REVIEW: Edward Carpenter – A Victorian Rebel fighting for gay rights

March 18, 2022

Edward Carpenter

A Victorian Rebel fighting for gay Rights

This excellent look at the life of Carpenter from (Hove based author) Brian Anderson uses previously unpublished material and personal letters from his lovers and friends to shine a bold new light over the contributions to developments around sexuality and identify that Carpenter gave with his early writings on homosexuality.

Carpenter was embedded in the fabric of Victorian society, privileged in many ways, but struggling with his knowledge of being an outsider. This drive to be honest to his feelings for other men made him an outspoken critic of the society he was part of. His impressive achievement in the way he used his extraordinary writing skills and ability to influence people to gain a foothold and get published during the intense social panics and sexual repressions  of the Oscar Wilde ‘scandal’.

Anderson examines the influence and effects of Carpenters time at university and his early, fumbling sexually experiences and how they combine to fire up a mind which churns out thought and ideas truly transformative for the times. Carpenter is a rather neglected writer in the annuals of Queer libraries familiar to academics and people interested in societal change, but he was a passionate writer and individual.

In this engaging book Anderson holds him up, flaws and all, so everyone can really appreciate the struggles of the man, his quest for authentic living and his passion to tool up and share these freedoms with other people across the world.

I really got a feel for Carpenter as a gay man, living his live, finding his loves and lovers, with daring, passion and pain, carving out a path for us to follow and using his intellect to lay down some seriously ground-breaking writing on sex.

Out now £9.95

For more info or to buy the book see the publishers website here