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Edward Carpenter Biography

(1844–1929), Days with Walt Whitman, Towards Democracy, England's Ideal

British writer on social reform, born in Brighton, educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In 1869 he was ordained in the Church of England but relinquished holy orders in 1872 and moved to Leeds to lecture with the University Extension movement. He met Walt Whitman, whom he revered, on trips to America in 1877 and 1884, recording his experiences in Days with Walt Whitman (1906). Carpenter employed Whitman's expansive idiom in Towards Democracy, a long poem on his vision of social and spiritual progress, which was repeatedly enlarged after its original publication in 1883. His writings on sexuality, religion, aesthetics, and a range of political topics won him international renown as a progressive thinker. Among the more notable of his many publications are England's Ideal (1885), an exposition of his socialist principles; Civilization, its Cause and its Cure (1889); The Drama of Love and Death (1912), an exposition of his beliefs in evolutionary meliorism; and the autobiographical My Days and Dreams (1916). Homogenic Love and its Place in a Free Society (1894), The Intermediate Sex (1908), and other works bear directly and unapologetically upon his homosexuality. Chushici Tsuzuki's Edward Carpenter: Prophet of Human Fellowship appeared in 1980.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Henry Carey Biography to Chekhov Biography