledged have a decided influence on social institutions, customs and political tendencies.[15]

Edward Carpenter
Edward Carpenter
(1894) by Roger Fry
Roger Fry
(1866-1934), oil on canvas; given by the artist, 1930

Carpenter included among his friends the scholar, author, naturalist, and founder of the Humanitarian League, Henry S. Salt, and his wife, Catherine;[16] the critic, essayist and sexologist, Havelock Ellis, and his wife, Edith; actor and producer Ben Iden Payne; Labour activists, John Bruce and Katharine Glasier; writer and scholar, John Addington Symonds; and the writer and feminist, Olive Schreiner.[17] E. M. Forster
E. M. Forster
was also close friends with the couple, who on a visit to Millthorpe in 1912 was inspired to write his gay-themed novel, Maurice.[18] Forster records in his diary that Merrill "...touched my backside - gently and just above the buttocks. I believe he touched most people's. The sensation was unusual and I still remember it, as I remember the position of a long vanished tooth. He made a profound impression on me and touched a creative spring."[7] The relationship between Carpenter and Merrill was the template for the relationship between Maurice Hall and Alec Scudder, the gamekeeper in Forster's novel.[18] Carpenter was also a significant influence on the author D. H. Lawrence, whose Lady Chatterley's Lover
Lady Chatterley's Lover
can be seen as a heterosexualised Maurice.[19] Later life[edit]

Edward Carpenter
Edward Carpenter
in 1905

In 1902 his anthology of verse and prose, Ioläus: An Anthology of Friendship, was published.[20][21][22] The book was published again in 1906 by William Swan Sonnenschein.[23] In 1915, he published The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife, where he argued that the source of war and discontent in western society was class-monopoly and social inequality. Carpenter was an advocate of the Christ myth theory.[24] He authored the book Pagan and Christian Creeds, 1920. After the First World War, he had moved to Guildford, Surrey, with George Merrill[25] and the two lived at 23 Mountside Road.[26] In January 1928, Merrill died suddenly.[7] Carpenter was devastated and he sold their house and lodged for a short time, with his companion and carer Ted Inigan, at 17 Woodland Avenue, just a short walk from Mountside. They then moved to a bungalow called ‘Inglenook’ in Josephs Road.[26] In May 1928, Carpenter suffered a paralytic stroke. He lived another 13 months before he died on 28 June 1929, aged 84.[7] He was interred, in the same grave as Merrill, at the Mount Cemetery
Mount Cemetery
at Guildford
in Surrey. Influence[edit]

The grave of Carpenter and George Merrill at the Mount Cemetery, in Guildford

Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams
was an admirer of Carpenter's writings, especially Towards Democracy.[27] Leslie Paul was influenced by Carpenter's ideas; in turn he passed on Carpenter's ideas to the scouting group he founded, The Woodcraft Folk.[28] Carpenter has also been known as the "Saint in Sandals", the "Noble Savage" and, more recently, the "gay godfather of the British left".[29] Works[edit]

The Religious Influence of Art 1870

Narcissus and other Poems 1873

Moses: A Drama in Five Acts 1875

Modern Money Lending 1885

England's Ideal 1887

Chants of Labour 1888

Civilisation: Its Cause and Cure 1889

From Adam's Peak to Elephanta: Sketches in Ceylon and India 1892

A Visit to Ghani: From Adam's Peak to Elephanta 1892

Homogenic Love and Its Place in a Free Society 1894

Sex Love and Its Place in a Free Society 1894

Marriage in Free Society 1894

Love's Coming of Age 1896

An Unknown People 1897

Angels' Wings: A Series of Essays on Art and its Relation to Life 1898

The Art of Creation 1904

Prisons, Police, and Punishment 1905

Days with Walt Whitman: With Some Notes on His Life and Work 1906

Iolaus: Anthology of Friendship 1902

Towards Democracy 1905

Sketches from Life in Town and Country 1908

The Intermediate Sex: A Study of Some Transitional Types of Men and Women 1908

Non-Governmental Society 1911

The Drama of Love and Death: A Study of Human Evolution and Transfiguration 1912

George Merrill, A True History 1913

Intermediate Types Among Primitive Folk: A Study in Social Evolution 1914

The Healing of Nations 1915

My Days and Dreams, Being Autobiographical Notes 1916

The Story of My Books 1916

Never Again! 1916

Towards Industrial Freedom 1917

Pagan and Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning 1920

Civilisation, Its Cause and Cure, and Other Essays 1921

The story of Eros and Psyche 1923

Some Friends of Walt Whitman: A Study in Sex-Psychology 1924

The Psychology of the Poet
Shelley 1925

See also[edit]

List of Christ myth theory
Christ myth theory


^ Warren Allen Smith: Who's Who in Hell, A Handbook and International Directory for Humanists, Freethinkers, Naturalists, Rationalists, and Non-Theists, Barricade Books, New York, 2000, p. 186; ISBN 978-1-56980-158-1. ^ Excerpt from Gay
Roots Vol. 1: THE GAY SUCCESSION The following document first appeared in Gay
Sunshine Journal 35 (1978) and was reprinted as an appendix to the Allen Ginsberg interview in the book Gay
Sunshine Interviews, Volume 1, Gay
Sunshine Press, 1978. retrieved September 16, 2014 ^ FABIAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL THOUGHT Series One: The Papers of Edward Carpenter, 1844-1929, from Sheffield
Archives Part 1: Correspondence and Manuscripts Archived 6 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine. at www.adam-matthew-publications.co.uk ^ Carpenter, Edward. Civilisation, Its Cause and Cure.  ^ Andrew Harvey, ed. (1997). The Essential Gay
Mystics.  ^ a b c d "Edward Carpenter, My Days and Dreams, London: Unwin, 1916".  ^ a b c d e f Rowbotham 2009 ^ "Carpenter, Edward (CRPR864E)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.  ^ Philip Taylor's Biography of Carpenter, Philip Taylor 1988 ^ Aronson p.48 ^ Aronson p.50 ^ Aronson p.49 citing d'Arch Smith, Love in Earnest p. 192 ^ Edward Carpenter, Letter, Sheffield
Independent (25 May 1889) ^ http://www.visitchesterfield.info/thedms.asp?dms=13&venue=6050330[permanent dead link] ^ Edward Carpenter
Edward Carpenter
The Intermediate Sex, p.114-115 ^ George and Willene Hendrick (1989). The Savour of Salt: A Henry Salt Anthology. Centaur Press. p. 153.  ^ Gray, Stephen. 2013. Two Dissident Dream-Walkers: The Hardly Explored Reformist Alliance between Olive Schreiner
Olive Schreiner
and Edward Carpenter. English Academy Review: Southern African Journal of English Studies Volume 30, Issue 2, 2013. ^ a b Rowse, A. L. (1977). Homosexuals in History: A Study of Ambivalence in Society, Literature, and the Arts. New York, New York: Macmillan. pp. 282–283. ISBN 0-88029-011-0.  ^ Smith, Helen (5 October 2015). "Masculinity, Class and Same-Sex Desire in Industrial England, 1895-1957". Springer – via Google Books.  ^ The 1917 New York edition is now available as a free e-book ^ Z "People with a History: An Online Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans* History" Check url= value (help). fordham.edu. 1997. Retrieved 24 March 2018.  ^ Carpenter, Edward; Corey, D. Steven (24 March 2018). "Ioläus : an anthology of friendship". London : Swan Sonnenschein ; Manchester: the author ; Boston : Goodspeed. Retrieved 24 March 2018 – via Internet Archive.  ^ Carpenter, Edward (10 September 2017). [hhttps://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000200439 "Ioläus: an anthology of friendship"]. Swan Sonnenschein.  ^ Larson, Martin Alfred. (1977). The Story of Christian Origins: Or, The Sources and Establishment of Western Religion. J. J. Binns. p. 304 ^ Brighton Ourstory Project - Lesbian and Gay
History Group at www.brightonourstory.co.uk ^ a b " Edward Carpenter
Edward Carpenter
(1844 – 1929)". exploringsurreyspast.org.uk. 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2018.  ^ Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams
and the American Landscape: A Biography by Jonathan Spaulding, University of California Press, 1998. ^ Derek Wall, Green History : A Reader in Environmental Literature, Philosophy and Politics, London, Routledge, 1993. ISBN 041507925X (pp. 232-34) ^ "Review: Edward Carpenter
Edward Carpenter
by Eliot Smith - Books - The Guardian". the Guardian. 


Aronson, Theo (1994). Prince Eddy and the Homosexual Underworld. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-5278 8.  Beith, Gilbert (ed), Edward Carpenter: In Appreciation, George Allen & Unwin, 1931. Greig, Noël: Dear Love of Comrades: London: Gay
Men's Press, 1979. Lewis, Edward, Edward Carpenter: An Exposition and an Appreciation, Macmillan, 1915. Rowbotham, Sheila (2009). Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love. London: Verso. ISBN 9781844674213.  Toibin, Colm. "Urning". London Review of Books. LRB (29 January 2009).  Tsuzuki, Chushchi, Edward Carpenter
Edward Carpenter
1844-1929 Prophet of Human Fellowship, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980. Twigg, Julia The Vegetarian Movement in England 1847-1981, PhD (LSE) thesis, 1981, in particular Chapter Six e, i, as on the International Vegetarian Union website.

Further reading[edit]

Edward Carpenter
Edward Carpenter
and Tony Brown (1990), Edward Carpenter
Edward Carpenter
and Late Victorian Radicalism, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-71463-400-5 Stanley Pierson, "Edward Carpenter, Prophet of a Socialist Millennium," Victorian Studies, vol. 13, no. 3 (March 1970), pp. 301–318. Sheila Rowbotham, "In Search of Edward Carpenter," Radical America, vol. 14, no. 4 (July-Aug. 1980), pp. 48–59.

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 89629669 LCCN: n50032487 ISNI: 0000 0000 8632 8883 GND: 11866851X SELIBR: 182757 SUDOC: 030496462 BNF: cb121899169 (data) NLA: 35026044 NDL: 00435340 NKC: jo2002113475 BNE: XX878