‘We Cannot Be Greek Now’: Age Difference, Corruption and the Making of Sexual Inversion (Funke, 2013)

Abstract:

A Problem in Greek Ethics, A Problem in Modern Ethics and “Soldier Love” indicate that John Addington Symonds responded carefully to social anxieties regarding the influence and corruption of youth and placed increasing emphasis on presenting male same-sex desire as consensual and age-consistent. Situating Symonds’s work in the social and political context of the 1880s and 1890s, the article opens up a more complex understanding of Symonds’s reception of Greece. It also offers a new reading of his collaboration with Havelock Ellis by arguing that Symonds’s insistence on age-equal and reciprocal relationships between men strongly shaped Sexual Inversion. This shows that concerns about age difference and ideals of equality and reciprocity began to impact debates about male same-sex desire in the late nineteenth century – earlier than is generally assumed.

Full citation:

Funke, J (2013) ”We Cannot Be Greek Now’: Age Difference, Corruption and the Making of Sexual Inversion’, English Studies: a journal of English language and literature, 139-153

Open Access article available here.

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