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Uranian Poets  
 
page: 1  2  3  

The erotic side of the relationship, explicit enough in the classical models, had to be kept to the subtlest minimum in the Uranians. They could not allow their readers (or the police) to suspect that their love was ever tainted by "gross sensuality." Curiously enough, their verse attains the apogee of indecency when it mingles eroticism with religion. The fatal allure of the acolyte for the priest who is inclined toward boy-love motivated a story, "The Priest and the Acolyte," that figured in the trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895.

Among the negative themes in their writing is the lack of reciprocity from the boy, who in his early teens is simply unable to respond to what an intellectually gifted and mature adult is trying to offer him. This had been a motif of ancient pederastic writing as well, but now it was compounded by the guilt in which Christian morality had enveloped every shade of feeling and action.

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The passion is judged fruitless, dangerous, frustrating, and the poet castigates himself for yielding to the boy's evanescent charms in full knowledge of its "immorality." The chasm between the boy-lover's inner self and the beliefs of an intolerant society could never be bridged.

The Most Significant Uranian Poets and Their Works

The most significant Uranian poets were the following:

John Leslie Barford (1886-1937), who wrote Ladslove Lyrics (1918), Young Things (1921), Fantasies (1923), and Whimsies (1934);

Edwin Emmanuel Bradford (1860-1944), who wrote a series of books of verse, from Sonnets Songs & Ballads (1908) and Passing the Love of Women and Other Poems (1913) to Boyhood (1930);

Ralph Nicholas Chubb (1892-1960), who was also a gifted lithographer, and who wrote Manhood (1924), followed by a long series of deluxe illustrated volumes in which the art stood in an inverse relationship to the quality of the poetry, the last entitled The Golden City with Idylls and Allegories (1961);

George Cecil Ives (1867-1950), who authored two volumes, Book of Chains (1897) and Eros' Throne (1900), as well as several articles rashly defending the "new hedonism";

Charles Philip Castle Kains Jackson (1857-1933), who composed Finibus Cantat Amor (1922) and Lysis (1924);

Edmund John (1883-1917), who produced The Flute of Sardonyx (1913), The Wind in the Temple (1915), and Symphonie Symbolique (1919);

Edward Cracroft Lefroy (1855-1891), who published Echoes from Theocritus (1883), followed by other volumes;

Francis Edwin Murray (1854-1932), who composed Rondeaux of Boyhood (1923) and From a Lover's Garden (1924);

John Gambril Francis Nicholson (1886-1931), who issued Love in Earnest: Sonnets, Ballads, and Lyrics (1892), followed by A Chaplet of Southernwood (1896), A Garland of Ladslove (1911), and "Opals and Pebbles" (1928);

the Russian Jew Marc-André Raffalovich (1864-1934), who was a pioneer writer on homosexuality in French and who wrote several volumes of poetry in English, beginning with Cyril and Lionel and other Poems: a Volume of Sentimental Studies (1884);

Charles Edward Sayle (1864-1924), whose works include Bertha: a Story of Love (1885), Erotidia (1889), Musa Consolatrix (1893), and Private Music (1911);

Stanislaus Eric, Count Stenbock (1860-1895), who wrote Love, Sleep and Dreams (ca 1881) and two further volumes of poetry;

Montague Summers (1880-1948), who later acquired an international reputation as a somewhat credulous Roman Catholic authority on witchcraft, the miraculous and the supernatural and who wrote Antinous and Other Poems (1907); and

John Moray Stuart-Young (1881-1939), who composed Fairy Gold (1904), followed by Osrac, the Self-Sufficient, and Other Poems. With a Memoir of the Late Oscar Wilde (1905), An Urning's Love (Being a Poetic Study of Morbidity) (1905), and Who Buys My Dreams? (1923).

All these poets are discussed in Timothy d'Arch Smith's excellent study, Love in Earnest: Some Notes on the Lives and Writings of English 'Uranian' Poets from 1889 to 1930 (1970).

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