"If any one should importune me to give a reason why I loved him [Stephen de la Boëtie] I feel it could no otherwise be expressed than by making answer, 'Because it was he; because it was I.'"
-from "Montaigne on Friendship"
Socialist advocate, progressive educator, and amateur mystic, Edward Carpenter is perhaps best remembered today for his conflicted homosexuality, and his name remains a rallying point of gay communities in Britain.
This circumspect 1902 work draws on and quotes from a panoply of impressive sources, from the Iliad and Tacitus's military commentary to Saint Augustine and Herman Melville's account of his 1841-5 journey through the Pacific Islands, to explore the idea of "friendship"-that is, male homosexuality-in cultures around the planet and throughout history.
This lovely book is a poignant reminder of a more cautious time.
British activist and writer EDWARD CARPENTER (1844-1929) produced books and pamphlets on a wide variety of subjects; his works include Prisons, Police, and Punishment (1905) and The Religious Influence of Art (1870). He is best known for his epic poem cycle, Towards Democracy (1883).