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Ellis, Havelock

Entry updated 11 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

(1859-1939) UK author, known as a Feminist, a socialist, and as an unprecedentedly frank (and learned) student of the sexual nature of our species (see Sex), most famously through Studies in the Psychology of Sex (1897-1910 6vols), which argues that our sexual natures are essentially innate, including homosexuality. He was a controversial figure for most of his life, though The Dance of Life (1923) was widely read for its affirmative take on the world. Of sf interest is The Nineteenth Century: A Dialogue in Utopia (1900; vt An Utopian Retrospect 1901), where the eponymous century is discussed in the Far Future, with a serene remoteness typical of the Scientific Romance; the interlocutors see that century as the last period during which nationalism was rampant, when women were oppressed, poverty widespread. All this is so far in the past that a reservation – called the Lancashire Enclosure – has been established to preserve a sample of English culture, and – as a kind of exercise of the Sense of Wonder in reverse – to remind citizens of its awfulness. [JC]

Henry Havelock Ellis

born Croydon, Surrey: 2 February 1859

died Hintlesham, Suffolk: 8 July 1939

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