FUCK YOU: A Magazine of the Arts - Number 5, Vol. 4
THE KNOWN WORLD
PHOEBE LIGHT
JADE PRESENTS ... IGGY POP [Concert Flyer]
ARCHIGRAM NINE [9]
NAKED CITY [Ex-Libris Ralph Ingersoll, Founder of PM Newspaper]
EAU DE COLOGNE [First Two Issues]
KULCHUR - Vol. 2 No. 5 - Spring 1962
A PLASTIC TOOL

AN UNKNOWN PEOPLE

CARPENTER, Edward

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Price: $4,500.00


London: A. & H.B. Bonner, 1897. First Edition. 8vo. Printed sewn wraps. Gilt decoration to front cover. Wraps toned and scuffed/tattered around the edges, with some small tears and chips. Deckle-edged pages, lightly worn along edges, clean and unmarked. Still, solidly very good. 37pp. (Item ID: 22283)

An early argument for gay liberation and sexual equality by the pacifist, feminist, sandal-wearing socialist, and all-round Victorian radical Edward Carpenter, published 12 years after the Labouchere Amendment criminalized "gross indecency" between men and just two years after Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted under that law. This pamphlet was first published as an essay in The Reformer, and would reappear as a chapter in Carpenter's "The Intermediate Sex" more than a decade later.Though periodically forgotten and revived by historians and biographers, Carpenter was enormously influential on the major figures of 20th century LGBT activism: Harry Hay, founder of the Mattachine Society and the Radical Faeries, described an early reading of "The Intermediate Sex" as "an earth-shaking revelation" that gave him insight into his own identity. Carpenter was a correspondent and reputed lover of Walt Whitman, and thereby -- according to Allen Ginsberg -- a crucial link in the unbroken chain of "gay succession" that connected Ginsberg to Whitman through the intermediaries of Neal Cassady, Gavin Arthur, and finally Carpenter himself. Carpenter was also connected directly or indirectly with many other major literary figures of his time: reviewed by Oscar Wilde, acquainted with Havelock Ellis, and friend of George Bernard Shaw, who initially dismissed Carpenter's "sex nonsense" as an undesirable distraction from socialist goals but later wrote to apologize for his bad manners. Most notably, E.M. Forster's visit with Carpenter at his Derbyshire home directly inspired the central love affair in "Maurice:" a brief touch from George Merrill, Carpenter's partner, "seemed to go straight through the small of my back into my [Forster's] ideas."Carpenter's arguments in this pamplet combine a palpably Victorian sense of aesthetics and ideals with a remarkably modern line of appeal: as his titles indicate, he follows earlier writers who argued that homosexuals were in some sense a 'third sex,' at a mid-point on the spectrum between male and female, the result of male spirits in female bodies or the reverse. Carpenter observes that this theory "does not by any means meet all of the facts," but finds it congenial enough to work with. He idealizes androgynous qualities in both men and women "Urnings" -- in the terminology adopted from K.H. Ulrichs and Otto de Joux -- and is particularly enthusiastic about those "double-natured" people capable of both "normal" and "homogenic "attachments. (In a 1902 article, Carpenter went so far as to adduce Whitman's alleged bisexual capabilities as possible evidence of a "type super-virile, so far above the ordinary man and woman that it looks upon both with equal eyes.")By contrast, Carpenter's most modern ideas are the "ineradicable" nature of same-sex attachments -- unequivocally stating that marriage and procreation do nothing to alter an individual's nature and desires -- and the mutually reinforcing nature of LGBTQ and women's rights. Carpenter's thesis is built on a foundation of women's equality, and he credits women with changing not only the nature of marriage but the societal understanding of love itself, such that same-sex unions can be clearly seen as natural and inevitable: "Women are beginning to demand that Love and Friendship--which have been so often set apart from each other as things distinct--are in reality closely related and shade imperceptibly into each other. Women are beginning to demand that Marriage shall mean Friendship as well as Passion; that a comrade-like Equality shall be included in the word Love..." Carpenter vigorously argues that, contrary to earlier medical/sexological theories -- some of which would persist for decades -- nothing is morbid, weak, or lacking in the physiology or the temperament of the "homogenic" man or woman. He concludes with with a high-minded vision of a future where "Urnings," by their greater understanding and sensitivity to both men and women, might act as interpreters to lead a rapprochement between the alienated sexes. Though Carpenter would expand and refine his ideas in later books, this early work remains, for all its idealism, an unapologetic and unyielding argument for freedom.While OCLC notes some 24 holdings of this edition across several entries, only a dozen or so are in the US, and those are very scattered ó with many institutions lacking. Bonner published a second edition in 1905, bearing different pagination and struck from an entirely new setting of type. But there is also an edition ó almost always misdated, and often confused with the first ó that bears a London, 1897 imprint, but lacks any publisher information. That edition, however, was almost certainly a piracy of the second edition; the pagination and lineation are identical to the 1905 Bonner ó likely a sub rosa photo offset. Of the first edition, we find none at auction and only one copy in the trade over the last forty years. And none currently in commerce (with both copies currently on offer claiming to be the first misidentified). A rare, fragile, and pioneering work of human sexuality and gay rights.s


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