Uranian poetry

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The Uranians were a relatively obscure group of pederastic poets (many of whom were university graduates of Oxford or Cambridge), a group which flourished between 1880 and 1930. The group's name derives, in part, from the Platonic theory of "heavenly" or "Uranian" pederasty (see Symposium). Their work was characterized by a sentimental infatuation for pubescent (or nearly pubescent) boys and by a use of conservative verse forms.

Some of these Uranians were William Johnson, Lord Alfred Douglas (1870-1945), John Gambril Nicholson (1886-1931), Rev. E. E. Bradford (1860-1944), John Addington Symonds (1840-1892), Fabian S. Woodley, John Leslie Barford (1886-1937), George Cecil Ives (1867-1950), Charles Philip Castle Kains Jackson (1857-1933), Edmund John (1883-1917), Edward Cracroft Lefroy (1855-1891), Francis Edwin Murray (1854-1932), and several other pseudonymous authors such as "Philebus" and "A. Newman". The flamboyantly eccentric novelist Frederick Rolfe (also known as "Baron Corvo") was a unifying presence in their social network, both within and without Venice. The fame of their work was limited by late Victorian and Edwardian taboos, by the extremely small editions (often privately printed) in which their verse was promulgated, and by the generally saccharine nature of their poetry.

Marginally associated with their world were more famous writers such as Oscar Wilde, Edward Carpenter, Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Russian Jew Marc-André Raffalovich (1864-1934), as well as the obscure but prophetic poet-printer Ralph Nicholas Chubb (1892-1960), whom celebrated the boy as an Ideal with his majestic lithographic volumes. In addition, a number of writers, such as E. M. Forster, handled the same themes in a Modernist way, as in several of his posthumously published stories, such as "The Torque" [1].

American Uranians

Uranian poets had their followers in the United States. Edmund Edwinson (pseud. of Edward M. Slocum) collected the works of some thirty-seven Americans in Men and Boys: An Anthology (1924, re-edited by D.H. Mader in 1978). The most important American Uranians were William Alexander Percy (1885-1942) and Edward Perry Warren (1860-1928).

Further reading

  • Smith, Timothy D'Arch. Love In Earnest: some notes on the lives and writings of English 'Uranian' poets from 1889 to 1930 (London. Routlege and Keegan Paul, 1970)
  • Dellamora, Richard. Masculine desire: the sexual politics of Victorian aestheticism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990)
  • Dowling, Linda. Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994)
  • Kaylor, Michael. "Beautiful Dripping Fragments: a Whitmanesque reading of Hopkins 'Epithalamion'," Victorian Poetry 40, no. 2 (2002): 157-187.
  • Taylor, Brian. "Motives for guilt-free pederasty: some literary considerations," Sociological Review 24, no. 1 (1976): 97-114.
  • Johansson, Warren. "Uranian poets," in glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture, ed. Claude J. Summers (Chicago, 2002)
  • Mader, D.H. "The Greek Mirror: the Uranians and their use of Greece," Journal of Homosexuality 49, nos. 3/4 (2005): 377-420.

External links

This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Uranian poetry.