Edward Carpenter (1844 – 1929)

Fiona MacCarthy: William Morris (1994) Chapter Thirteen: Merton Abbey 1881-83

“…Morris tended to be gruff and self-conscious with his employees. He had very little flair for social experiment, none of the devilry of an Edward Carpenter in overthrowing the inhibitions of his class. When he came to know Carpenter, Morris felt almost envious of the little village house in Derbyshire with seven acres where Carpenter lived in close community, social and sexual, with labourers from Sheffield.”

Juliet Nicolson: The Perfect Summer, 1911 (2006) Chapter 6: Early July:

“…Sassoon wrote to Edward Carpenter, a one-time musical academic and ordained curate at Cambridge and now a writer who stirred up controversy with his outspokenness over his own publicly admitted homosexuality. It was only 16 years since the prosecution and imprisonment of Oscar Wilde for his illegal homosexual relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas; homosexuality was still illegal but, remarkably, Carpenter avoided the law. The police several times investigated his books on the grounds of their suspect moral content, but Carpenter successfully avoided a prison sentence – perhaps his isolation in the Derbyshire countryside helped.”

From Wikipedia:

“Edward Carpenter was an English socialist poet, philosopher, anthologist, and early activist for gay rights and animal rights. He was a noted vegetarian and anti-vivisectionist and wrote extensively on the subject.

A poet and writer, he was a close friend of Rabindranath Tagore, and a friend of Walt Whitman. 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.

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.

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.”

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