The Reception of Rome in English Sexology (Funke and Langlands, 2015)


Rome is a significant site in the late nineteenth-century sexological construction of modern figurations of homosexuality, although so far it has been overlooked. Although sexological discussions of Rome are often less elaborate than those of Greece, Roman sexualities proved central to the sexologists’ interest in diverse types or subcategories of ‘homosexuality’ or ‘sexual inversion’, and Roman history and literature enabled sexologists to develop and reinforce distinctions between, for example, congenital homosexuality and cultured or degenerative sexualities. The chapter focuses on Havelock Ellis and John Addington Symonds, and their dialogue with continental sexology, exploring the representation of Greek and Roman sexualities, and analysing the conflicted ways in which Rome is integrated into the narrative of an affirmative history of male homosexuality that begins to emerge in sexological writings of the period.

Full Citation:

Funke, J and Langlands R (2015) ‘The Reception of Rome in English Sexology’, in Ingleheart J (eds) Ancient Rome and the construction of modern homosexual identities109-125.