Edward Carpenter  

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Edward Carpenter (29 August 1844 – 28 June 1929) was an English socialist poet, anthologist, early gay activist and socialist philosopher.

A leading figure in late 19th- and early 20th-century Britain, he was instrumental in the foundation of the Fabian Society and the Labour Party. A poet and writer, he was a close friend of Walt Whitman and Rabindranath Tagore, corresponding with many famous figures such as Annie Besant, Isadora Duncan, Havelock Ellis, Roger Fry, Mahatma Gandhi, James Keir Hardie, J. K. Kinney, Jack London, George Merrill, E D Morel, William Morris, E R Pease, John Ruskin, and Olive Schreiner.

As a philosopher he is particularly known for his publication of Civilisation, Its Cause and Cure in which he proposes that civilisation is a form of disease that human societies pass through. Civilisations, he says, rarely last more than a thousand years before collapsing, and no society has ever passed through civilisation successfully. His 'cure' is a closer association with the land and greater development of our inner nature. Although derived from his experience of Hindu mysticism, and referred to as 'mystical socialism', his thoughts parallel those of several writers in the field of psychology and sociology at the start of the twentieth century, such as Boris Sidis, Sigmund Freud and Wilfred Trotter who all recognised that society puts ever increasing pressure on the individual that can result in mental and physical illnesses such as neurosis and the particular nervousness which was then described as neurasthenia.

A strong advocate of sexual freedom, living in a gay community near Sheffield, he had a profound influence on both D. H. Lawrence and E. M. Forster.


The Religious Influence of Art 1870
Narcissus and other Poems 1873
Moses: A Drama in Five Acts 1875
Modern Money Lending 1885
England's Ideal 1887
Chants of Labour 1888
Civilisation: Its Cause and Cure 1889
From Adam's Peak to Elephanta: Sketches in Ceylon and India 1892
A Visit to Gñani: from Adam's Peak to Elephanta 1892
Homogenic Love and Its Place in a Free Society 1894
Sex Love and Its Place in a Free Society 1894
Marriage in Free Society 1894
Love's Coming of Age 1896
An Unknown People 1897
Angels' Wings: A Series of Essays on Art and its Relation to Life 1898
The Art of Creation 1904
Prisons, Police, and Punishment 1905
Days with Walt Whitman: With Some Notes on His Life and Work 1906
Iolaus: Anthology of Friendship 1902
Towards Democracy 1905
Sketches from Life in Town and Country 1908
The Intermediate Sex: A Study of Some Transitional Types of Men and Women 1908
Non-Governmental Society 1911
The Drama of Love and Death: A Study of Human Evolution and Transfiguration 1912
George Merrill, A True History 1913
Intermediate Types Among Primitive Folk: A Study in Social Evolution 1914
The Healing of Nations 1915
My Days and Dreams, Being Autobiographical Notes 1916
The Story of My Books 1916
Never Again! 1916
Towards Industrial Freedom 1917
Pagan and Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning 1920
Civilisation, Its Cause and Cure, and Other Essays 1921
The story of Eros and Psyche 1923
Some Friends of Walt Whitman: A Study in Sex-Psychology 1924
The Psychology of the Poet Shelley 1925

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